As someone who coaches combat sports and hand to hand combat training I believe that everyone should train their neck. Strong necks are essential when training in any full contact system not only combat orientated but also sports such as rugby would do well to train this often neglected muscle group.
Unfortunately it is quite common for people not to train their neck until after they have developed a problem.
We want to avoid making this mistake by integrating neck training into our own training and or physical fitness that we do to complement our personal development as martial artists or combat atheletes.
Training the neck
There are multiple ways to train the neck, obviously when training the clinch or grappling you will work your neck muscles anyway but in addition to this you can use other methods such as isometrics eg static holds, partner drills, resistance bands, bridging or my personal preference is to use a neck harness.
Frequency and Rep Range
I like to recommend training the neck 2 to 3 times a week with neck raises at a rep range of 25 reps. Start off light and then gradually increase the weight. I don’t go higher than 24kgs (I use a kettlebell) anymore and max reps tends to be 40 or 50 per set and I will do this for 3 or 4 sets at the end of a workout.
“Prevention is better than cure.”- Desiderius Erasmus
Additional Trap Exercises
In addition to neck exercises you might want to train your traps as well – your traps (trapezius) run up into your neck so you might want to think about adding some farmers walks, shrugs or deadlifts into your routine as well.
Recommended Neck Trainer
I have used a few different neck harnesses over the years but by far this one is the best. Its a lovely bit of kit and it will last a lifetime! Absolute quality best one I’ve ever used.