The neck curls exercise is by far the most important mass builder exercise for the neck.
Have you ever walked into a gym to ask people what training they are doing? How many of them responded, “today is my neck day?”
The fact that most people, probably even you have not heard of such a thing as neck training shows how underrated neck training is.
Most people actually think neck training is optional that it does not provide any real benefits. Contrary to this, neck training is not only a mandatory routine but one that can all together make a difference in your general physique.
Literally, your neck will make or break your overall physique. Picture this, a massive lifter with massive pecs but smaller necks. These people will appear frail especially when talking face to face with others.
You can’t, therefore, underestimate the role of having a great neck for an improved general body appearance.
This is why in this article we will look at the neck curls workout, whose main aim is to give your stronger necks.
This article will also explore some noteworthy points of this exercise such as the muscles it works, the benefits it comes with, alternative exercises to hit the same muscles, and common mistakes to avoid while performing it.
WHAT IS NECK CURL?
This exercise involves increasing your neck’s mass by flexing your chin towards your chest, and later on, when you are advanced in it, can include weighted plates.
This workout will see you building the front of the neck and thickening the sternocleidomastoid which will both give your neck a thick and wide appearance from the front.
HOW TO PERFORM NECK CURLS PROPERLY
As mentioned earlier in this piece, if you are a beginner, you can first start slow by performing weightless neck curls and gradually advance to weighted neck curls with time.
Below are step-by-step guides for both beginners and advanced-level neck curls.
Lie on you back with your tongue pressed on the roof of the mouth. Why? Pressing your tongue on the roof of your mouth will activate the front neck muscles, which are the target of this exercise.
Bring your chin to your chest and lift your head about 2 inches off the ground. Be keen not to lift your stomach and poke your chin out as these will divert the focus of the exercise.
You can first start by performing 3 sets of 10 reps and increase gradually.
ADVANCED/ WEIGHTED NECK CURLS
Here, since you will be using weighted plates over your head, you will need to have on special hats to protect yourself from any prospect injuries.
The hat’s main purpose is to create padding and thickness on your forehead, preventing the weighted plates from digging into your skin and causing ridges.
Lay down facing up on a bench or seat
Hold a weighted plate on top of your forehead.
In controlled motions, flex your chin towards your upper chest.
Slowly return to the starting position. This is one rep. repeat for the desired number of reps.
While performing this, you should feel your sternocleidomastoid muscle stretching or burning.
WHAT MUSCLES DO NECK CURLS WORK?
This is the main muscle that gets worked when performing the neck curls. It is a superficial muscle which means it is located just under the skin and not deep in the neck.
Part of it also extends towards the bone just behind the jaw and under the ears. It extends down the length of your neck, ending where your collarbone and neckbone connect.
This muscle facilitates the movement and balance of the head and is visible when someone moves their head from one side to the other.
Additionally, this muscle also plays a role in the inclination, rotation and extension of the neck and head.
BENEFITS OF NECK CURLS
Below are the benefits this exercise comes with.
First and foremost, the neck curls will build the front of your neck by thickening the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
These curls also serve to give your neck a thick and wide appearance from the front.
This routine generally plays a role in helping you to ease neck stiffness and tension. They help by reducing the pain and increasing flexibility.
These curls will give you a strong neck, which will in turn help to prevent neck and cervical spine injuries.
Researchers recommend long-term neck muscle training as a way of reducing pain and increasing neck muscle strength and range of motion. If you have chronic neck pain, this will allow you to experience improved function and less disability.
These curls will also help you in preventing headaches and is most effective when combined with muscle endurance and strength training.
NECK CURLS ALTERNATIVES
BAND NECK CURL
The band neck curl is a good alternative especially because unlike in the weighted neck curls where you can easily engage your abs and arms hence diverting the focus of the exercise, it uses a band which will limit this.
NECK CURL WITH HARNESS
This alternative will also help to eliminate the loading issue with the normal lying curl. You will no longer need your hands and can increase the weights effectively.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
Avoid curling faster. Take your time to curl slowly as the neck muscles are often underdeveloped and can easily cause neck strain.
While performing this workout, try as much as you can to disengage your arms and abs as these could easily shift the main target of the curls- your neck.
Avoid crunching and pulling as this too can divert the focus of the neck curls.
Yes, a smaller degree of abdominal stimulation is allowed. However, if you find your abs aching to a large extent and your neck is not getting the attention, this is a sign that you are lifting too heavy and need to drop the weight.
The neck curls are a great way to improve the appearance of your neck. However, consider stretching your neck first before curling it to prevent cramping while on set.