The neck harness is an old-school piece of equipment for training the neck. It has stood the test of time for two reasons: they are cost-effective and they work. When training neck extension, the easiest, most effective way to load the neck is to use a neck harness.
A neck harness allows you to nod your head up and down while standing or sitting with loads much heavier than you’d be able to use when lying down and placing a plate on the back of your head.
Strengthening the neck is often overlooked in training but is vitally important for reducing the risk of concussions in combat sports and for reducing the risk of injury and pain when training, fighting, or going through daily life.
With so many neck harnesses on the market, it can be hard to pick the best one for your needs. Luckily for you, I have been using neck harnesses for many years and I currently own what I personally believe are the two best neck harnesses you can buy.
Best Neck Harness
Runner Up Best Neck Harness
The Alpha Neck Harness by Iron Neck ticks every single box and more when it comes to a neck harness making it the best out of the lot.
Starting with its features, the Alpha Neck Harness is a one-of-a-kind neck harness. Not only can you perform the traditional neck extension, but the four D rings placed on each side of the neck harness allows you to train 4-way neck isometrics.
The versatility of the Alpha Neck Harness is unmatchable at this point. No other neck harness provides you with these features for the price.
Looking at the construction, the stitching is reinforced to hold the D rings in place and the foam padding underneath the webbing.
I’ve tried the heaviest resistance band (50 lbs) with the Alpha Neck Harness on my head with no issues at all.
The webbing that is used is 1” wide and very high quality which is very durable and won’t fray or start to come apart. The foam padding that is stitched under the webbing provides a soft, comfortable feeling when wearing the Alpha Neck Harness.
Many neck harnesses don’t have any padding leaving their rough webbing to rub against your face and ears while you nodding your head up and down. If you have sensitive ears from training often, this can be problematic.
The Alpha Neck Harness has solved this problem not only with the foam padding but also with the 'doggy ears' that hang below the cheeks with D rings for the chain to attach to.
It also doesn’t matter the size or shape of your head. Because the material is so soft, it molds around your head. Further, you can adjust the circumference with two Velcro straps at the back of the harness so you can make it as tight or loose as you desire.
There is even a padded chin strap to keep the Alpha Neck Harness securely on your head when performing heavy isometrics.
For only $59.99 ($54.00 with my 10% discount code below), you are getting an absolute steal. Especially if you consider other neck harnesses such as the Iron Mind head harness sells for $120 and only allows you to perform neck extensions.
However, to perform isometrics with the Alpha Neck Harness, you will need to invest in a resistance band as well. You can see what I recommend in my in-depth Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness Review.
Use code JDLACEY10 for a 10% discount
You will not find another neck harness like this. The versatility combined with the manufacturing quality and great price makes this neck harness the best on the market.
Best Neck Harness
Iron Neck alpha neck harness
Runner Up Best Neck Harness
Spud Inc Neck Harness
If you’re after a neck harness purely for loading the neck extension movement, then Spud Inc is your next best choice.
Within the strength training community, they have the best reputation for manufacturing straps material that is the most durable, highest quality, and softest feeling on the market.
They’ve taken their same manufacturing process of straps and carried it over to their neck harness creating a very comfortable piece of equipment. The soft webbing material feels smooth on the head and ears and doesn’t cause any unwanted discomfort.
While this material is soft and smooth, it doesn’t come apart or fray in any way. I’ve had my Spud Inc Neck Harness for close to 10 years without any issues of stitching coming off or fraying.
The circumference is also adjustable allowing you to fit it to any head size. The depth in which the neck harness sits is not adjustable however so if you have a lot of real estate between your ears and the top of your head, the neck harness may sit a little high.
I haven’t come across anyone having this issue yet so it would be a very rare problem to have and not something that should influence your purchasing decision.
The price comes in slightly cheaper than the Alpha Neck Harness at $49.99 without having to buy resistance bands as you can only perform neck extensions. So if you’re looking to only part with $50, then this fits nicely in the budget.
If you're a neck harness purist, this is your best option. With the strong reputation behind the brand and their high quality straps material being used for the harness, you won't have any durability issues.
Runner Up Best Neck Harness
Spud inc neck harness
What To Look For In A Neck Harness
Just search neck harness on Amazon and you’ll find a bunch. But sorting through what is actually worth the price can be difficult.
I can say that most of the neck harnesses you will find on Amazon are not worth it. They are not reputable brands and their price often reflects their quality.
For example, one neck harness states it supports only up to 100 lbs. While you’re not likely to be performing neck extensions with 100 lbs or greater, the two neck harnesses I’ve reviewed in this article can definitely handle more highlighting their superior build and quality.
So here are some points to look for in a neck harness.
Price, within the area of neck harnesses, seems to be a pretty good indication of their quality. Cheaper neck harnesses may not be able to handle heavier loads and if that’s the case, their durability will not be great either.
We all have different-shaped heads. The ability to adjust a neck harness with ease is important so it fits securely on your head.
There is nothing worse when training your neck than wearing something that is plain uncomfortable. Or painful. The right neck harness will have a softness to it that will mold to your head and not rough up your ears.
How To Use A Neck Harness
A neck harness is very easy to use. But there are certain ways to load it that can make your life easier especially once you start to use heavier loads. Here is a step-by-step guide to using your neck harness.
Place the neck harness and your plate(s) on a bench. Raising the plates and neck harness from the floor makes it easier to put on your head once it is loaded otherwise you are awkwardly bending over to fit it on.
Put the chain through your plate(s). Now, you can either:
1) Put the neck harness on your head and then connect the other end of the chain to the neck harness, or
2) Connect the other end of the chain to the neck harness first and then place the neck harness on your head.
Both of these options are performed while keeping the plate on the bench. Lifting the neck harness and plates to put on the neck harness becomes difficult as the load gets heavier.
Option one works for neck harnesses such as the Alpha Neck Harness as it has a D ring to attach to. The Spud Inc Neck Harness is a thicker piece of webbing that is more difficult to connect to.
For this reason, connecting the chain first and then putting the neck harness on while the plate is still lying on the bench is the best option.