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Boxing Neck Workout: The Best Strengthening Exercises

neck workout

Few sports require the same level of strength, agility, and endurance as boxing. To be able to last in the ring and deliver effective punches, boxers must have a strong neck.

A good boxing neck workout is essential for training, as it helps to condition the muscles around the neck and protect them against potential injuries.

You might have seen boxers such as Anthony Joshua train his neck with a weight attached to a neck harness, in this article, we will examine some of the most important exercises and techniques for strengthening your neck.

And each exercise is designed specifically for boxers and fighters to ensure their necks are strong enough during battles in the ring. 

What are the benefits of strengthening your neck?

Improves breathing

Having a strong neck is essential for both physical and respiratory health. Strengthening the neck muscles can help improve posture, reduce pain, and even improve breathing.

The throat serves as an important connection point between the mouth, nose, esophagus, and trachea.

Therefore having a stronger neck can be beneficial in helping to properly open up the airways and allow for improved airflow during respiration.

When you engage your neck muscles while breathing in and out, it helps with the relaxation of the muscles around your throat which allows more oxygen to flow through your body.

Additionally strengthening particular areas of the neck such as the trapezius muscle help to provide more support when doing activities like lifting weights, jump roping or running long distances where core stability is essential for proper breathing technique.

Improves posture

Having strong neck muscles can make a huge difference in overall posture. Good posture is important not only for looking your best, but also for back health and spinal alignment.

To help improve posture and avoid neck pain, it’s important to strengthen the deep muscles of the neck, which often go neglected during exercise. A boxing-style neck workout is an effective way to build strength in this area.

Helps prevent injuries

When it comes to strengthening the neck, boxing neck workouts are often one of the best options. This form of exercise helps to improve posture and stability while also reducing the risk of sprains and other injuries.

A strong neck is important for athletes in any sport, as well as those who regularly do physical labor or just want to stay healthy.

In boxing specifically, a strong neck can make all the difference when it comes to keeping an upright stance and defending against incoming punches. Neck exercises have also been shown to reduce concussion risks by improving overall balance and coordination.

Knowing how to properly strengthen your neck with specific techniques can be key for avoiding injury in any activity you take part in or sport you play.

Neck injuries are common and can be problematic for any athlete, especially boxers. Neck strength is important to keep the head secure and prevent injury when punches come in.

Therefore, a neck-strengthening workout is necessary as part of a boxer’s regular training routine. The neck muscles need to be trained like any other muscle group in order to become stronger and more resilient.

Helps reduce neck pain

Neck pain is a common complaint among many people who experience chronic discomfort and pain in their necks. Strengthening the neck can be an effective way to reduce neck pain, especially when combined with regular exercise and stretching.

A boxing neck workout is one of the best methods for strengthening the neck muscles and reducing neck pain in daily life.

This type of workout focuses on exercises that target specific muscle groups in the neck, while also improving overall strength and range of motion.

By regularly performing these exercises, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing chronic neck pain and improve quality of life by increasing their overall mobility, stability, strength and balance.

Helps release tension and stiffness

Having a stiff neck is one of the most common ailments that can impact your life. Neck stiffness can make daily activities difficult to do and uncomfortable to complete.

Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can help to relieve tension and stiffness in the neck area.

Strengthening the neck through exercises and stretches is one way to reduce pain and discomfort throughout this area.

Neck strengthening exercises involve movements that stretch and strengthen the muscles of your head, neck, shoulders, and upper back.

By doing these exercises regularly you will be able to create stronger support for your head which could reduce pain from tension headaches or migraines.

RELATED: 30 Reasons You Should Try a Boxing Workout

What Are The Most Important Neck Muscles?

Levator Scapulae

The levator scapulae is a powerful muscle located in the neck and upper back, responsible for controlling movement of the shoulder blade.

This small but important muscle helps keep the neck stable during activities such as boxing, which require quick and precise head movements. Strengthening your levator scapulae can help make these motions easier and prevent injury.

It helps to elevate, or lift, the scapula, or shoulder blade. This movement enables us to turn our head from side to side and hold it up when walking upright or running.

The Levator scapulae also provides stability during movements such as pushing, pulling, and reaching overhead. The Levator scapulae has a direct connection with the trapezius muscle, which also aids in keeping the head upright while walking or running.

Because this muscle works together with other muscles in the neck and shoulders it helps to prevent injury when performing activities involving quick movements. It also plays an important role in maintaining correct posture by helping to keep the position of our shoulders aligned properly.

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM)

The sternocleidomastoid (SCM) is an important and influential muscle in the human body. It is located in the neck, connecting from the breastbone and collarbone to either the back of the ear or just behind it.

This muscle plays a vital role in head movement and posture, enabling us to move our heads forward, backward, side-to-side, rotate them around and tilt them up or down. It also helps support our head when sitting upright.

As such, it is an essential part of our body’s balance system which helps maintain proper posture alignment and can impact overall health and well-being.

Injuries to this muscle are common due to its involvement in many everyday activities like turning your head while driving or gazing at a computer screen for too long. Fortunately, there are exercises specifically designed to strengthen this area.


The sternocleidomastoid is an important muscle located in the neck that plays a key role in boxing fitness and performance. The muscle, commonly referred to as SCM, runs from the sternum to the clavicle and mastoid process at the back of head.

It’s primary function is for rotation of the neck and head which are movements essential for boxers. When throwing punches, especially jabs and hooks, having a strong SCM allows boxers to control their movement better by being able to turn their heads quickly when needed.

This helps protect against being hit with surprise punches from behind or on the side while also allowing them to maintain proper posture and technique.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae is an important muscle group for boxers. It’s located along the spine, and helps to maintain the body’s posture during boxing movements. The erector spinae helps to stabilize the body when throwing punches, jabs, and hooks.

Its strength also contributes to a boxer’s ability to throw power shots from various angles. This stability and power are essential for success in boxing because they allow for optimal technique and speed as well as protection of the head and torso from opponent strikes.

In addition, having strong erector spinae muscles prevents injuries such as low back pain caused by repeated impacts in a bout or against a sparring partner.

Deep Cervical Flexors

The deep cervix flexors are an often overlooked group of muscles in the neck, but they play a critical role in boxing. This group of muscles is responsible for providing stability and support to the neck, which can be especially important in boxing when athletes are frequently hit on their heads and necks.

Without an efficient deep cervical flexor system, boxers may not be able to properly defend themselves from head strikes or reduce the amount of force transferred through their body. These muscles also help with balance, coordination and even overall posture while on the ring.

By strengthening these muscles, athletes can reduce their risk of neck pain and injury due to sudden movements during sports that require quick direction changes.

Additionally, strong deep cervical flexors help support proper technique while performing exercises such as weight lifting or sprinting, minimizing the risk of strain on other body parts.


The suboccipitals are a group of four small muscles located in the back of the head and neck area. These muscles play an important role in both movement and stability of the neck, head, and jaw.

The suboccipitals help with posture, balance and coordination because they allow us to turn our heads from side to side while keeping our gaze level. They also help us to keep our heads upright when standing or sitting. When we look down at something, it is the suboccipital muscles that contract to keep our head up and stable.

Without them we would not be able to do this type of movement correctly or efficiently. Additionally, these muscles are necessary for controlling facial expressions such as smiling or frowning which involve movements of the face muscles around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Without strong suboccipital muscles, a boxer’s ability to move their head quickly and accurately would be greatly reduced making them vulnerable to getting hit more often.

Additionally, these muscles help prevent injuries such as whiplash or concussion by absorbing some of the shock from an impact and helping keep the cervical spine aligned.

How long does it take to build a strong neck?

The amount of time it takes to build strength in the neck depends on the type of exercise being done along with other factors such as age, current fitness level, and diet. Generally speaking however, it can take anywhere from 2-6 months for significant gains in neck strength if done consistently.

This means doing exercises at least three days per week with each movement lasting between 10-15 minutes.

During this time period, form is key as incorrect form when exercising can cause more harm than good so make sure you’re properly executing all movements correctly.

Why fighters should train their neck?

When it comes to combat sports, mixed martial arts (MMA) requires the most comprehensive training. Fighters must work on their cardiovascular endurance, punch speed and power, defensive tactics, ground game and etc.

But one aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked is neck strength, training the neck has been proven to reduce a fighter’s vulnerability to concussion and whiplash injuries in the ring or octagon.

A strong neck gives fighters greater control over their body movements which makes them more agile in the ring. It also helps stabilize their head while they are being hit with punches or kicks; this reduces the risk of sustaining an injury due to a powerful impact.

Neck strengthening exercises such as neck flexion can help strengthen key muscles around the neck area so fighters can perform better throughout an entire match.

Why do boxers do neck exercises?

Boxers are renowned for their strength and agility, and a well-developed neck is an important part of any boxer’s physical training. Neck exercises help boxers build a strong neck, which can contribute to better balance, improved upper body strength and increased overall performance.

Having a strong neck is beneficial for boxers because it helps them absorb the shock of punches thrown by their opponents and is an integral part of a boxer’s defense against injury.

Neck strength increases the ability of a boxer to remain steady while avoiding or blocking punches. A stronger neck also leads to better head movement when throwing or absorbing strikes during sparring sessions.

Boxers need to build a strong neck just as they would any other muscle group, so it’s important for them to include effective exercises that target this area in their workout routine.

Additionally, building a strong neck helps with proper chin placement during fights; this reduces the risk of getting knocked out due to poor posture in the ring.

What equipment do I need for neck training?

Having the right equipment for your workout can help you create an effective and well-rounded neck training routine.

If you are looking to build your neck strength and improve your performance in boxing, here’s everything you need to know about the best equipment to use for a neck training workout.

First, you’ll need a solid chair or weight bench to sit on that and you will also need one of the most popular pieces of equipment used in neck training which is a neck harness.

This type of device consists of straps and handles that attach around your head and provide resistance when moved.

For added benefits, some neck harnesses also come with additional features such as weight plates or adjustable straps. Another great piece of equipment for boxers is the trap bar which helps target specific muscle groups at the back of the neck.

Neck Warm-up

Neck warm-ups are an essential part of any exercise or physical activity. They help to prepare your neck muscles and ligaments for the movements they will be making while engaging in a workout, sport or other physical activities.

Regularly doing neck warm-ups can prevent injury, muscle soreness and tension as well as improve flexibility and range of motion of your neck. When performing a neck warm-up it is important to understand how to do them correctly in order to get the most out of them.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your back straight and head forward looking straight ahead. Slowly move your head up and down 8 times then side to side 8 times. After that repeat the same motions but rotate your head 8 times clockwise then 8 times counterclockwise.

Neck Workout

This routine consists of 6 simple boxing neck exercises that can be done with just a chair. Building strong neck muscles is essential for any boxer, as it helps protect the head during sparring and fights.

Without a strong neck, you’re at greater risk of suffering an injury or knock-out when absorbing heavy blows.

The exercises in this workout will help engage the major muscles in the neck while also improving range of motion and mobility. Not only will they add strength to your boxing game, but they’ll also help reduce fatigue and keep your neck healthy over time.

Trap Bar Shrug

To perform this exercise correctly you will need a Trap Bar or Hex Bar that allows you to hold onto two handles while standing up straight. Start by placing your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward.

Grab both handles firmly with an overhand grip and stand up tall so that your arms are directly in line with your chest. Now, slowly raise your shoulders as high as you can before slowly lowering them back down again. If you don’t have a trap bar then you can use dumbbells instead.

Neck Flexion

To perform this exercise, begin by looping the harness over your head, ensuring that it fits snugly but isn’t too tight. Once secured, load up one side of the harness with a weight plate that you can comfortably handle while keeping good form throughout your workout.

Next, slowly lean forward until your chin touches your chest while keeping your head level with shoulders. Pause for two seconds at the end of each repetition before returning to starting position in a controlled manner.

Neck Extension

This type of workout also uses a boxing neck harness that is attached to a weights plate. Depending on the weight used, you can increase resistance for added intensity with each set of reps.

By performing this exercise regularly, you can build up strength in all areas of the front muscles of your neck.

To begin, attach the harness with the straps behind your head and add a weight plate of your choice. Then, make sure that the weight is balanced evenly on both sides before placing it around your neck.

Once secured, sit down on a bench or chair with good back support and tilt your head towards the floor until it is parallel to the ground then tilt your head until is parallel to the ceiling. Make sure not to move too quickly or jerk yourself forward as this could lead to injury.

Neck Rotation

To begin, put the neck harness on, with the weights positioned at the side of your head and lay on your side on a weight bench that is positioned at a 45-degree angle or a flat bench with enough height that the harness won’t touch the floor.

And make sure your head is on the edge of the top of the seat with the weight plate hanging.

Once you’re securely strapped in and ready to go, start by slowly rotating your head from side-to-side with control. Make sure not to rush through this movement as it is important that you keep good form throughout.

When you have completed the reps switch sides and repeat the movement.

Neck Curl

It is a simple move that requires minimal equipment, only needing one weight plate. With this exercise you can target each side of the neck individually, resulting in balanced strength and muscle growth.

To begin, lay flat straight on an exercise bench with your feet flat on the ground.

Now with both hands Hold the weight plate and place it on your head with your palms facing away from you.

Now, exhale as you tilt your head with your chin going toward your chest.

During this entire movement and focus on contracting the muscles in front of the neck as much as possible without straining them too much, when you’re done lay on the back, side of your body and use the plate to target all sides of your neck.

Neck Isometrics

Neck isometrics are a form of exercise that strengthens the neck muscles without requiring any movement.

This type of exercise involves placing the body in a fixed position and using muscle contractions to hold that position for an extended period of time.

The goal of this type of exercise is to strengthen the neck muscles by pushing against resistance in a static position. Use all the exercises above for neck isometrics and use time-based repetition movements to target specific areas within the neck.

When doing these exercises maintain in a static contraction position. This allows individuals to do the same set of exercises in a fixed position without having to move their bodies around.

Additionally, it eliminates any potential risk associated with moving around during exercise.

Cool Down

If you’re a boxer, you know how important it is to be able to protect and strengthen your neck in order to stay safe.

That’s why it’s essential to do some cool-down exercises after each workout session.

Here are four of the best stretches that can help relieve tension and soreness in your neck muscles:

Neck Flexion Stretch

To do this stretch correctly, you should stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your head forward until your chin touches your chest and hold for 30 seconds.

You may also try gently pushing down on the top of your head with one hand while resisting with the other to increase the intensity of this stretch. Once completed, slowly bring your head back up and repeat three times.

Neck Extension Stretch

This stretch involves moving the neck backward, stretching out the front of your neck.

To perform a neck extension stretch, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then slowly lift your chin upwards until you feel a comfortable stretch at the base of your skull.

Hold this position for 30 seconds before returning to neutral position.

Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch

Lateral neck flexion stretch is an excellent way to reduce the risk of injury. This stretch is particularly useful for boxing, as it works out the upper trapezius muscle group and it also stretches the sternocleidomastoid muscle.

To perform the lateral neck flexion stretch, stand in a relaxed position and slowly tilt your head to one side until you feel a gentle stretching sensation along the length of your neck muscle.

Hold this position for 30 seconds before releasing slowly and repeating on the other side.

Neck Rotation Stretch

When performing the neck rotation stretch, you should start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Keeping their head level with their chest, they should slowly rotate it from side to side without tilting it up or down.

During this exercise, they should take deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth while focusing on maintaining good posture while holding the position for 30 seconds.

Why Is The Neck Bridges Exercise Not Included?

The neck bridges exercise, once a staple of the legendary Mike Tyson’s routine, has become increasingly uncommon in boxing workouts.

While it may appear to be an effective strengthening exercise for the cervical spine, there are some risks associated with this exercise that make it less desirable than other options.

This bodyweight exercise involves pushing up from a lying position to form an arch with your body while the head is on the ground.

It requires strong abdominal, gluteal, and hamstring muscles as well as a good balance to perform successfully while avoiding injury.

When done improperly, it can lead to severe neck pain and muscle fatigue due to incorrect form or incorrect weight distribution on the spine. Furthermore, a lot pressure is applied on the cervical spine during the exercise, and over time serious injuries can occur such as spinal fractures.

How Can I Build A Bigger Neck?

Incorporate higher reps, sets, and more protein into your routine. Doing more repetitions per set will help get your muscles used to lifting heavier weights over time. Additionally, performing multiple sets helps build muscle mass in the neck area.

Start out by doing two or three sets with 10-15 reps each set for best results. For big gains in size and strength, make sure you’re using the correct technique when performing exercises like shrugs or upright rows so that you’re targeting your neck correctly.

RELATED: Pre-Workout For Boxing: How To Maximize Your Training

Tips for Safe Neck Training

First off, focus on form rather than trying to lift heavy weights as quickly as possible. Good technique is key when doing any kind of exercise, but especially when working with your neck muscles.

Make sure you’re using a full range of motion and keeping proper posture throughout the exercise so that your muscles are being worked correctly and safely.

Secondly, don’t overdo it! Give yourself enough time between sets and workouts so that your body can rest properly before the next session.


Boxing neck workouts provide a great workout for strengthening and conditioning the neck muscles. These exercises, if performed properly, can help improve boxing performance and reduce the risk of neck injury.

Keep in mind that safety should always be your first priority when training your neck, so make sure to start slowly with light weights until you’re comfortable with the movement.

Don’t forget to always warm up before beginning any exercise routine. Finally, take your time and enjoy the process of building strength and improving your boxing performance.