Top 3: Neck Strengthening Exercises for High School Athletes

The cervical musculature is a neglected region in most strength and conditioning programs. With the recent attention being placed on concussions management protocols, a well rounded strength and conditioning program is essential. Although concussions cannot be totally prevented, there are neck strengthening exercises that can be implemented to help cover all of the bases. Below are 3 neck strengthening exercises we implement into our high school strength & conditioning program to address the neck musculature.

*Contact and get approval from your physician before trying any of these exercises.

1. Static Stability Ball Holds:

Equipment Needed: Stability Ball

  • Hold each position (Anterior, Posterior, and Lateral) for 10-30 seconds
  • Maintain proper posture and keep the shoulders and chin packed
  • Breathing should be controlled. In through the nose and out through the mouth filling the belly then the chest with air.

2. Shoulder Shrugs:

Equipment Needed: Dumbbells

  • Maintain proper posture and keep the shoulders and chin packed.
  • In one smooth motion, breath in and elevate the shoulders. Hold for a count at the top and return to the starting position. Refrain from rolling the shoulders forward or backwards.
  • 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions

3. Farmer Carry:

Equipment Needed: Weight Plates

farmer Carry
  • Maintain proper posture and keep the shoulders and chin packed
  • Hold the top rim of the weight plates and walk under control with normal gait (Dumbbells or Kettlebells may be used)
  • Walk using a normal gait
  • Begin with 20-30 feet and increase as tolerated
  • Weight selection should put traction in the arms, but not too heavy as to cause the weights to drop out of the hands.

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