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Strong neck go SQUISH!
July 20, 2011 12:37 PM   Subscribe

How do bodybuilders and athletes build up their neck muscles, specifically their scalene muscles? Do steroids make giant scalenes?

I was reading about the problems that people can get when the scalene muscles in their necks squeeze their blood vessels or nerves against their first rib. I was wondering how people get hypertrophic scalene muscles - are there certain excercises that build them up? Are there certain movements like head turns that contract them? Is anabolic steroid use known to bulk up the neck or cause hypertrophy of the scalene muscles?
posted by abirae to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm neither, but are you sure they aren't the traps (trapezius) that you're thinking of ?

(That being said, there are specific neck machines. .. Had one at my old gym, the russian kickboxing kid used it all the time)
posted by k5.user at 12:44 PM on July 20, 2011


Shallow, chest breathing can cause your scalenes to contract. You can feel it by pushing your fingers gently under your sternocleidomastoid until you find your scalenes and then feeling the difference between (1) deep, diaphramatic breathing and (2) fast breathing, as if you're pretending to panic.

I believe people with asthma can have scalene problems as a result of this.
posted by surenoproblem at 1:11 PM on July 20, 2011


The weight room instructor at my high school had a neck harness that he would sometimes use, but I've never seen anyone else use them.

My guess is that the neck builds up naturally from a combination of steroids and the need to tense the whole body during heavy compound lifts such as deadlifts, bent-over rows, etc...

I doubt that bodybuilders would want to increase the thickness of their necks, because having a thinner neck would create a better visual contrast which would look more impressive.
posted by Homo economicus at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2011


I doubt that bodybuilders would want to increase the thickness of their necks, because having a thinner neck would create a better visual contrast which would look more impressive.

Homo economicus, try googling your theory. Those necks look pretty muscular to me.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neck exercises.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2011


I think you're thinking of the traps.

That said, neck bridges are good for building neck strength (though you have to be careful and start out slow). Neck harnesses work as well. You should be able to find a lot of information through wrestling training websites.
posted by schroedinger at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2011


I got phat scalenes from rock climbing.
posted by krilli at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2011


(Indoors bouldering actually, on overhanging walls.)
posted by krilli at 2:16 PM on July 20, 2011


T-Nation has some articles (mostly SFW, some language and scantily clad fitness models) about building neck strength.

I don't see a need to specifically strengthen your neck other than bodybuilding (looks) or you're directly using it (MMA, wrestling, rugby, etc).

A good strength routine will train have the side effect of building any necessary supporting muscles, including the neck, as needed. Only if you have a noticeable deficiency would you need to pay any attention to neck training.

With that said, any good athlete will include a comprehensive strength training program in their own training as it's beneficial in general, and thus would strengthen their necks in passing.
posted by jpeacock at 2:46 PM on July 20, 2011


Deadlifts work the traps, as well as a whole host of other muscles.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 2:17 PM on July 21, 2011


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