Can neck exercises prevent knockouts?

Muay Thai fighters strengthen their necks to endure the clinch, but these workouts might be giving them resistance to being KO’ed. The science behind this phenomenon is fairly straightforward. If you get hit on the chin, your neck can rotate at an accelerated pace, the brain acts like a fresh egg inside its shell slams unnaturally into the skull causing damage. A strong neck can act as a damper slowing down this rotational force, giving you a “Stronger Chin.”  

Regardless on what side of the fence you fall on in terms of neck training you’ll often find yourself in a clinch doing Muay Thai or even MMA. Being able to keep your head up will give your opponent less opportunities to land knees, and knees hurt enough to give anyone good reason to devote 10 minutes a day to a routine like this, avoiding the KO is just a nice fringe benefit.

What should I do now? 

A beginner neck exercise is the nod, in an elevated ring, lay on your back and let your head fall off the ledge,  do 4 sets of 25 at a moderate pace. Once this gets to easy move on to the next step. 

Resistance bands, grab yourself a few Medi bands, learn to anchor them to anything solid –  wear them as a headband by throwing a bowline knot and work your neck, left to right / right to left / up / down. Perform 4 sets of 10 reps of each. 

Bridging is the bee’s knees when it comes to building neck strength. How to do it, lie on your back, lift up your hips and use your head to hold you up. In the beginning you won’t be able to bear much weight, but as you practice you will get stronger. It helps to watch Mike Tyson videos for inspiration. 

Just remember a strong neck is not a substitute for actual defense. It will help your posture in clinches and might make it so that you can withstand more punishment and not get knocked out.

Looking to strengthen your neck but don’t know where to start? Try right here.

Written By: Derek Frohlich

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