Is the hype real? The Iron Neck has had a lot of press recently with the likes of Joe Rogan mentioning how much he loves the device. The Neck Flex on the other hand has flown under the radar.
It looks just like a neck harness but has silver rings on each side so you can load the neck isometrically with plenty of band tension which a traditional neck harness cannot.
Both seem like great neck training devices. However, which one is better for training the neck?
Iron Neck vs Neck Flex
I’ve decided to compare each piece of equipment on six basic criteria. I feel these are the most important aspects to consider when looking to buy neck equipment.
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Durability & Quality of Build
The Iron Neck is made out of hard ABS plastic that can take a serious beating that you’d expect in a gym or home gym setting. I’ve bumped my Iron Neck many times without a dent in site.
It is a solid neck training device with no fragile pieces. I’ve had my Iron Neck since 2018 and have travelled around the world with it with no pieces breaking or bending. Since then, they have released the 3rd generation making it lighter, smaller, and smoother to use.
You can see the stark size difference in the picture below with the Iron Neck 3.0 Pro on the right.
The Iron Neck isn’t just glued together where it can fall apart over time. Rather, it has the main pieces screwed into place so everything fits tight and securely.
The Neck Flex is also very durable and is made from high quality nylon strapping. The strapping can handle any loading you put onto it.
Whether that’s heavy banded isometrics or rotational isometrics, these nylon straps won’t show any signs of wear and tear. Each silver attachment is double stitched into the Neck Flex so you won’t pull these out even with a lot of band tension.
Both devices get a 5 star rating for their durability and build quality. Safe to say, this is a one time purchase as you will not need to replace either piece of equipment.
This is where I believe the Iron Neck beats out the Neck Flex by a long way. The versatility of the Iron Neck is unmatchable. From performing basic isometrics, to complex figure 8 movements, you can do it all.
The 360° halo design is what provides this versatility. It means you can train your neck in every single direction strengthening your neck for whatever may come at it from punches to awkward chokes.
Movements aren’t the only way the Iron Neck is versatile. The other versatility function is the loading. You can increase loading either through band tension OR through the friction dial.
Adding band tension will place greater stress on the neck to hold the isometric contraction while increasing the friction dial will place greater stress on rotational strength of the neck.
Isometrics, rotations, and protractions/retractions are the Iron Neck bread and butter movements. The only movements you may struggle to perform with the Iron Neck are neck flexion, extension, and lateral flexion.
However, even with the Neck Flex you will struggle to perform some of these. The Neck Flex is built to load heavy isometrics. That is the Neck Flex’s primary function and it does it very well.
You can also load rotational isometrics by feeding the band through the silver rings to resist rotation. If you want to be able to perform plate loaded neck extensions like a neck harness, you will need to upgrade to the MMB Pro Neck Flex series as it has been designed to be dual functioned.
Did you know you can buy the exact same device as the MMB Pro from Iron Neck for half the price?
Both devices require attaching bands to an anchor whether that be to a door or squat rack. The Iron Neck provides more options here with three different attachments based on where you want to attach your anchor.
There are two door anchors, one large and one wedge, and one squat rack anchor to act as a loop. The Neck Flex only has a door anchor that acts as a loop.
The Iron Neck takes this out with ease. While the Neck Flex can be used to perform every isometric imaginable, the Iron Neck does all of that and more with even more attachments and loading options.
Both neck training devices can be adjusted to fit any sized head. The Iron Neck as a few different adjustability options. The new models now have three different foam pads that you can choose from.
Each foam pad changes the circumference of the Iron Neck and can fit even the smallest or largest of heads.
For extra measure, there is an air pump that pumps a small air sack at the back of the Iron Neck so it fits firmly on your head regardless of the movement you perform.
Thirdly, there is a chin strap which keeps the Iron Neck secure on your head when performing exercises with the band pulling behind you.
Lastly, there is a Velcro strap at the top that lets you change the depth of where the Iron Neck sits in relation to your skull. I find it fits best with a little more space so the back fits under the bony protrusion at the back of my head and the front sits in the middle of my forehead.
The Neck Flex simply fits over your head like a skull cap. The circumference can be adjusted to be loosened or tightened depending on the shape of your head.
Further, it has a chin strap to keep the Neck Flex firmly in place when performing any band resisted movements that can be adjusted.
I will also add that the setup of the Iron Neck is much easier and less time consuming than the Neck Flex.
Once you anchor the band and attach it to the Iron Neck, you can perform all movements without having to make any more changes.
With the Neck Flex, you need to unclip the band every time you want to change sides or change exercises.
The Iron Neck has four different adjustability options so it can fit to any head size. As the Neck Flex folds around the head, it doesn't need as many adjustability options. However, it lacks in its ease of use having to constantly clip and un-clip bands.
The Iron Neck has been known to be a little uncomfortable especially with new users. As you get used to wearing it, this discomfort tends to subside. With the newer models, the foam pad makes it much more comfortable on the forehead as the older model only had the harder rubber padding.
I myself don’t mind the rubber padding at the front. Maybe I just have a dense forehead.
The Iron Neck does provide a skull cap that you can wear when using the Iron Neck which ups the comfort level 10x compared to not wearing it at all. However, if you’re in a hot climate, the discomfort from sweating wearing a warm hat isn’t so nice.
The Neck Flex is much more comfortable. It folds around your head with the nylon straps. The inside has neoprene padding which means the nylon straps aren’t scratching your head while you train your neck.
Rather, you have soft material against your head making your neck training more comfortable.
For overall comfort, the Neck Flex is more comfortable. It's light nylon straps and neoprene inner lining can't be matched. However, with the improvements Iron Neck has made, the device is much more comfortable than it used to be.
If you compare the movements that both the Iron Neck and Neck Flex can support, they are both equally effective. Both are loaded with band tension and can be done heavily if needed and comfortably.
However, if we are talking about effectiveness for training the neck holistically for combat, collision, and contact sports, or even pain relief, the Iron Neck is levels above the Neck Flex.
The Iron Neck allows you to train all 360° range of motion of the neck as well as the rotational element with rotational loading.
Due to the Iron Necks versatility, the effectiveness for training the neck is unparalleled. That doesn't discount the effectiveness of what the Neck Flex does however. The Iron Neck can just do the same and more.
I use the term value here instead of price. It’s no secret the Iron Neck is expensive. The Iron Neck Pro can set you back close to $600 whereas the Neck Flex is only $100.
However, if we refer to each device by value rather than price, the Iron Neck is better value.
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You can perform more movements and strengthen your neck in ranges of motion you can’t with the Neck Flex.
Further, Iron Neck has their own version which is half the price that also allows dual plate and band loading.
While the Neck Flex is great for what it does, the Iron Neck can do the same and more. If you are serious about protecting your neck and relieving neck pain, then the Iron Neck is a no brainer.
Again, value is not based on price. But what you get with the neck training device. While the Neck Flex is much cheaper, you just don't have the versatility the Iron Neck offers from loading to anchor points.
You can see my detailed model comparison so you know which model is right for you.
And The Winner Is..
The Iron neck