Ditka’s Neck Training

Posted on Monday, April 10th, 2017 by John Wood
It is important for football players to increase their neck strength in order to be better prepared to play the game. This was a fact not lot on “Da Bears” as shown by this rare training camp shot. Check out the guys bridging in the background, and yes, that’s Mike Ditka himself doing a headstand. Look closely and you’ll see that his whistle has fallen down around his face. If you have no other equipment available, a simple headstand like this can be an excellent method for building neck strength.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Tyson’s Neck

Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 by John Wood
Tyson’s Neck

Above you’ll see an iconic photo for several reasons:

1.) There is no question who is is, even when seen from the back, which I find pretty awesome.

2.) Mr. Tyson made many bad decisions in his life, but one of the good ones was to make a point to build a big, strong neck. Genetics undoubtedly DID have a had in it, but he also did specific training, as you’ll see in the rare video clip below. Obviously this is pretty important if your occupation is boxing (or any other full-contact sport.)

3. This photograph was pinned to the bulletin board of my home weightroom as I was growing up. Aside from the many benefits that neck training brings to any high school football player (especially one with a long neck, like I have) an aspect that should not be overlooked is that “image” is pretty important to young folks, and this photo “got over” the idea that a bigger neck was a relatively easy way to “look strong,” ideally for the purpose of picking up girls –Inspiration (and motivation) often comes from unusual sources. Whether or not this was the intended result is unclear, but I certainly benefited greatly onfield and off in either case.

Interestingly, I recently came across this footage of the great modern boxer Anthony Joshua doing some excellent bridging — this is impressive, someone clearly showed him how to do it right.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

“Ya Gotta Use Your Head!”

Posted on Monday, August 22nd, 2016 by John Wood

Steve Jeck is fond of saying that “if you want to be a great stone lifter then ya gotta use your head.” Here, he shows what he means — at least in one sense. I don’t know the weight of that particular stone but it sure doesn’t look light.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Albert Maes’ Strong Neck

Posted on Saturday, August 13th, 2016 by John Wood

Albert Maes, Belgian weightlifter and strongman shows his stuff with this VERY impressive feat: a combination of handbalancing and platform lifting. Considering that’s got to be close to half a ton, being supported, that’s a pretty strong neck.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Mike Dayton Holds Back a Hot Rod

Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 by John Wood
“Think of the outcome you want and firmly believe in your ability to achieve it.”

Strongman/Bodybuilder Mike Dayton holds back a Hot Rod for the “That’s Incredible!” TV show. He could also break a regulation pair of handcuffs, broke baseball bats over his leg, bent coins and performed The Hangman’s Drop. Dayton was big on the power of the mind and attributed this training to his ability to perform all of these amazing feats. He even put out a course on the subject back in the 1970’s entitled “Chi Mind Control” (which is all but impossible to find.)

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Nautilus Rotary Neck Machine

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016 by John Wood

The Nautilus Rotary Neck Machine contains no weight stack, no built in source of resistance of any kind … instead, the resistance is provided by the user through the use of hand levers that enable you to exactly control the resistance during both the positive and negative parts of the exercise. There aren’t many Rotary Neck Machines around but we happen to have one in our private gym and when used correctly, it is excellent. We may do a feature on it at some point.

The Wrestler’s Bridge 2

Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 by John Wood
The wrestler’s bridge is a fantastic exercise for building neck size and strength and here’s a good look at why it is so named and practiced by grapplers. In a match, the neck can act as an extra ‘limb’ which, if strong enough, can keep the shoulders off the mat. Shown here is a Greco-Roman featherweight class match from the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics with Swedish wrestler Ewald Persson (bridging) vs. Norwegian champion Ragnvald Gullaksen. This match ended in a decision after 59 minutes, with Gullaksen taking the win.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Iron Neck of Charles Highfield

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2015 by John Wood

We have featured young Charles Highfield before but here he is one more time with an even more remarkable feat: here the Coventry lad, only 14 years old at the time, is supporting the full weight of his father on his throat! ~ I’m certainly impressed.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Farmer Burns on the Wrestler’s Bridge

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 by John Wood
“I wish to impress upon all my students the great value of physical training connected with the bridge exercise. I want you to practice bridging every day, for you can find nothing that will develop the neck and back muscles to such an extent as bridging will do.

You already realize the importance of a very strong neck and it is entirely up to you to have a wonderful neck or not, depending entirely on the amount of study, and time of practice that you give the subject. A strong, well-developed neck is not only valuable to health and your personal athletic appearance, but important in wrestling as well.”

~ Farmer Burns, 1912

Sargent’s Head Lifting Machine

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 by John Wood
The Head Lifting Machine
When Dudley Allen Sargent became the physical director of Harvard University’s famed Hemenway Gymnasium, he wanted to make sure the student body was as well-rounded as possible in their development.

Henceforth, Sargent devised several unique “machines” which could be used to fill in the gaps in areas that the conventional equipment of the day could not address (equally true today and the very same rational justification for any device which solves a problem or provides an advantage.)

One of the more interesting examples can be seen at the right, this “head lifting” machine offered a method for strengthening the neck and upper-back in a progressive and systematic manner. This was the first dedicated machine to building neck strength ever created, clearly it was under stood that this was an important area.

Neck training is, of course, down-played or ignored in many modern programs which is a real shame since it is certainly no less important today than it was back then.