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Neck exercises are often done when people want to either build a bigger, stronger looking neck or need to for a sport that they play. MMA fighters, wrestlers, football players and more will often turn to neck bridges as their go-to option for improving the strength and size of their neck. That said, I’m going to show you why those two neck exercises are possibly the worst thing you can do and what you should be doing instead.
Neck exercises like the bridge are actually very effective at helping you to build the muscles of your neck bigger. That said, they are also doing a number on the integrity of the spine and ligaments inside your neck in the process. When you perform either a forward or a backward neck bridge you are doing what is called a closed-chain exercise.
Normally, closed chain exercises are great options that help to replicate the actual function of the muscles and joints in a more realistic setting. The neck is not one of those joints that works in a closed chain manner however. Forcing it to do so is the first step in a recipe for disaster when it comes to neck workouts and exercises for building a bigger neck.
As soon as you find yourself pushing on your neck as you move it into flexion, extension or side bending you are asking for a major problem. The compression provided by leaning all or some of your weight (I demonstrate a partial unloading of your bodyweight by using my hands in this video) is not something your neck is built for.
Add to this the fact that you will then combine this compression with motion and you are creating a scenario where you are increasing the likelihood of having bone rub against bone in your neck. This, over time, can lead to the formation of bone spurs or osteophytes which can increase the chances that you will have impingement of one of your cervical nerve roots.
When you get contact by a foreign body with your nerve roots in your neck, you see either a weakness in the muscles along the distribution of that nerve or feel sensory issues and pain down the dermatome associated with that nerve. This is not a good thing and is something you must avoid at all costs when picking the neck exercises that you are going to do to build a bigger neck.
The ATHLEAN-X Training System is a program that puts smart training back at the forefront and helps you to build a bigger neck without worrying about damaging your spine. The 90 day plan is available at and is the gold standard for those athletes (young and old) that are looking to take their game and performance to it’s fullest without having to compromise your longevity in the process.
If you are looking for more videos on how to build a stronger neck as well as exercises for your traps that will help you to get a more impressive looking neck, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at