Help Me Bulk Up My Long Giraffe Neck!

September 5, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

longneck

As it stands, I am still on my quest to solve the problem of building those muscle groups that simply get neglected (forearms, Legs), yet are very important in regards to developing a well rounded muscle bound body.

In a previous article I talked about those individuals who have plenty of muscle, but don’t appear to have any when fully clothed. A big contributor to this issue is having a long neck, or just a very un-muscular one. But today we will discuss how to overcome this.

Talking from experience, having a long neck is a bad thing, because when you,

  • Wear a shirt (and trousers)
  • Wear a suit and tie
  • Wear a collarless jumper

People simply cannot tell that you are finely chiseled underneath the clothed armour. So for appearance sake (and we all know you build muscle to impress others), building a strong and powerful neck is crucial, and when you do build it, you will,

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Give the impression of power and strength

But looks aren’t everything! By developing strong neck muscles you will,

  • Prevent injury (From performing many everyday tasks and during fitness and sporting activities)
  • Protect your spine and spinal chord

What are the neck muscles?

strong_neck_musclesstrong trapezius muscles

The 3 main neck muscles are,

  • Splenius
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Trapezius

These muscles are responsible for flexion, extension and rotation of the neck.

How do you build the neck muscles?

Now that I’ve gone over the textbook stuff, lets talk about how to build muscle onto your giraffe neck. When people think of muscles around the neck, they would probably have these exercises in mind.

  • Front dumbbell raises
  • Lateral raises
  • Wide grip pull ups

These will all be great contributors to forming a great set of upper body muscles, namely your,

  • Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Upper back muscles (Traps)
  • Triceps
  • Wings (The latissimus dorsi)

But one must put a real focus on developing the neck and ONLY the neck, here’s how.

Implement safety first!

1. Dedicate a ‘neck only’ day for exercising. This is to make sure that your neck doesn’t suffer from fatigue from doing other exercises. It also allows for more concentration, I guess you could this as one big isolation exercise.

2. Make sure you stretch before, after and in-between every neck exercise. The classic rotate left, rotate right neck exercise will be good enough. Either sitting or standing, turn your head to the side, as though you are looking over your shoulder, and make sure that you don’t raise or lower your head. You can use your hand to press against the side of your head to create more resistance (Hold for 10-20 seconds and do it 3 times for each side). By doing this you will stretch out the three main muscles – the splenius and levator scapulae on one side and the opposing sternocleidomastoid.

3. Ensure that you have the correct form… Always!

4. Use full range of motion

The exercises

The best thing about ‘these’ exercises is that you can perform them at anytime, regardless of where you are. In fact, perform each of these exercises as you read them. That should make for some truly interactive reading 🙂 . Now it’s time to say good-bye to the long neck!

Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed in all of the exercises described, whether sitting or standing.

Neck Flexion

Target muscles: Upper trapezius and the splenius

This one is simple but very effective.

  1. Begin the exercise by bending your head forward, allowing your chin to drop towards your chest.
  2. Stretch until it feels tight.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then gently raise your head back up.
  4. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day.

Neck Extension

Target muscles: Sternocleidomastoid

I call this one ‘Mr Noddy’.

  1. Place your hands on your forehead
  2. Apply tension
  3. Tilt and push your head down to your chest
  4. Keep the tension and raise it back up
  5. Do this ten times and several times throughout the day

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Target muscles: Trapezius

This is the triangular shaped muscle that connects your 2 shoulders and head together in the upper back area. This exercise is an important one as it will keep your neck flexible and help prevent injury.

  1. Put your right arm behind your back.
  2. Hold the right side of your head with your left hand.
  3. Use your left hand to gently tilt your head toward the left.
  4. You should feel a gentle pull on your right side, from the side of the neck down to the shoulder.
  5. Hold for this position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  6. Relax and repeat three times for each side.

The Chin Tuck

I call this one the ‘double chin’.

  1. Using either hand, put your fingertips against your chin and gently push your head straight back.
  2. Keep looking forward as your head moves back.
  3. Hold the position for five seconds, and then relax.
  4. Repeat this movement 5 times.

Neck Side Bend

Target muscle: Sternocleidomastoid

This exercise is similar to talking on a mobile phone while your hands are busy doing other things.

  1. Begin by tilting your head so that your right ear moves toward your right shoulder.
  2. Take it to the point of tightness or discomfort, but not to the point of sharp pain.
  3. Relax and return to the starting position then tilt your head so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder.
  4. Be sure not to rotate your head, or to raise your shoulder toward your head.
  5. Do this 10 times each side.

There you have it folks! Your official guide to eliminating your giraffe neck once and for all. Keep doing these exercises regularly and sooner or later you will develop a strong and powerful neck that will make you stand out from the crowd. Now here is the goal i am setting you,

strong neck

😉

Do you have a long neck?

How do you build your neck muscles?

See you in the comments.

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Introducing Bugs Weekly Workout Routine

August 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Bugs Workout Routines, The Fitness Bug

Bugs workout routineIt’s Friday folks! The weekend starts today. Well… for most it should, if not then enjoy the time until it comes. By now, I hope most of you have enjoyed the posts and topics I have covered so far on stayfitbug.com. That will not stop! But today it is time to introduce workout routines, those of which I have personally experienced. This is to be known as:

BUGS WEEKLY WORKOUT ROUTINES

Every week I will post a workout schedule, some cardio based, some weights based or a variation of both, and the results that you can aim to achieve from doing them. By outlaying the results you can expect to achieve, it will be easy to identify if the post will be related to you or not. They will be based on what I’ve learned from being an athlete and from since being into fitness, and how effective I found them to be.

Today’s workout routine: Beginner weight training (building for muscle mass)

Ideal for: Beginners and those with busy schedules

I find that it is always best to try and start your workout week on a Monday. This allows you to fully utilize the weekdays and keep your weekends for rest days. Remember this (Balance)

Make sure you perform 1 – 2 sets of Warm-up exercises. Stretch before every first set.

Bugs Workout  Week # 1

KEY

Flat bench press

Flat bench press

Incline bench press

Incline bench press

Dumbbell Flys

Dumbbell Flys

barbell shoulder press

Shoulder press

Lateral raises

Lateral raises

Abdominal crunches

Abdominal crunches

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Chin ups

Chin ups

Lat pulldowns

Lat pulldowns

bent over rows

bent over rows

Dead lifts

Dead lifts

Bench dips

Bench dips

Squats

Squats

Leg curls

Leg curls

Calf raises

Calf raises

Standing barbell curl

Standing barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Seated barbell curl

Wrist curls

Wrist curls

Read more

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How To Build Killer Shoulders?

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Build strong shouldersIf there is one muscle group which I truly love over all others (ok, may be not the abs) it would have to be the shoulders. The reason why, is because once you have built great shoulders, you will look good regardless of your frame or the clothes that you wear. This is great for guys who suffer from (I really do have muscles), and as I have stated before, most of you really do workout so that you are noticed by others.

Many of you probably are familiar with shoulder exercises to do at home or at the gym.  But I’ll describe the exercises that have worked for myself over the years, without the use of any supplements, which gave me KILLER SHOULDERS!

Shoulder muscles ‘Deltoids’

Anterior (Front)
Medial (Middle)
Posterior (Rear)

Strong shoulder muscles

Dips Exercise

Dips exercise
Target Muscles: All shoulder muscles, triceps and chest

When I hit the gym I usually try to start with this exercise. It’s a killer shoulders exercise because you have to use your own body weight, but once you master it, you will prove to yourself that you really have increased your strength.

  1. Raise yourself up to an initial position with your arms extended and supporting the entire weight of your body.
  2. Next, lower yourself to a final position where your elbows are bent and your shoulders are mildly stretched.
  3. Then use your arms to push yourself upwards to the initial position.

Wide Grip Pull-ups (with a dipping belt)

Wide_Grip_Chin up

Target muscles: Posterior (rear), Latissimus Dorsi (lower back)

This is another strength testing exercise, but once mastered, add a dipping belt for a more challenging exercise. It primarily targets your lower back, but does also work the shoulders.

  1. Allow your body to hang from the bar with your arms straightened.
  2. Then pull yourself upward so that your chest nearly touches the bar and your chin is over the bar.

Barbell Upright Row

Target Muscles: All, but mainly Anterior (Front), Back

I never used to include this in my workouts in the beginning, but then I realised that if you want great looking shoulders then you must work them on all dimensions. This primarily targets the front shoulders.

  1. Place your hands no more than six inches apart on the bar.
  2. Pull the bar to just underneath your chin, allowing the elbows to flare out as wide as possible.

Dumbbell Side Raise

Dumbbell lateral side raise
Target Muscles: Anterior (Front)

This is my all time favourite weights assisted shoulder exercise. No matter how many times I perform, or how good I get at this exercise, it is always a challenge. But stick at it and this will give you a fine set of shoulders!

  1. In correct posture, stand with your legs spaced shoulder width apart.
  2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, knees bent and chest relaxed.
  3. Slightly in front of your sides lift the weight directly up, while focusing on your shoulders.
  4. Stop when your elbow joints are in a straight line with your shoulders and reverse the motion down.
  5. Under control, lower the weight, stop when your arms slightly touch your sides and reverse the motion.

Dumbbell Front Raise
alternate_front_dumbbell_raise

Muscles worked: Anterior (Front)

This is similar to the side raise exercise, but instead you place the dumbbells horizontally, one on each thigh. I actually find this one more of a challenge than side raise exercise, but keep this up and the results will come.

(With both raises it is highly advisable that you start off with lightweights)

There are other exercises you can use to build your shoulders, but these ones work quite well. Try to alternate these exercises on different days of your weekly workout schedule. Keep that up and I can almost guarantee that you will achieve some serious results along with KILLER SHOULDERS!

What exercises have worked for you?

See you in the comments

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