Guest post by Dr Kickass, Mike Piekarski, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Former MMA Fighter, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt. Follow him on instagram.
Having a strong neck is essential for injury prevention when involved in combat sports: jiu jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai and boxing. This is a beginner exercise I have my patients perform to start incorporating neck strengthening.
Programming: submaximal isometric holds for 5-10 seconds. Gradually increase resistance as you get stronger then increase duration.
Key point: make sure you address each direction: forward, backward and side. Make sure to retract your neck first for optimal neck positioning.
This next exercise addresses end-range strengthening. Being strong at the end-range is critical for injury prevention. In each combat sport (wrestling, muay thai, jiu jitsu etc) your neck will be contorted in weird angles. If you don’t train these angles you will be more susceptible to injury.
Program: sub-maximal contracts for 5-10 seconds. Gradually build up to 20 seconds.
This last variation is the most advanced because there is an external resistance that may offer more of a challenge compared to your own manual resistance.
In this video I use a mobility band but you can also regress the exercise to use a regular theraband, however you have to be careful of those bands snapping in your face.
Keep your neck strong like Master Rickson!