The Top Neck Building Exercises


the top neck building exercises

A part of the body most often overlooked by gym-goers and bodybuilders in their extensive workout routines is the neck. With so many aspects of the body to focus on, building muscle in the neck is often at the end of the list of priorities. However, there are many simple exercises one can incorporate into their workout routine to help thicken their neck. There are many advantages to having a thick neck. We will cover the top neck building exercises.

Apart from creating an imposing and intimidating look, developing muscle in your neck will help with overall spinal health. It also allows for bodybuilders to try out more vigorous exercises that use neck muscles.

The extra layer of muscle acts as a protective barrier, so the neck can withstand more burden when weightlifting. Other advantages include increased flexibility of the neck and easier breathing.

If you’re looking to increase the girth and muscle in your neck, adding these top neck-building exercises into your workouts will give you the results you seek.

The Shrug and Its Variations

bodybuilder man doing shrugs dumbbell

One of the easiest ways to start with building your neck muscles is doing the shrug, which not only helps your neck but also you’re under traps.

The under traps are more actively focused on, but the exercise also has its effects on the neck.

The under trap is the flat triangular muscle positioned right below the neck in the middle of the back. Working out your traps will directly help strengthen your neck.

Shrugs are easy to execute, simply hold a weight of some type and shrug.

There are different types of shrugs based on the type of weight you use. The good thing about the exercise is that it doesn’t require much technique, so even those new to fitness can seamlessly incorporate it into their exercise routine. This exercise will also immensely improve your posture.

Weighted Neck Extensions

A simple exercise to do, weighted neck extensions will help strengthen all the smaller posterior muscles in your neck that will help in better functioning of the larger trap. Thus, it is one of the top neck building exercises.

The upper trap, splenius, and levator scapulae are engaged during the exercise. To perform it, lie on your stomach, letting your head lean at the end of the bench.

Place a towel and weight plate right in front of you for easy access. Place the towel on the back of your neck. Next, pick up the weight plate and place it on top of the towel. Hyperextend your neck upwards in a pain-free range of motion. Slowly lower it so that your chin leans onto the chest and then repeat the process.

Be sure not to go crazy with the weights you use as doing so is unsafe. Smaller weights with higher reps will lend you better results.

Neck Stabilization Using a Stability ball

woman doing yoga stretching neck

This second exercise is easy to perform and doesn’t require high experience or advanced training. The passive exercise requires you to withstand instability caused to the stability ball on which your head rests. It is usually through passive exercises that neck muscles are thickened.

The average neck size is usually 15 inches among males and 12.5 inches among females.

Practicing this exercise will help you gradually increase this size. To perform the exercise, get on your knees with your spine horizontally straightened out and your stomach facing the ground.

Rest your head on the ball and grasp it with your hands on the sides. A partner or trainer will then attempt to stabilize the ball by either tapping it or pushing it minimally. Throughout this, you’ll have to maintain a neutral head and neck position.

In the process, you’ll strengthen stabilizer muscles in your neck through the isometric hold.

Neck Bridge Using a Stability Ball

This exercise is similar to neck stabilization and is an advanced version of supine neck bridges usually performed using workout benches.

For this exercise, you’ll have to begin by sitting on the stability ball and extending your legs until only your head rests on the ball.

Keep moving forward until the top of the head is the only part resting on the ball. Your neck should be extended and your spine in a horizontally neutral position.

As you hold the bridge position, you strengthen your spinal erectors and stabilizer muscles.

Shoulder Squeeze and Neck Flexion

These simple exercises can be performed with or without equipment and can be incorporated into your warmup sessions. The great thing is that you don’t need to be in a gym or require complex equipment to perform these exercises, so you can even do them at home.

For the shoulder squeeze, stand in a neutral position with your spine upright.

Then slowly squeeze your traps after bringing your scapulae together. After a few seconds go back to the neutral position and repeat the process.

For neck flexion, stand in the same stance with your shoulders in a neutral position.

Bring your chin down towards your upper chest slowly. For the lateral version, tilt your head sideways until your ear meets your shoulder. Then slowly go back to your original position. Remember not to lift or move your shoulders throughout the process.

Both of these exercises can also be performed using a resistance band.

You’ll be surprised to see the results you get by practicing these exercises efficiently on a daily basis.

The Band Look Away

This exercise is similar to the lateral neck flexion but requires gym equipment and is more advanced in its form. This exercise strengthens your neck through sideways movement and rotational patterns.

In this exercise, you’ll be using a resistance band tethered to a power rack.

To practice, place a resistance band across your forehead while facing the left. Gently push forward until you feel the resistance. Now rotate your head to the right with your forehead still pushed against the band. Repeat the process. With some practice, this definitely is one of the top neck building exercises out there.

This exercise will increase the rotational range of your neck and build your upper traps. It’ll also help reduce stiffness in your neck muscles.

man stretching on balcony neck building exercises


Practicing these exercises regularly will definitely help you build your neck muscles. Remember to always stay safe while performing these exercises since the neck is a sensitive region you do not want to overwork. Testing your limits is a great way to understand your exercising potential and endurance capacity but going overboard won’t do you any good. So try out these top neck building exercises as per your fitness goals and capacity to make your neck look and feel fantastic.

Thank you for reading our article!

– Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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The Top Neck Building Exercises
Article Name
The Top Neck Building Exercises
A body part often overlooked by gym-goers and bodybuilders is the neck. Read more to learn about the top neck building exercises!
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Gym Junkies LLC
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