Neck Develop Progressions from 6th Grade to 12th

describe the image

6th grade students doing 'dynamic tension' neck flexion

Laying out a regime for an entire athletic department requires much thought and anaylsis. Doug Scott, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Pingry School, designs his strength training program to enhance performance, but first and foremost to protect the athlete.  Below Doug shares his thought process in examining and implementing exercise throughout the Pingry School's athletic department.  

 Neck Progression Pingry School

Teaching athletes the importance of developing neck strength should be the goal of every strength coach.  In order to effectively teach young athletes, it is important to have a plan of when to introduce new movements as to insure mastery, this is often referred to as “movement progression.”  At the Pingry School we start training the neck muscles as a part of Physical Education class in the sixth grade and continue all the way through high school.  Listed below are how we teach neck strength from 6th-12th grade.

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade



Teach neck flexion and extension while standing


Dynamic Tension exercises (Front, Back, and Sides)














Dynamic Tension (F,B,S) 60 seconds each


Introduce Neck Machine


Flexion x 12

Extension x 12

(fixed weights)


Shrugs 2 x 12

Dynamic Tension (F,B,S)

60 seconds each


Neck Machine


Flexion (progressive)

Extension (Progressive)


Introduce sides x 12


Introduce 1 arm shrugs

Dynamic Tension (F,B,S) are used as part of warm up for sports


Neck machine

Flexion, Extension, Sides (progressive)


2 arm shrugs and 1 arm shrugs


introduce manual resistance

Dynamic Tension (F,B,S) are used as part of warm up for sports


Neck Machine Flexion, Extenson, Sides (progressive)


Introduce neck machine

Protrusion, Cranial Flexion, Cranial Extension


Manual Resistance



In the 6th grade the students perform neck movements without resistance. These are the movements that the students will eventually being doing on neck machines. The object is not only to to teach the motions but for each athlete to understand that it is important to train the entire system. We use the term 'dynamic tension' to describe moving the head and neck while contracting the muscular. We teach pausing at the top of the movement for a full second contraction before returning to the starting position for each rep that is done.

In the 7th and 8th grade dynamic tension is done more aggressively for 60 seconds in each movement. The students are also introduced to the Pendulum Neck Machine with a fixed weight for flexion and extension 12 reps.  Lateral side flexion is added in 8th grade. The weight is not done progressively nor is it heavy.

Beginning in 9th grade the students begin progressive resistance exercise in all movements and they work to Get Strong!

Neck strength women