Esoteric Martial Arts

Neck Strengthening Exercises

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Here are some exercises you can use to develop neck strength. None of them require any special equipment, and you can make big gains from just two 5 minute sessions per week!

Neck strength is probably the most overlooked aspect of martial arts conditioning, and it is one of the most important. The reason it is so undervalued is probably becauseneck strength doesn't usually make any noticable difference to your ability in training, and so it doesn't occur to most people that it could be important. But where neck strength really becomes important is in an actual street fight or full contact competition fight. If you get into a real fight then you are going to get hit in the head, no matter how good you are at blocking and dodging the chances are still pretty high that something will get through.
There is only one trainable factor that will allow you to be able to take a punch to the head without being knocked out, knocked-down, or at the very least knocked off balance and out of your stride - neck strength. The stronger your neck, the better able you will be to take a punch, it's as simple as that.
With this fact in mind here are some neck strengthening exercises you can add to your physical conditioning programme. Used together they take oly about 5 - 10 minutes (less at first), and are perfect for martial rts purposes. It's best to begin with a few stretching exercises or the neck - turning the head to the sides, and tilting it forwards and back and to each side - but remember that rolling the head around in a circle, the most common neck exercise, is for loosening and not stretching; stretching with this exercise can cause serious damage to the neck tissue.
1 - Forehead Roll - Kneel down and sit on your heels. Lean forward and pace both hands down, with your forehead on the ground between them. Taking most of the weight on your forehead, and using the hands for stabililty and safety, turn your head from side to side, rolling your forehead back and forth over the ground. Once you are used tothis movement you can move your head and hands forward, raising your bottom up off your feet. The further forward you move the harder it will be.
2 - Head Stand - Simple but effective. You can do it against a wall for balance, beginning with around 1 minute and building up.
3 - Half Iron Board - Take a chair and rest the back of your head on the seat, then straighten your whole body so that it is a rigid board with just your heels on the ground, and try to hold this position or as long as possible. This is by far the hardest exercise, so don't feel bd if you can only hold it fora few seconds at first.
You can also do this with both sides of the head, and the forehead against the seat. This exercise is used in kung fu iron shirt training.

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