Neck Workout At Home With No Equipment

February 24, 2021

Strengthening your neck is one of the most important factors for reducing the risk of concussions, improving posture, and a strong neck could potentially save your life in a bad accident.

Within combat sports, training your neck is a must due to the daily stress being placed on it whether that’s holding positions, being squeezed, or resisting head movement when being punched.

So, having no gym access or equipment at home is not an excuse to skip your neck training at home!

Without further or do, here are my top neck exercises you can perform at home with no equipment.

The only thing you will need in this exercise series and workout is a towel that everyone will have lying around at home. A hand towel or gym towel is the perfect size for these exercises.

If you don’t have a towel for whatever reason, you can use your hands to apply pressure to your head. If you have some equipment at home you can also use an elastic strength band.

While all of these exercises can be performed by yourself, if you have a partner, these exercises can be taken to the next level.

Towel 4-Way Neck Isometric

Towel Neck Lateral ISO
Towel Neck Flexion Isometric

This exercise you can perform standing or seated. I personally prefer to perform these standing. Simply place the towel around your head and hold both ends of the towel together in your hand. This will also be a test of your grip strength.

Now pull the towel with your hand so your head and neck have to resist the movement. Hold these anywhere from 6 seconds all the way to 30+ seconds depending on the tension you use.

Towel Neck Flexion

Towel Neck Flexion Bottom
Neck Flexion Top

These are best performed lying down with your head off of a bench. However, this article is about training your neck at home without equipment! So, you can use your couch or your bed.

Use exactly the same towel setup as the 4-way isometric above with the towel around your head except you’ll use both hands to hold each end.

Apply tension to the towel as you nod your head back and tucking your chin to your chest. Go easy on this when you first start.

Towel Neck Lateral Flexion

Lying down on your bed or couch on your side, have your head hang off of the edge. With the towel around your head, you’ll hold both ends together with your hand that is on top. The arm that is below your body will support your body weight.

Apply tension with the towel and slowly move your ears to your shoulders.

Towel Neck Extension

Towel Neck Extension Bottom
Towel Neck Extension Top

This is performed in exactly the same way as the neck flexion exercise but you will be face down this time. For balance, you may want to hold the towel with one hand and have the other on the floor or you can hold the towel with both hands.

You’ll be stronger in this movement than the other neck flexion exercises. Simply nod your head in an up and down fashion.

Front Neck Bridge

Front Neck Bridge

This is the safest version of the neck bridge. If you’ve read any of my previous neck articles, you can see why I don’t recommend neck bridges. The exception here is for wrestlers who need to perform a neck bridge during competition when pinned on their back.

However, the front neck bridge can be used as a controlled isometric exercise for the neck with some compression.

Place a soft cushion under your head as it can be painful bridging on your head even on a soft carpet. Use your hands in the beginning to support some of your body weight so it’s not all placed on your head.

Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.

Supine Neck Rotation

This is a rotational exercise that is performed without any extra load. It just uses gravity and the weight of your head. So, the bigger your brain, the harder this exercise will be!

Lying on your back with your head off of your bed or couch, keep your head and neck in a neutral position. This will be tougher than you think.

Slowly turn your head to the left and right while maintaining this neutral position. Perform 20-30 repetitions.

Neck Workout At Home

Here is how you can piece these together into a neck workout you can perform at home.

Example Session 1

Exercise

Set/REp

A1) Long Duration Towel 4-Way Neck Isometric

2-3 x 30 sec/side (moderate tension)

B1) Towel Neck Flexion

2-3 x 10-20 reps (moderate tension)

C1) Towel Neck Extension

2-3 x 10-20 reps (moderate tension)

Example Session 2

Exercise

Set/REp

A1) Towel 4-Way Neck Isometric

2-3 x 6-10 sec/side (maximum tension)

B1) Towel Neck Lateral Flexion

 2-3 x 10-20 (moderate tension)

C1) Neck Rotation

2-3 x 20-30

Example Session 3

Exercise

Set/REp

A1) Towel Neck Flexion

2-3 x 10-20 reps (moderate tension)

B1) Towel Neck Extension

2-3 x 10-20 reps (moderate tension)

C1) Towel Neck Lateral Flexion

2-3 x 10-20 (moderate tension)

D1) Front Neck Bridge

2-3 x 30-60 sec

If you are after some more variety in your neck workout from home, then check out my neck training program with more equipment. It provides a range of different exercises and a training program using various neck workout equipment.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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