Neck Strengthening For Boxing Guide And Exercises

Neck Strengthening Floyd Mayweather

When it comes to taking punches in the ring you want to have strong neck muscles that will be able to absorb the shots and fire back without missing a step and that is why we need to incorporate neck strengthening exercises into your workout.

This often overlooked element of training can give you an edge and strengthening the neck muscles is not going to add a huge load onto your existing workout.

We might not be able to get you a neck like Mike Tyson but we can guarantee you some effective exercises that will build up your neck if done consistently and that is the key to all training, it must be done consistently to bring real benefits.

Seriously though, Neck strengthening can be done at the end of your workout in 5-10 minutes so think about putting in the effort for a big payday down the line.


Why Train Neck For Boxing?

Training your neck has a number of distinct advantages and they are being able to take a shot better and come back quicker as well as building your overall strength, punching power, flexibility and movement.

Training the neck does not come with a huge workload so it makes sense to train it and strengthen it as much as possible. All of boxing world champions train their necks extensively and if you want to reach the highest levels you should also consider training neck.


Mike Tyson Neck Workout

Mike Tyson is famous for having a huge neck and also the head roll / neck bridge workout that he used to do to strengthen his neck. Check it out in this video and while you may not be able to flex as much as Mike you can certainly give neck raises a try.

Neck Bridges involve lying on your back and lifting your body weight up with your neg and looking backwards. It is really not as difficult as it seems but please only try this exercise if you are confident that you can complete it, but it will give you great benefits. You could start with doing 5 sets of holding for 7 seconds and then releasing.


Are neck bridges safe?

Neck Strenghtening Amir Khan

Yes, neck bridges are safe but it is important not to push beyond your limits if you are just starting out. If you are new to the exercise, try just lifting your body straight up and down with just the neck muscles, leaving out the roll variant of the exercise, hold the position at the top for as long as you can. Start with 3 sets of 10 and build it up as you progress. Only add the roll element when you are comfortable that you can perform the movement easily.


Neck Harness For Boxing Strength

Mayweather Neck harness

The neck harness is an essential piece of kit for strengthening the neck. You just fit the strap to your head and attach a weight. Lie off the edge of the ring facing down or find a nice spot where you can lift your neck, taking the weight of the plate. Do 3 sets of 10 and add weight 1.25kg each time you complete the exercise.


Do Neck Harnesses Work?

Yes Neck Harnesses will work as they are forcing your neck muscles to work and as you gradually increase the load, the muscles will get stronger in order to carry the load better. This is called progressive overload training and is the backbone of all strength work in the gym.

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Dumbbell Shrugs

Dumbbell Shrugs are a great way to build upper back and neck strength. Stand with a dumbbell at either side, lean slightly forward and lift your shoulder up as high as they can go while keeping your arms straight. Make sure you hold the top of the movement for seconds while squeezing the neck muscle for maximum effect.

You can superset these if you do this first set with a relatively heavy weight and then use lower weights to form circles with your shoulders that will really hit the muscle and force it to grow.

I like three sets of ten on shrugs and if you are supersetting do three 10’s with the lighter set also.

Neck Exercises For Mass – How Do I Make My Neck Bigger?

Making your neck bigger is a goal of many men. This will come down to your training and your diet.

So, in order to grow your neck, you will need to be a caloric surplus, meaning you are consuming more calories than your body is expending and the diet should be heavy in protein which is the building block for muscle.

Next is the rep ranges. We want to be in the good rep ranges for building muscle and that is 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a neck harness.

When it comes to rep ranges, the higher weight and lower rep range will build strength and as you lighten the weight and add more reps, you move into muscle building territory and eventually conditioning when you hit about 15 reps.

Keep this in mind when you are trying to add mass to any area of your body, but mass is not necessarily the end goal of boxing, strength is a much better way to train.


Workout Machines For The Neck

I have not seen a workout machine designed specifically for working the neck although the hamstring machine in the gym can be effective if you lie on the machine the opposite way, fit your head under the moving part of the machine and curl your neck instead of curling the hamstrings. This can be a very effective machine for working the neck in place of using a plate.


Neck Curls With A Plate

Neck Stregthening Neck Curls

This is simply a variation of using the hamstring. You lie flat on a bench or off the side of the ring with your neck free to move up and down. But a plate on the back of your head and hold it in position as you move your head up and down. Make sure you are not cheating in the movement and that you are fully engaging your neck muscles. I would favour the hamstring machine to placing a plate on the back of your head as it is too easy to cheat with the plate


Towel in the mouth and the plate

AJ Neck weights

Many boxers will tie a towel around a weight plate and fit the other side of the towel in the mouth. Expose the neck by hanging out of the end of the ring and lifting their head back to strengthen the neck muscles.

This is an effective exercise and I would prefer this to the plate as well as it will also strengthen the neck muscles.


Neck Strengthening With Bands

Neck Strenghtening For Boxing

Neck Strengthening with bands is also a great option, you just need to find something to secure the band and wrap the other end around your head, find a good position when you can put your neck in a prone position so that you can perform the set with maximum resistance to work those neck muscles as you can see from this video.


How Often Should I train Neck For Boxing?

Training the neck 2 to 3 times per week should be enough for even high level boxers but if you have been training neck for a while and you want to keep getting the gains, you could training 5 times per week.

The most grow and rebuild while you are resting so it is important to allow time for the neck muscles to fully rebuild before you smash them again. That is what weight training does. It breaks down the muscle in the neck and the muscle repairs itself except it comes back stronger.



It’s important obviously that your sets are effectively hitting the neck muscles to get the most out of the workout. My advice would be to try out a number of these exercises and find which ones work the best for you.

Make sure you are getting a good protein based diet to get the most out of your gains and make sure to take a CBD supplement to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Boxing is the art of hitting and not getting hit but as Tyson Fury says, “You can’t go swimming without getting wet” and eventually you are going to get hit. You want to make sure your body is able to absorb your opponents punch as you want to be able to answer back in a split second.

The neck muscles are delicate and not build to withstand heavy and constant pressure so don’t overdo it and give plenty of time for recovery while building up resistance gradually over time and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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