Neck Injury Prevention: Rugby Proof

Welcome to the latest edition of the Rugby Proof Renegade series. This is a series of pre-habilitation programs aimed at injury reduction for the rugby athlete.

Neck strengthening has been a common part of training programs, especially for front 5 forwards for some time now. Sometimes it has been avoided by coaches due to some of the perceived risk but like in most cases there are for more exercises done poorly than there are poor or dangerous exercises. What we will present to you during this block are a series of our go to neck exercises focusing on both mobility and strength. This will be partnered with a neural mobility drills for the upper limb and neck. 

People can be inappropriately concerned about training the neck due to it’s close relationship with the spinal chord and the nervous system but at its essence the neck is just another series of joints that is protected and controlled by a series of ligaments, muscles and their tendons and nerves and a blood supply.

Research has shown promising results that increased neck strength can be preventative in concussion. Especially the indirect, ‘whiplash’ type mechanisms when looses control of his head when falling to the ground at speed. For prevention or reduction of concussion the concept of elastic strength is especially important for the neck. It needs both mobility and stability in equal measure.

So why is the neck so important. The average human head weighs around 5kg or 8% of your total body weight. It sits on top of a narrow column of bone and is the only part of the spine that isn’t encased and protected by a large cavity of the body. Due to it’s weight and isolated and unsupported position it is susceptible to high gravitational forces. The neck is made up of 8 vertebrae that are number C1-C8, C1 at the top articulating with the skull and C8 at the bottom at the junction between the neck and the thoracic spine in the thorax. There are a large number of ligaments and muscles that support the neck.

We’ve created a selection of example exercises you can use to mobilise and strengthen the neck. All of these exercises feature in our on-line program and are available as part of a structured program in our members area. Be sure to check out our subscription options on the site.

**Please be cautious if you are suffering neck pain – please consult a chartered physiotherapist or sports physician prior to performing any exercises shown on our website** 


We’ve provided a few demaonstrations of exercises for you here but if you want to see our full range of neck corrective exercises you can go and check out our complete Neck Injury Prevention playlist on YouTube. Remember to subscribe so you can stay up to date on all of our video content!

Neck Mobility

Neck Isometrics

Reactive Neck Isometrics

Bench Neck Isometrics

Neck Strength Swiss Ball Flyes

Partner Neck Stability Series

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