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 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.
Brace for impact...Get Strong.
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 PROTRUSION IS FULL RANGE NECK EXTENSION
NECK FLEXION – VERY IMPORTANT FOR POSTURE AND SEGMENTAL MOBILITY AND STABILITY OF THE CERVICAL SPINE
NECK EXTENSION – AIDS IN BRACING
LATERAL NECK FLEXION – GREAT FOR THE SCALENE MUSCLES
HEAD FLEXION – WORKS HIGH UP UNDER THE JAW
HEAD EXTENSION – STRENGTHENS THE SUBOCCIPITALS AT THE BASE OF THE SKULL
SINGLE ARM SHRUG – ISOLATES THE MUSCLES OF THE UPPER TRAP
TWO ARM SHRUG – GREAT FOR THE MIDDLE TRAPEZIUS
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pendulum 4-Way Head and Neck Machines
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.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
CEUs will be 0.8 NSCA, 7.0 BOC, 3.25 CSCCa and 8 NSPA.
The Pingry School
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
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
Register today! For additional information, email Coach Taylor at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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 Chicago Link to News Video
Train eight ways on the Pendulum 5-Way Neck Machine to Get the head and neck Strong
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
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
Colgate University Pendulum Neck Machines
9. Increase vertical jump height
10. Increase blood flow to and from the brain
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 University Pendulum Neck Machines
Train the Head and Neck and Get Strong
The Pingry School is located in Martinsville, New Jersey. Doug Scott is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. The hallmark of any strength and conditioning program is Preventative Sports Medicine and the Pingry School exemplifies this.
Doug Scott discusses the Pingry School neck training program to a group of coaches
Beginning in the 6th grade physical education classes, all students begin neck exercise as part of their normal fitness routines. The purpose is not to neglect the structures that are important in posture, balance, movement, strength, cooling, oxygen uptake and protecting the student athlete by lowering concussive forces. Having total body strength by including a neck protocol prepares young students for their participation in sport.
The following routine over time significantly changes these young students strength and readies them, male and female, for the comprehensive head and neck training program awaitng them in high school.
Laying on their backs the students are instructed to make a goal post with their arms and keep the back of their hands on the floor during each of three different exercises.
1). Neck flexion - bring the chin to chest and hold for each repetition.
2). Neck protrusion - raise the head vertically off the floor in a straight line sticking out the chin .
3). Side of neck - raising the head off the floor and tilting the ear to the shoulder and returning to neutral. Each side is trained.
A great way to Get the young Strong.
Maintaining one's body’s center of mass over its base of support is called balance. We make automatic adjustments to maintain posture and stability in our daily living and work hard to enhance our balance when we are involved in athletics. Balance is coordinated by several physiological systems. The vestibular or auditory system located in the inner ear and the visual system, which sends visual signals from the eyes to the brain about our body's position in relation to its surroundings. The proprioceptive system uses sensory nerves called proprioceptors located in muscles, tendons and joints, along with the central nervous system, which gives you a kinesthetic sense or an awareness of our body in space.
Participating in sport, developing skills, conditioning drills, and strength training augments balance. A strong core stabilizes the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and creates a solid base of support to generate powerful movements of the extremities. Besides practice, drills and basic strength training, coaches use stability balls, medicine balls, kettlebells, wobble boards, balance boards, planks, TRX's, as well as yoga, martial arts, Pilates, tai chi, and a wide variety of exercises to improve equilibrium during coordinated movements.
Training the head and neck musculature is extremely important in maintaining and improving balance, often neglected, the area should never be overlooked. Postural instability can be induced by fatiguing cervical muscle spindles, that is, postural changes can be made by exercising neck muscles, which temporarily affects neck function and balance in a standing posture.
Pendulum Rack System and Pendulum 5-Way Neck
Improve the 'balance' in your training regime by never failing to keep and Get your head and neck Strong.
Gabe Harrington has a Masters degree from Michigan State University. He has coached at MSU, the United States Military Academy and most recently was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Colgate University Patriot League Football Champions. Gabe explains that sometimes it is important to back off from something.
Strengthening the muscles of the head and neck should be a part of any good strength program. Training these muscles for strength and size (and therefore injury prevention) requires lots of hard work and effort. The side effects include general muscular soreness and fatigue. While this is normal and considered part of the process, there is a time and a place for everything.
Assuming your players have trained hard for many months and are now in two-a-day camp, it is time to adjust. As a strength coach, you must take into account the new stresses on the body: wearing a helmet for several hours each day, contact (read collision), film study, and less than optimal sleeping conditions to name a few.
When I was at Colgate University, I had spent several years refining my programming to achieve optimal techniques and loading cycles. In my final year, I had come up with what I felt worked best for my players, given their environment and our coaches practice style. Our camp program looked like this:
- Get in the weight room EVERY DAY that there was only one practice. This helped to account for the two-a-day time slip, where three days feels like three weeks. If your players come to the weight room as part of their daily routine, it helps to achieve a psychological sense of normalcy.
- Being in the weight room with this frequency DOES NOT mean to lift every day. We had a three workout rotation that was based on several factors: observations from the strength staff and athletic training staff from being at practice each day, talking with our coaching staff daily to anticipate the coming schedule as far as contact, etc. And most importantly, talking with our veteran players to see how they were feeling and making adjustments accordingly.
- The three workouts were: two different total body lifts (short and not too intense), and one accessory type workout performed circuit style involving shoulder pre-hab movements with 5-10lbs, bands, bodyweight, foam rolling, and stretching. How these workouts cycled were based on the previously mentioned observation factors and never did we lift on two consecutive days.
HEAD AND NECK SPECIFIC
- Lift #1: flexion and extension 1x10 on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine (at 45-90lbs), 1 arm shrug on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine ( at 70-115lbs)
- Lift #2: dorsi flexion/tilt 1x20 on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine (at 45-55lbs), nods 1x20 on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine (at 90-115lbs), band upright row 2x20
- Accessory workout: flexion, extension, rotation and combination movements with gravity being the only resistance x30 seconds each, blackburns x30 seconds, shrug/lat raise x30 seconds, external rotation x30 seconds
As can be seen, this is very light and designed to keep some volume of work on the musculature while not causing overload. And more than anything, it helped our players stay healthy and feel good.
In contrast, in the summer program prior to camp our HEAD AND NECK training cycle looked like this:
- Monday: Manual 4-way neck 1x12 (maximum effort), Barbell Shrug 3x12 (heavy to light, max effort all sets)
- Tuesday: dorsi flexion/tilts on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine 2x20 (at 45-90lbs), 1-arm shrug 2x15 (at 45lbs), external rotations, and pull-apart variations with mini bands
- Thursday: 4-way neck on the Pendulum 5-way neck machine 1x12 (maximum effort), DB shrug 3x12 (light to heavy, max effort last set)
- Friday: jaw work focusing on the masseter 2x20 with bands, scapular elevation 2x20 (bodyweight), scapular depression 2x20(bodyweight)
This part of our program easily consumed more than one full hour (of the NCAA allowed 8 hours) dedicated solely to the head and neck. The point is this, when you are in camp you don’t ask your players to squat at 85% of their one rep max, so why would you ask them to train their heads and necks that way? However, before you back off from head and neck training, make sure you are backing off from SOMETHING.