This is really a two-part question:

  1. Which muscle keeps the neck upright?
  2. How does one strengthen it?
  • 1
    This would be more appropriate on Fitness and would probably get much better answers there. Jul 15, 2016 at 19:48
  • @CareyGregory, Sorry, I don't agree. If this question were about how to strengthen one's abdominal muscles or biceps, I would probably agree, but when one asks about how to strengthen their neck muscles, it's most likely because they are experiencing chronic neck pain, which is more appropriate on the Health SE site.
    – BillDOe
    Jul 16, 2016 at 5:25
  • @BillOer I see no indication the OP is asking about neck pain, and if he is then it would be closed on Health as off topic. He's asking how to strengthen neck muscles. If Fitness can't tell him how then nobody can so close it. In any case, I'm not a mod and didn't make the decision to migrate it here. Jul 16, 2016 at 6:00

2 Answers 2


The major muscle that keeps the neck erect is the trapezius.enter image description here

It is fairly simple to strengthen it assuming you put in a consistent effort. To strengthen it in the best way possible, you should strengthen both the neck directly, and also the traps which support it.

To work your traps, the best way would be weight training. The most fundamental exercise that you can do in the gym to strengthen your traps is the shrug. You can do this with a barbell, smith machine, shrug machine, kettlebells, or dumbbells. Just load up a weight that you will be able to do 8-15 reps with, and do 3-5 sets. Basically just hold hold the weight, maintaining a neutral spine, elbows almost straight, literally just shrug like you normally would, but as high as you can, and hold for a second or two until you feel the burn, lower all the way down and feel the strech and repeat. Make sure to progress in some way with every workout, whether it is more weight, more repetitions, more volume or duration. There are also alot of exercises that indirectly work the traps like deadlifts and side raises so just look up on Google how to work the traps and you'll be fine.

As for the neck itself, you could wrap an exercise band around your neck, move far away until you feel the tension and simply turn your head from looking front to looking to your side for high reps for each side. You could also use something called a neck harness that's found in many gyms by putting it around your head, looking down then looking up. There's lots of ways to do this and you can easily look up many workouts for the neck online until you find a few that you like and work for you.

Here's one: http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/the-top-5-exercises-to-strengthen-your-neck

  • This is good. I just might give it a try.
    – BillDOe
    Aug 22, 2016 at 20:21

Lie on your back against a flat surface with your head resting on that same surface (i.e. not on a pillow). Lift your head as far as possible and hold for 5 seconds; repeat about 10 times. Do this again with your head pointed to the left and then to the right. Also, it's a good idea to work out your abdominal muscles, as they provide a foundation for the spine, which ultimately supports your head. (I cannot provide citations for this, as it comes from my physical therapist. I have a pretty bad neck, and this is the only thing that keeps my neck more or less pliable.)

You can also use a 30-inch towel to move your head from one extreme to another. Hold one end with your hand against the chest and the other end holding the towel with it wrapped around the back of your neck and around the cheek. Using the hand not against the chest, force your head in the direction away from the cheek it's against.

This helps me.

Edit: Make sure your back remains flat against the surface upon which you are laying.

  • Bad posture usually sees the neck sagging forwards, so why strengthen the muscles on the front of your neck?
    – BSO rider
    Aug 22, 2016 at 0:37
  • @BSOrider, don't know. That's what I learned in physical therapy. I have a pretty bad neck. Considering C6 is 4-5 mm out of line with C7, I'm surprised I can walk. C6 in displaced forward of C7.
    – BillDOe
    Aug 22, 2016 at 20:17

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