How to Get a Thicker Neck FAST! (Tips + Workout)

Your neck is probably the last thing on your mind when you start working out.

You wouldn’t see gym machines dedicated to targeting the neck. You also won’t hear trainers recommending having a day just for the neck, like they would do for the arms, legs, back, and chest.

So why should you bother building strong neck muscles?

Is it worth it to build a stronger neck?

Some athletes and bodybuilders tend to focus more on building large arms or chest muscles. But if you are looking to achieve a well-rounded, muscular physique, it also pays to build a thick and strong neck.

Since you’re already training all your other muscle groups, it also makes sense to do neck workouts.

You’re probably tilting your head to the side because you’re either surprised or wondering how neck workouts are done.

I’ve been in your position and I’ve tried all the bodybuilding tips and tricks I came across on the internet. I spent years trying them and finding out whether they help propel me to my body goals.

I had my doubts when I read about strengthening neck muscles. But, I still tried doing neck workouts just to give it a chance — and I’m glad I did.

Achieving a muscular neck isn’t rocket science. With the right exercise and proper nutrition, you can easily improve the tone, strength, and size of your neck.

A strong neck can help you perform better in sports. It may also help reduce your risk of injury, stress, or neck pains while you exercise.

Neck strengthening exercises may not sound cool at first, but they’re actually easy and worth squeezing in your workout program.

Here’s how you can start working towards a muscular neck.

Table of Contents:

  • Proper Neck Warm-ups
  • Neck Workouts
  • Neck Exercise Benefits
  • Neck Exercise Risks
  • How Long Does it Take to Build a Thicker Neck?
  • Brief Diet Tips
  • Final Thoughts

Proper Neck Warm-Ups

Like with any muscle group, warming up is important before you start working out your neck muscles. This helps increase blood flow to your muscles, raise body temperature, and reduce the risk of injury.

Here are some neck warm-up exercises that you can perform:

#1 Neck Flexion:

  • Start with a neutral head position while standing up with a straight spine.
  • Bring your head down and put your thumb under your chin.
  • Push into the chin with your thumb until you feel your neck muscles working.
  • Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds.

#2 Neck Extension:

  • Start with a neutral head position while standing up with a straight spine.
  • Place your hand behind your head.
  • Push your head back into your hand.
  • Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds.

#3 Lateral Neck Flexion:

  • Start with a neutral head position while standing up with a straight spine.
  • Place your right hand on top of your head.
  • Tilt your head slightly to the right until you feel your neck stretching.
  • Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Place your left hand on top of your head.
  • Tilt your head slightly to the left until you feel your neck stretching.
  • Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds.

Neck Workouts

Dumbbell Shrugs

The dumbbell shrug is one of the best exercises for building a strong neck and a broad, upper back. 

Here’s how to perform the dumbbell shrug:

  1. Assume a standing position with your back straight, while holding dumbbells on either side of your body.
  2. Contract your traps to bring your shoulders up and slightly back at the same time.
  3. Squeeze your traps hard at the top, pause for a moment, then slowly bring the dumbbell back to your starting position.
  4. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing dumbbell shrugs are:

  1. Using too much weight.
  2. Quickly shrugging straight up and down.

Face-Down Resistance

This exercise focuses mostly on your neck muscles, as well as the area around your shoulders. Only the upper body and the head do all the work in this exercise.

     Here’s how to perform the face-down resistance:

  1. Lie down on a flat bench with your face facing the ground. Your upper chest, neck, and face should be off the bench.
  2. Carefully place the plate at the back of your head, and slowly lower your head as you breathe in.
  3. Raise your head back to the starting position in a semi-circular motion while breathing out.
  4. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing the face-down resistance exercise are:

  1. Using weights that are too heavy.
  2. Using your hands to pull your head down
  3. Quickly shrugging straight up and down.
  4. Using a jerking motion when returning to the starting position.

Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

This exercise targets your upper back, lats, and posterior shoulder. When done regularly, this helps strengthen your neck and upper back muscles, and improve your posture at the same time.

     Here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Place your knee and outstretched hand on the bench, and bend forward until your back is parallel to the floor.
  2. Keep your back straight and maintain a natural flat posture while you perform this exercise.
  3. Reach down to grab your dumbbell and immediately resume a flat neutral spine posture.
  4. Make sure that you are looking down, not up or forward.
  5. Squeeze your lat muscles and drive your elbow up towards the ceiling.
  6. Retract your scapula towards your spine.
  7. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing the single arm dumbbell row exercise are:

  1. Raising your elbows higher than the level of your back.
  2. Excessive rotation of your torso when rowing the dumbbell up.
  3. Pulling the dumbbell up with your biceps, not your back.

Lateral Raises

Performing lateral raises helps sculpt your neck, traps, shoulders, and upper arms. While it looks really simple to perform, this exercise can be tough, even with very light weights.

     Here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Grab your dumbbells and stand with them by your sides. Your palms should be facing your body.
  2. Stand tall and keep your upper body still.
  3. Lift the dumbbells out to your side with a slight bend at your elbows, keeping the weights higher than your forearms.
  4. Lift until your arms are parallel to the floor, then slowly return to the starting position. 
  5. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing lateral raises are:

  1. Using your forearms to lift the dumbbells.
  2. Raising the weight too high.

Front Dumbbell Raise

The front dumbbell raise is a strength-building exercise that effectively targets your neck, shoulders, upper back, and upper body. It is also an ideal exercise to perform for toning your traps, deltoids, and front deltoids.

     Here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Hold your dumbbells with both hands.
  2. Place dumbbells in front of your upper legs, while keeping your elbows slightly bent or straight.
  3. Raise one dumbbell forward and upward, until your upper arm is above horizontal.
  4. Lower and repeat with your other arm.
  5. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing front dumbbell raises are:

  1. Rocking or swaying while performing the lift.
  2. Relying on momentum to lift the weights.
  3. Using weights that are too heavy.
  4. Bending the wrists up or down.

Face-Up Resistance

The face-up resistance exercise is meant to primarily target your neck muscles. For this exercise, you will need a flat bench and a weight plate.

     Here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Lie down on a flat bench, making sure that your neck is hanging off the end.
  2. Carefully rest the weight plate in your head while holding it with both hands. This will be your starting position.
  3. Lower your head all the way down, then all the way back up until your chin touches your chest.
  4. Perform 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps each.

Common mistakes while performing the face-up resistance exercise are:

  1. Jerking your neck up and down too fast.
  2. Using too much weight.

Reverse Fly

The reverse fly engages the deltoids and the major muscles of your upper back. It is also an effective way to reduce neck pain and aches. Here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, while holding dumbbells at your sides.
  2. Press your hips back in a hinge motion, bringing your chest forward almost parallel to the floor.
  3. Allow the weights to hang straight down, with both your palms facing each other.
  4. Straighten your back, tighten your core, and keep your knees slightly bent.
  5. Exhale and raise both arms out to your side, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  6. Inhale as you lower the weight back to the starting position.

Common mistakes while performing the reverse fly are:

  1. Rounding the back while performing the reverse fly.
  2. Swinging the weight by relying on momentum.
  3. Using weights that are too heavy.

What are the Benefits of Doing Neck Exercises?

Neck exercises are probably not the first thing you prioritize when you workout. But exercising your neck can let you enjoy a variety of valuable benefits such as:

  1. Relieving muscle tension, tightness, and stiffness.
  2. Reducing neck pain and increasing neck flexibility.
  3. Reducing the risk of experiencing headaches, as well as neck or spine injuries. 

What are the Risks of Neck Exercises?

Whenever you exercise your neck, take care not to stress or strain your muscles. Overworking your neck muscles can lead to pain, discomfort, and injury.

If neck exercises cause excessive pain, stop right away and consult with your healthcare expert.

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

Research shows that training your neck muscles 2-3 times per week can give optimal muscle-building results. With the right training program and well-rounded diet, you may notice significant improvements in your neck size in as little as 2-3 months.

Brief Diet Tips for Building Neck Muscles:

Muscles need protein to grow in size and strength. This goes without saying that you need to increase your daily protein intake to keep your body supplied with muscle-building nutrients.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can also help support muscle growth.

Make sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated, especially after working out.

If possible, try to consume more whole foods and less processed foods that are packed with unhealthy fats, sugars, or chemicals.

Final Thoughts

 Working out your neck should be a part of your training regimen if you are thinking of building a muscular physique.

Aside from giving you that coveted V-shaped upper body, a thick and strong neck can also help lower your risk of injury, pain, or tension in the neck area. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1 – Can you build neck muscles?

With the right exercise and a healthy diet, you can increase the size and strength of your neck muscles.

2 – Does your neck get thicker from working out?

Yes, you can increase neck size with regular training.

3 – Do shrugs build neck muscles?

Shrugs mainly target your shoulder muscles that are connected to the side of your neck. When done properly and regularly, they can give your neck a larger and thicker look.

4 – What exercises work your neck?

Dumbbell shrugs, face-down and face-up resistance exercises, single-arm dumbbell rows, lateral raises, front dumbbell raises, and reverse flys are ideal for engaging your neck muscles.

5 – Why don’t bodybuilders build bigger necks?

In professional bodybuilding competitions, neck muscularity isn’t a judging factor. Also, most bodybuilders are naturally muscular, which means that their necks are already naturally thick and large.

6 – Why don’t powerlifters train their necks?

Powerlifters are judged based on their strength while performing barbell squats, deadlifts, and bench press. Neck strength really isn’t a factor in professional powerlifting competitions.

7 – Do deadlifts build thicker necks?

No. Deadlifts do not engage the neck muscles, and will not contribute to increased neck size or strength.

8 – Will your neck shrink if you stop training it?

It may lose some of its size if you stop training, but it will probably still look muscular, especially if you still workout regularly.

If you are looking to maintain the size of your neck, add 2-3 sets of neck curls to your workout routine.

9 – How can you train your neck at home?

You really don’t need to use weights all the time just to train your neck. You may perform neck bridges, which is a popular neck exercise among wrestlers, fighters, and athletes.

10 – Are neck workouts bad for you?

Neck exercises tend to be relatively light compared to other exercises. Because you use lighter weights, there’s less stress on your spine, so there is also a lower risk of injury. 

Imad Deryan

My name is Imad, and I struggled to gain mass in the past due to my metabolism and being very skinny. In this blog, I share the best reviews and advice when it comes to gaining weight and mass, for all the people that are struggling like I was.

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