Neck Training for Boxers

June 22, 2004 08:32 AM

This is the safest and easiest neck program I know. I have used it at the
gym for over 5 years with excellent results. This is a safe and effective way to train the neck for people of all ages and fitness levels. Your head is all the resistance you need at first.

4 Direction Neck Exercises:

Part 1: Front of the Neck

Lay down on a bench with your head and neck hanging off the end. Make sure your head is parallel with your body. Tuck your chin and bring it up to your chest then slowly back to parallel with your body. Do not go past parallel. This is very important for the safety of the neck. Remember the time under tension rule, go slow to develop strength. Five reps for each direction will do.

Part 2: Back of the Neck

Roll on to your stomach. Bring your chin to your chest, then back to parallel with your body. At that point tilt your head back but do not pull your chest or shoulders off the bench.

Part 3: Side of the Neck

Lay on your side, head hanging off the bench. Start with your head in the middle of the body. Do not let it hang down. Bring your head from center of your body to your left shoulder then back to center. Do five reps then roll to the other side and repeat. As you get stronger you can add resistance by holding a five-pound plate against your head. You can also use a wrap around head weight, which looks like a large ankle weight.

Once you have mastered the neck exercises with resistance?. try this old school boxing drill:

Lie on your stomach; place your hands under your jaw. Have a training partner place his hands on the top of your head and slowly apply pressure. Slowly open and close your mouth. This will strengthen your jaw muscles and help prevent your lower jaw from slamming into the base of your skull. Which is what happens when you get hit on the button, as they say in the sport.
The more stable your jaw is the less likely you will be knocked out, but none of this will work if your mouth is open when taking a punch!

One Final Tip: if you are a fighter put your mouthpiece in before training your neck. Bite down hard during the entire drill. This will not only strengthen your jaw, it will promote good habits in the ring. Remember? An open jaw is a broken jaw!

Steve Baccari, RKC is one of six boxing coaches and the strength and conditioning coach at the South Shore P.A.L. School of Boxing. This gym, previously Farrel's School of Boxing, has produced 25 National Amateur Champions, one Pan-American Champion, and several other professional boxers. Steve is a co-author of Power Behind the Punch: Kettlebell Conditioning for Boxers DVD. To inquire about training under Baccari, e-mail sbaccari@selmark.com.