A thicker neck enhances one’s body to be more aesthetic and appealing.
Getting a more muscular neck can benefit us in several ways, such as improving breathing, preventing neck and cervical spine injuries or stress, reduce neck pain and headaches.
However, there’re some potential risks involved in neck training (we’ll discuss that later with tips to avoid them).
In this article, we’ll dig deep into how to get a thicker neck that is caused by muscle, not fat. We’ll know the best neck exercises with sets and reps, the proper way to warm up, benefits, risks, and more.
Muscle and Fat in the Neck
It’s easy to tell whether your neck dominating by muscle or fat. Fat on the neck feels softer, and the skin will be looser, while a muscular neck will look and feel tight and stronger.
Removing fat from the neck isn’t only helps to get rid of saggy skin but also helps prevent health issues associated with neck fat. This includes narrow airways in the throat, increasing your risk of sleep apnea.
An overweight or obese person is most likely to have access fat in the neck area, usually due to not doing enough physical activity and bad eating habits.
A thick and toned neck caused by muscle mass is ideal instead of fat, which we can achieve through proper exercise and a healthy diet.
Doing neck exercises and eating a healthy diet will help us increase muscle mass in our neck to strengthen neck muscles and tighten skin.
Benefits of Neck Exercises
Direct neck training doesn’t only enhance your aesthetic look but also has several important performance and health benefits.
Here’re the four reasons to include neck exercises in your routine.
Improves Breathing: Regular neck exercise helps to improve breathing and become more efficient in supplying enough oxygen to the muscles, which is vital during high-intensity activity.
Reduces Tightness and Stiffness: If you perform the below exercises with the proper form and a full range of motion will help you to release tension, tightness, and stiffness and may increase your flexibility.
Promotes Heavy Lifting: A strong neck and trap muscle can contribute to and promote other heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, etc., for greater gain.
Prevents Injuries: A recent study published in the National Library of Medicine shows that collision and contact sport athletes who get hit on the head have had more extensive orthopedic injuries, whereas athletes with stronger necks have less risk of injuries.
Also, a 2010 study showed that neck training combined with stretching in the long term could reduce neck pain and headaches.
So to get an attractive and more muscular neck, it would be best to consistently train your neck muscles as you do with other body parts.
Neck Muscle Anatomy
Here’re the main (and large) neck muscles we need to train for a muscular neck.
Sternocleidomastoid: A large muscle commonly known as SCM attaches to the skull and travels down the front of the neck to connect to the sternum and collarbone. It helps in the rotation of the head and tilting the chin.
Trapezius: It’s a large surface muscle with three parts — upper, middle, and lower trapezius. This muscle runs from the base of the skull down the spine to the mid-back and out to the shoulder blade. It mainly assists in extending the head upward, neck backward, rotating the head, or lifting and/or depressing the shoulder blade.
Levator scapulae: The Levator scapulae muscle attaches to the top four cervical vertebrae and runs down the side of the neck to where it connects to the top of the shoulder blade. This muscle helps lift the shoulder blade, bend the neck to the side, and rotate the head.
Scalene: The scalene muscle is three pairs of lateral neck muscles — anterior, middle, and posterior scalene, which connect the mid and lower cervical spine with the top of the rib cage. These muscles help neck flexion and side bending.
How to Get a Thicker Neck Safely
Let’s dive into the best neck exercises and effective strategies to build a thicker neck.
Whether you’re going to do a run or strength training, warming up before diving into the main exercise is crucial in order to avoid injuries and increase your performance.
Here’re the six moves to warm up your neck:
- Neck flexion: Lowering your chin down to your chest while stretching the back of your neck.
- Neck extension: Tilting the head backward until the chin is perpendicular to the ceiling to stretch the front neck while squeezing the back neck.
- Neck lateral flexion: Moving or flexing your head toward one of your shoulders to activate the lateral neck muscles.
- Neck lateral rotation: It refers to the lateral rotation of your head to the left and to the right.
- Head rotation: It refers to the rotation of your head 360 degrees, clockwise and anticlockwise.
Perform each movement for one set of 8-10 reps, and you’ll be ready to hit your main workout.
5 Best Exercises for a Thicker Neck
Here’re the five best exercises to get a stronger neck.
1. Neck Curl
- Lie down on the bench on your back. Position your shoulders at the back edge of the bench.
- Hold a plate on your forehead with your hands.
- Curl your neck downward and upward, and feel the contraction on your neck.
Muscles worked: Sternocleidomastoid
2. Neck Extension
- Lie down on the bench on your chest. Position your shoulders at the back edge of the bench.
- Place a plate at the back of your head that is loosely held by your hands.
- Curl your neck downward and upward, making a contraction in your neck muscle.
Muscles worked: Trapezius and sternocleidomastoid.
3. Neck Lateral Flexion
- Lie down on your left side and hold a plate with your hands on the right side of your head.
- Lying on the left side, flex your neck to the right side, and contract your neck muscles.
- Perform desired reps.
- Then switch to another (left) side and repeat the same.
Muscles worked: Sternocleidomastoid, scalenus, and levator scapulae.
4. Neck Lateral Rotation
- This time you need a resistance band.
- Secure the resistance band with the equipment in front of you. Make a loop, and pull the band so it secures.
- Put the resistance band around your head. Walk back and create tension on the neck.
- Turn your head from side to side and feel the resistance on your neck.
- You can do the same more specifically on the sides of your neck as well.
Muscles worked: Sternocleidomastoid
5. Barbell/Dumbbell Shrugs
- Stand with your feet together. Holding dumbbells/barbell, keep your arms straight at your sides.
- Slightly arch your back and bring your shoulder blades together and keep them pinched all the time.
- Keep your arms straight, elevate your shoulders up., and contract your traps at the top.
- Bring them back to the starting position. Repeat for reps.
Muscles worked: Trapezius and rhomboids.
Building a Neck Workout Plan
Whether you’re at home or in the gym, you can train your neck efficiently.
Here’s your sample neck workout plan:
- Neck Curl: 3 x 15-20
- Neck Extension: 3 x 15-20
- Neck Lateral Flexion: 2-3 x 15-20
- Neck Lateral Rotation: 2-3 x 15-20
- Barbell Shrugs: 3 x 12-15
You should train your neck at least two to three times per week for fast muscle growth.
If you’re not using weights, increasing your rep ranges is advisable to maximize tension.
Don’t be too aggressive with weights. Keep it light to moderate (except during shrugs) because heavier weight can be a risk of neck and cervical spine injuries.
When we’re trying to get a thicker neck fast, we have to gain some muscle mass in our overall body. And to build muscle mass, eating a balanced diet is crucial besides training.
If you’re not able to fulfill your daily required macros from your diet, including a few supplements can help you to boost that process.
The supplements like creatine and whey protein are some of the best and safest supplements you can use to speed up your muscle-building progress.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
When we’re trying to build lean muscle mass, whether, in the neck or other parts of our body, we have to eat healthy foods.
Your aim should be to consume most of your calories from whole foods, and then you can add a supplement or two.
Remember, the supplements are just add-ons. Most of your results will depend on your diet. So, keep eating nutrient-dense foods while avoiding unhealthy foods.
I would highly recommend you check out our 3-month muscle-building program, which will guide you step by step to build 12-15 pounds of muscle mass in twelve weeks.
When to Expect Results
When we’re trying to build muscle naturally, we have to give it some time to grow muscles properly. You may feel the muscle growth in the neck before they become visible.
It can probably take about 4-6 weeks to notice some visible changes in your neck size.
However, it may vary on different factors, including your age, fitness level, neck size, body fat percentage, and the intensity and duration of your workout.
Stay consistent with your training, diet, and sleep, and you’ll eventually be able to crush your desired results.
Risks of Neck Training
Whether it’s the neck or any other part of our body, it’s completely safe to train if you know the right way to perform exercises.
The intensity, duration, and frequency are also crucial to keep in check to avoid future injuries and pain.
If any exercise hurts or creates discomfort, stop doing that. And also, if you already have any neck and cervical spine pain, it would be best to avoid neck workouts.
If you’re suffering from neck pain, some rehab exercises may help you get rid of that.
Remember, you don’t need to train your neck every day. Make sure you’re giving it enough time to recover in between sessions.
I highly recommend you go to a physician or a doctor before starting or making significant changes to your workout or diet plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I train my neck?
If you are a wrestler or a boxer and want to grow your neck muscle stronger fast, 3-4 times a week can help you to speed up your progress.
But for an average person, who wants to increase neck strength and add some lean muscle mass, 1-2 times per week might be sufficient to get a healthy and attractive neck.
Are thicker necks more attractive?
Yes, they are.
A thick neck makes a man look more masculine and aesthetic and therefore more attractive. It basically enhances one’s look to be more appealing, especially the upper body.
What is the average neck size?
According to a 2016 study, the neck circumference of a man is 16.5 inches. However, other studies have different findings and referred to the average neck size of a male as close to 15 inches.
Although we can’t say the exact number, it’s safe to say that (and it seems like) most men have a neck circumference between 15 inches to 16.5 inches.
Does your neck get thicker from working out?
Doing strength training for your neck will break down the muscle fibers and burn fat on your neck. And as you give it the proper nutrition and rest, the muscle fiber will repair and grow thicker and stronger.
So yes, consistently working out your neck can give you a noticeable difference in the thickness of your neck.
Okayyy, we’ve smashed it — how to build a thicker neck.
So, to build a bigger neck: exercise consistently, eat health, and recover well.
Have questions regarding building a stronger neck? Sounds off in the comment section below. I will be glad to help you out!