As Strength and Conditioning professionals, why are we still choosing not to directly train the muscles of the neck?

I have come to a conclusion within part of my training philosophy; I will always do my best to give the athletes what they need, nothing less and nothing more…and sometimes what they want in order to keep them intrigued. (that’s even hard for me to accept sometimes)

Now, over the past many decades we as coaches have managed to turn several different training philosophies that can mesh well together and make them mutually exclusive from one another.

That’s not the most logical way of treating different training philosophies; treating one way of training like it’s somehow superior to all others or what not. However, it “is what it is” and probably always will be, but why are we not training the neck?

It does not matter what training philosophy you coach with, direct neck training should be a priority in any strength and conditioning protocol. With concussion awareness growing each month, it may be the most important part of your training program…and you’re either doing your best with it or leaving it out.

Here’s a perfect example of a competitive athlete not getting what he possibly needs:

I was talking to a young hockey player today. He plays in one of the competitive junior leagues where they actually make it into the weight-room with the team twice a week during the season. He is visiting our facility to work on his skating economy and I wanted to know if there was anything we could do for him in the resistance training portion of his training.

I asked him how many times a week they lifted and what exercises they completed, thinking that maybe we could fit a few things in that he could be missing.

Hockey Player: Oh, we do everything, we make sure we get our hang cleans in…then some pulling and pressing movements. We squat and do some lunges too.

Me: What do you do for your neck?

Hockey Player: Nothing

This is a perfect example of the lack of intelligence we’re practicing when designing and implementing resistance training protocols. Hockey is one of the fastest and most aggressive sports that our young athletes play.

Give the kids what they need, nothing more, nothing less, once in a while what they want…..they need to resistance train the muscles of their neck directly.

Train Hard

Adam Stoyanoff MS, CSCS