How To Stay Safe When Training Your Neck
Start Too Light
Always start lighter than you think you should. With plate concentric based exercises, I recommend starting with 5 lbs at the most. If you don’t have a strength training background at all, you can start with no weight while performing the exercises.
As you get more comfortable and the muscle soreness isn’t so prominent the following day, you can start to add more load.
Isometrics can be done with a very light band or with light pressure from your hand. These can be longer in duration in the beginning and become shorter and harder as you adapt. Rotations can also be performed with a band.
Avoid Compression With Movement
Loading the spine from the top and moving the head around is a sure-fire way to leave you with chronic neck pain in later life. One exercise that does this is the neck or wrestler’s bridge. You can see in detail why this exercise isn’t good for the neck in my article “Stop Doing Neck Bridges.”
Start With Simple Exercises Before Complex Ones
Performing basic concentric, isometric, and rotation neck exercises are your base for basic hypertrophy and strength. Once you’ve developed some strength with these exercises you can add multi-planar movements such as the Iron Neck Figure 8s which would be considered an advanced neck movement.
Only Go Through A Range You Are Comfortable With
If your neck is stiff and tight, don’t start loading your neck and move your neck in a range of motion outside of what is comfortable. If a neck is stiff and tight within a certain range, that means it will be very weak outside of that range. If you go that far, you are much more likely to get injured.
Progressively increase the range of motion starting with no load as you feel comfortable.