Want to look stronger, more attractive and more masculine? Make sure you're training this specific muscle group!
It's no secret that most men want to look more masculine, and would love to be able to improve how strong, tough and attractive to women they look.
And while most guys are on the right track doing weight training, getting in shape and working on their posture, there's on specific muscle group that you need to be training if you want to boost your masculine look, and get an edge over all the other men out there.
This muscle is often neglected by most men, despite being incredibly important as it is noticeable through practically any shirt, any clothing and at any moment.
We're talking about the neck.
Well, the neck and the traps as they surround the neck.
In this article we're going to go over exactly why you need to train your neck, how it's going to benefit you and how you should go about training your neck so that you can make the fastest possible gains.
Let's get into it!
Why Does Training Your Neck Make You Look More Masculine?
The neck is an extremely important muscle group to have developed as it helps to round out your frame and increase the overall thickness of your upper body.
Now bear in mind having a disproportionately large neck compared to the rest of your body probably isn't going to have a good impact on how good your body looks.
It's having a thick neck that's well proportioned with the rest of your body.
I know this might sound a little obvious, like it would to tell you that you should have a proportionate chest to the size of your back.
However you have to remember that most guys, while they're nailing their training for chest, back, shoulders and arms, are not placing nearly enough of an emphasis onto their traps, upper back and neck area.
I'll show you what I mean.
Take a look at the picture below:
The guy on the left is clearly in shape, and has a good amount of muscle mass right?
But look at his upper back area or the traps, and look at the muscles surrounding his neck.
They're quite undeveloped compared to the rest of his body, and it makes his body look a lot smaller and weaker than it actually could without any further changes to the other parts of his body.
His body is still clearly impressive, but not as good as it could be and there's just something that seems to be missing.
On the other hand, look at the guy on the right.
He's got a very well developed upper back, and you can clearly see both his neck and upper trap muscles very well.
They surround his neck nicely (which also looks a lot thicker than the neck of the guy on the left), and really help to round out his physique and give his upper boy this overall fuller, stronger look.
If both of these guys were side by side wearing the same shirt, the difference would be very easily noticeable and the guy on the right would look much more filled out, masculine and attractive to most women regarding the upper back and neck.
And yes, if you search around online on forums and other articles, you'll find that most women do indeed find thicker, stronger necks to be more attractive in general.
Whether you're wearing a formal shirt at an event, in a simple t-shirt out at the mall or shirtless at the beach, your neck is going to be extremely noticeable.
What Other Benefits Come With a Stronger Neck?
Aside from just looking more masculine, stronger and attractive, having a bigger and stronger neck also does come with other benefits as well.
These would include things such as:
A reduction of neck and cervical spine injuries
Decreased headache and neck pain (suggested in a 2010 study by Jari Ylinen)
Improved ability to endure knocks to the head (in case of an accident)
These benefits can certainly all go towards bettering your overall quality of life.
Now remember, it might seem obvious that benefits and advantages come with building more muscle, but most men do neglect properly training their neck and traps.
Most people aren't worried about them at all and are missing out on the benefits of it.
We don't want you to be one of them.
So How Do You Train Your Neck?
Well, there are lots of compound exercises that hit your neck and trap muscles such as your classic barbell rows, deadlifts and pull ups.
However if you seriously want to set yourself apart from everybody else and see some real development in this muscle group, you're going to want to do some direct training for them.
You can do a combination of shrugging with dumbbells, as well as some of those neck curls that you might've previously thought were a joke.
Seriously, they're not a joke.
Don't worry, you don't have to figure it out on your own we'll go over some of these key exercises below now.
You can either do shrugs with dumbbells, a barbell or on a machine if your gym has one that's suitable.
Shrugs are a great exercise that you can use to isolate the traps to a large degree.
They should be a staple in any 'pull day' workout and should be included into your workout program if you really want to build up those upper traps and see some real progress with your neck area.
You can choose to do them however you like, but we do recommend using a barbell as it is going to allow you to use the most weight and apply as much mechanical tension onto your muscles as possible.
To perform the barbell shrug:
Start with the barbell in your hands. (Double overhand grip, hands shoulder width apart.)
Stand in a locked out position, such as at the end of a deadlift.
Bring the weight up by quite literally shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears.
Hold the squeeze on the traps for a second.
Lower the weight back down with control.
Check out StrengthLog's video below for a demonstration of this!
Now that we've got the traps covered (remember they will still get worked heavily by rows and deadlifts), we can move onto the actual neck itself.
From what people have said in the past, it seems that neck training stimulates growth in the neck quite quickly, and that results can be noticed after just while of neck training as opposed to some other muscle groups.
Neck curls are a great way for you to work your neck muscles (although they might look a little bit funny).
To begin with, simply attempt this exercise without any additional resistance so that you can learn the basic form with minimal risk of hurting yourself.
Then, you can slowly and sensibly begin to add weight.
You also might want to try and find some comfortable headgear of some sort, even a thick, soft beanie will do.
The weights can start to feel pretty uncomfortable on your forehead after a while, and wearing something to cover your head can help to combat this.
If this is your first time doing neck exercises before, make sure you do a full and proper warmup, which you can see an example of here.
Here's how to do them:
Hold a small weight plate on your forehead and lie flat on a bench.
Curl your feet around the legs of the bench so that you lock yourself into place and stabilize yourself.
Try to prevent your abs or shoulders from taking over by maintaining a constant crunch in our abs (but no extra movement) and keeping your hands strictly pressing the weight into your forehead.
Curl the weight up by trying to bring your chin to your collarbone, and hold that squeeze for a second before lowering your head back down to a stretch.
Your head should go as far back and down as you comfortably can, with full control so that you don't hurt yourself.
Check out the demonstration by Ryan Treadaway!
These are very similar to the previous exercise, except this time you're going to be extending your neck backwards whilst you're lying on the bench face down instead of curling it towards your collarbone.
Bear in mind that it is a lot tougher to stabilize yourself when you're lying face down on the bench as opposed to on your bakc.
Also, you'll notice that you're stronger on this
To do them:
Lie face down on a bench with your legs wrapped around the bench for stability.
Continuing to use your headgear, place a small weight plate on the back of your head.
Allow your head to hang low.
Maintaining a neutral spine, bring the weight up by extending your neck up and back as far as you comfortably can.
Hold the squeeze there for a second.
Lower your head back down tot he starting position.
Check out the video by Steve Smith below for a demonstration!
Neck Training Should Be Done Very Carefully
As your neck connects to your spine and is also the only entrance for blood into your head, it's very important that you take your neck training very cautiously and aren't mucking around when doing these exercises.
One slip up an you could end up seriously injured, affecting major parts of the rest of your body as well.
Always, always start with no weight at all and then slowly and sensibly work your way up from there.
Doing this any other way could pose a serious threat to you.
Training the neck is an extremely important part of strength training and overall fitness/athleticism.
Not only does training the neck come with lots of major benefits that you'll be able to take away from, but it's also going to enhance your masculine appearance and help make you look tougher, stronger and more attractive overall.
I hope you've enjoyed reading through this article; make sure to share it with your friends if you did so that we can reach more people and help keep the world knowledgeable when it comes to fitness!
Do you currently train your neck?