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Head And Neck Training In Kansas

Scott Holsopple is the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the University of Kansas. Scott has tremendous experience in the field of strength and conditioning. He coached at Florida when they won the National Championship in football, he was the head strength coach for Kentucky basketball and Marguette basketball and was an assistant strength coach for his alma mater Penn State University, as well as having a coaching stint at Notre Dame.`

Scott has eleven neck machines in his facility so that each athlete has an opportunity to maximize their strength.

Kansas Neck Machines

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Pendulum 4-Way Head and Neck Machines

A Strong Jaw

Strengthening your jaw to hold it in place during contact sports is a good thing. Being able to hold strong isometric contractions during an impact not only protects the jaw, but lowers the subconcussive forces associated with head injury.

The lateral pterygoid, anterior belly of the digastric, geniohyoid and platysma muscles are involved in jaw opening. The anterior portion, the thickest part of the platysma muscle depresses the mandible when you strain during effort leaving the mouth partially open. When you tuck your chin the powerful masseter muscles on the side of your jaw are neurally inhibited. The masseter muscle is a jaw closer, this means it is important to maximize openers, as well as, closers to hold the jaw in place since neural inhibition can reduce the number of muscles involved in a particular head movement. 

Jake Cox played football at Kansas and has a masters degree in Kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin. Jake is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Villanova University football team. Coach Cox runs a comprehensive head and neck program that includes exercise for the jaw.  He trains his athletes utilizing 6 Pendulum 5-Way Head and Neck Machines, Manual Resistance and Resistance Bands. The Villanova Wildcats protect their athletes by Getting them Strong.

Villanova Jaw Strength


Jaw Strength Villanova

Training The Upper Trap

Training the superior or upper portion of the trapezius can not effectively be exercised by shrugging or even high pulling.

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When you are shrugging, you are holding onto the bar to raise it, no matter how high you pull the bar you are still capable of extending the head with your extensors. Since there is no resistance to push against there is no overload and little development of  the superior trapezius muscles. 

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When you securely stabilize the torso while holding on to something and the resistance is placed on the occiput or back of the skull the upper trapezius can extend the head and be maximally developed.

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Fixating the torso during neck extension on the Pendulum 4 or 5 Way Neck augments the upper trapezius muscles.

Neck Muscle Strength And Cervical Muscle Activation

In the January, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Effect of neck muscle strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation on the kinematic response of the head to impulsive loads. The authors concluded...."In male and female athletes across the age spectrum, greater neck strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation ("bracing for impact") can reduce the magnitude of the head's kinematic response." 

Neck Stength Women

Neck strength and anticipating the impact are modifiable. All coaches attend to developing skill and all coaches should develop head and neck strength with their athletes to reduce risk and potentially lower the incidence of concussion.

Neck strength women

Brace for impact...Get Strong.

How To Train Your Neck

Chad Smith is a Head Strength Coach and a part of the High Intensity Team of the Hard Pressed Strength Training Facility in downtown Chicago.  Chad takes a moment to explain how to train the head, neck and traps.

There are the 8 essential movements every athlete needs to be doing to get the muscles that hold the skull or occiput in place and help dissipate the potential concussive forces:




Neck Flexion

 Neck Extension


Lateral Flexion


Head Flexion



One arm shrug


2 arm shrug

These 8 movements, at a minimum are the foundation of Head and Neck training. The utilization of a neck machine is recommended for maximizing the strength in this area. To get any muscle strong you need to overload with weight.  Many train the neck soley with bands or only utilize manual resistance. Consider the question when you strength train do you train your arms or legs solely in this manner, so why is the neck any different?  When you are in Chicago stop by Hard Pressed we would love to Get your entire body Strong.

Measuring Neck Circumference

Mike Joseph is the Director of Strength and Conditioning at the West Virginia University.  Head and Neck training is an important part of the Mountaineers strength program.  Darl Bauer is the Assistant Director, he gives us some insight into taking measurements of neck circumference in monitoring their program.  Darl explains... I measure once a month and have found that it is a great motivational tool, athletes love it when their hard work shows up with an increased neck size. 

West Virginia Neck Program

I have found even though I do the very best at measuring the exact same point each time that certain measurements seem to be flawed by my own human error.  Either I have pulled too tight, or not enough, or the athlete has flexed at the last second, something you must always control.

Neck Recording          describe the image             describe the image

If an athlete has lost fat their neck size may get smaller even though they are gaining strength.  For an athlete losing circumference it is upsetting and no coach wants their player to feel that their training program doesn't work, my response is always the same..."Are you moving more weight?  Then your neck is getting stronger."  And if you are less fat then the results are doubly great! Gaining strength and losing fat is the message that must be relayed to the athlete.

When you measure athletes early in the morning and then measure them in the afternoon the results may be completely different (up to a quarter inch higher). We dehydrate in our sleep and when we eat, what we eat, what activity we have done, and assessment accuracy all come into play.  Measuring the same time every day is ideal, but not in the collegiate setting.

I basically give a +/- .25 inches discretion to the measurements.  If they gain more than .25 inches then I consider that a substantial gain.  If they lose more than .25 inches than I consider that substantial loss and I put them on a 'high-risk' list, where they are required to do supplemental neck training on top of our current 'Neck/Trap/Scap'program.  It has worked very well.

Tracking circumference is a tremendous motivator and tool to assess your program and your athletes progress.  Train their head and neck musculature and Get  and keep them Strong.

neck machines Pendulum 4-Way Head and Neck Machines


4th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development New Jersey Clinic

The 4th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development New Jersey Clinic is headed back to The Pingry School. This event will be more hands-on and practical than your typical lecture only format. It will be a great opportunity for attendees to learn from those that work with professional athletes, collegiate athletes, youth athletes and more. The clinic will highlight a multidisciplinary approach integrating speed, movement, agility, resistance, technology, education and resistance training in a motivational, high energy, learning environment. Don’t miss out on this unique experience. 

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

CEUs will be 0.8 NSCA, 7.0 BOC, 3.25 CSCCa and 8 NSPA.

The Pingry School
Martinsville Road
Martinsville, New Jersey

7:00-7:45 Registration / Check-In – Drinks and bagels will be provided in Sponsor/Vendor Area

7:45-8:00 Opening Remarks – Doug Scott/Rob Taylor

8:00-8:50 "A Basic Guide to Understanding and Evaluating Research" - Matt Brzycki, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University

9:00-9:50 "10+ Ways To Easily Enhance Your S&C Program" - Jay Hooten, Director of Football Performance for the University of Northwestern

10:00-10:50 "Speed. Agility. And More!" – Bill Parisi, CEO of the Parisi Speed School

11:00-11:50 "Weight Room Wisdom" - Mike Gittleson, Former Head S&C Coach at the University of Michigan

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11:50-1:00 Lunch Break

12:00-12:50 “Round Table” for Q&A – Presenters will field questions, provide advice, suggestions, and guidance where applicable.

1:00-1:50 "Your Nutrition Environment" - Adam Feit, Director of Sports Performance at Reach Your Potential Training

2:00-2:50 "Faster And Fitter On The Court And Field" - Doug Scott, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Pingry School

3:00-3:50 "Strength Training Overload Protocols" - Rob Taylor, Jr., Founder and Owner of SMARTER Team Training

4:00 Closing comments – Doug Scott/Rob Taylor

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Register today!   For additional information, email Coach Taylor at

A Bench Press Program That Always Works

Trying to administer a three day per week percentage based bench press program around a student-athletes schedule is daunting.  During the academic year, for a variety of reasons, the school week may only be four days or less.  There is Labor Day, teachers workshops, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving vacation, the winter holidays, spring break, in Northern America winter snow days, all of which may disrupt a lifting schedule.  Athletes also have competition, midterms, finals, religious concerns, special school events and there is often late travel during the competitive season that causes limited rest for the participant and all alter the best-laid plans.    

Pendulum Racks 

A Bench Press Program that always works regardless of schedule:

Day #1 - Bench Press - 3 sets of 5 reps

Warm up any way you choose, but once you have selected your warm up method the method should never vary.  When you can accomplish 3 sets of 5 repetitions add 10 pounds the next Day #1 workout, also add 10 pounds to your warm up weights.

Every Day #1 you must total 15 repetitions.  If you achieve 5, 3, 2 repetitions in your sets this means you are down 6 reps from your 15 rep total of 3 sets of 5 repetitions. Continue performing additional sets making up the 6 missed reps. 

Day #2 - Bench Press 4 Sets, your goal is 40 reps in 4 sets

Warm up any way you choose, but once you have selected your warm up method the method should never vary.

When you begin this program start the first workout with a weight you can do 15 reps with the greatest effort.  Your goal is ultimately to get a total of 40 reps in 4 sets with the chosen weight.  When you accomplish this add 10 pounds the next training session.

Every Day #2 you must total 40 repetitions. If you achieve 15, 8, 6, 5 repetitions in your 4 sets this means you are down 6 reps from your 40 rep goal total.  Continue performing additional sets making up the 6 missed reps. When you can accomplish 40 reps in 4 sets add 10 pounds

Day #3 - Bench Press 4 Sets with the Day #2 weight

Warm up exactly how you did on Day #2.  Do 4 sets of maximum repetitions with the Day #2 weight.   When the 4th set is finished regardless of the total number of repetitions accomplished the Day #3  bench press is completed.


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This same program can be used in-season with this adjustment

Day # 1 - 3 sets of 6 reps for a total of 18 reps

Day #2 - Bench Press 4 Sets, with the goal of 40 reps in 4 sets, always making up the reps that were not accomplished in 4 tries. 

Day # 3 - You will only bench press 2 days per week and resume the three day per week program when the season is over.

Some rules:

If you have a short week out of season and can only fit in two days of training choose Day #1 and Day #2.

If you can only fit in one day of training, in or out of season, choose Day #2. 

A simple program that will always Get you Strong. The only catch is that it does require EFFORT! 


NBC On Head And Neck Training

NBC Chicago Link to News Video!/news/health/Strength-Training-the-Neck-Can-Prevent-Concussions/231345091

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 Train eight ways on the Pendulum 5-Way Neck Machine to Get the head and neck Strong

Comprehensive Head And Neck Strength Program

The hotbed of proprioception is the head and neck region of our anatomy, all athletes  benefit from training this area.  Inattention to the musculature of the head and neck system slights optimal development. The first goal of a strength training program is to protect the student-athlete and contact sports require a comprehensive structured head and neck program. 


There are Many Reasons for Head And Neck Training  

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Saginaw Valley State University Pendulum Neck Machines

1. Protect the athlete

2. Lower the sub-concussive forces that cause short term and long term injury

3. Enhance the ability of moving the head quickly

4. Significantly improve body strength

5. Improve balance and athleticism

6. Attenuate and dissipate energy

7. Increase maximum oxygen uptake

8. Stretch and strengthen the suboccipital muscles that have a direct correlation to the hamstrings

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Colgate University Pendulum Neck Machines

9. Increase vertical jump height

10. Increase blood flow to and from the brain

11. Cooling

12. Less mistakes during play due to contact and stress

13. Protect and strengthen the shoulders

14. Reduce headaches

15. Having strength measurements for return to play guidelines

16. Ultimately do the right thing by being responsible

Michigan State Neck Machines

Michigan State University Pendulum Neck Machines

Train the Head and Neck and Get Strong


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