Why i don't train my neck

Alec Enkiri | 6/7/22

Check out my re-usable training templates! Designed to take a trainee from beginner to advanced lifter while maximizing muscle and strength gains!

Share THE Article!

Just about every single time I post a YouTube video I get at least one comment that says something along the lines of "yo bro, what do you do for your neck? It's freaking HUGE!"

I'll admit, I don't pay too much attention to my neck. I know that I have to get my shirts tailored, but that's about the most attention I give it. I measured it because I got curious and it was 18" at the base just above the traps. Pretty big for a 5'6 guy who only weighs 170ish pounds.

Now to answer the burning question: I don't actually train my neck directly. That's not to say there isn't value to doing so because there most certainly is. If you have neck pain or have experienced a neck injury then working those muscles directly could potentially be a good way to combat that. If you are a combat (boxing, MMA, etc) or contact sport athlete (most especially American football, Aussie football, rugby, etc) then strengthening the neck through direct training is almost certainly something you want to be doing.

There is also an argument to be made that EVERYBODY, no matter who they are or what they do, should be training their neck directly because of the risk of whiplash. We all ride in cars man, and an accident can happen at any time. A stronger neck is going to protect you from that shock effect.

So why don't I train mine directly?Β 

I'll be frank, I'm scared of sleep apnea. When I had hip surgery a few years ago they tagged my wrist with a warning for the anesthesiologist that said "OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA." Not because I had been to a sleep center and been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but solely because of the circumference of my neck. I decided that my neck is large enough and that I don't want to encourage it to grow larger by training it directly, increasing my likelihood of acquiring sleep apnea. That's a pain in the ass I don't want to deal with so I skip the direct work.

This logic may or may not apply to you. As I mentioned above there are many valid reasons to training the neck directly, but this is why I personally choose not to.

Then how did I build such a large neck without direct training?

Presses, pulls, swings, Olympic lifts, and loaded carries. I love my high pulls and my power snatches and my heavy kettlebell swings. I perform a multitude of rowing variations and other pulling exercises. I press weights overhead often and I carry heavy shit around in a variety of different ways very frequently. Over the years these things have caused my neck to grow very large.

Am I getting all the benefits that I would get from DIRECT neck work? I'm honestly not sure. Is my neck weak? Probably not. Is it as strong as it could be if I trained it directly? Probably not. But I have decided that for me the potential trade off there is not worth it so I do not do direct neck work.

Check out my Patreon for form checks, program reviews, and Q and A's!

My goal is to provide the highest quality fitness content possible, and I want to keep it ad free! If you find the content here helpful please help me keep the site running ad free with a small donation. Any donation, no matter how large or small, is helpful and appreciated. Thank you very much.