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The Workshop

The Head/Neck/Trap Workshop


Eastern Michigan University runs a comprehensive Strength and Conditioning program that thoroughly readies their athletes for sport. Head Strength Coach Blair Wagner’s assistant Gregory Pyszczynski presents the first of a series of Head/Neck/Trap Workshops that prepare athletes for the rigors of the game.

As a strength and conditioning coach we have the responsibility to prepare our athletes for the demands and rigors of their sport. Therefore if you are willing to spend countless time developing an athlete’s squat, bench, or clean, you better be willing to develop what I would argue is the most important area of an athlete, their head, neck, and traps. Regardless of whether or not they are participating in contact or non-contact sport the research is out there proving the benefits of developing and strengthening this area!

Neck machines are the ultimate platform for developing this structure as they allow for a safe and effective way to progressively overload the area being developed. Before having the pleasure of Neck Machines here at Eastern Michigan we were forced to get very creative with our head, neck, and trap development. Recently after a weekend of communicating with a couple of institutions it is ever more apparent that we need to provide coaches and schools with exercises that will allow them to train the head, neck, and traps if they are unable to utilize Neck Machines. Therefore this Head/Neck/Trap Shop is geared towards institutions with minimal and or no equipment.

Head/Neck/Trap Shop:

Each group of movements will be performed in a circuit style moving from one exercise to the next until the round is over. Each round is 5 minutes with a 20s period to move to the next set of movements. There will be 3 rounds and 6 total movements. The recommended repetitions will be utilized for this training session. We can then make simple modifications in order to continue to utilize this Head/Neck/Trap Shop for future sessions.

A1 – Self-Serve Flexion xMR’s (This athlete will not stop until the athlete he is working with in A2 tags him to rotate, this is referred to as Tag Team Set Up)

The key to all self-serve movements is to stay BRACED through the entire ROM. We coach our athletes to act as if someone were trying to choke them and flex all the musculature as hard as possible. For Flexion we will have our heads hang off the bench maintaining a neutral head position and then bring the chin to the chest, at this point we want to act as if there is a tennis ball on our chest and drive our chin through it.

Tempo: 2/1/3

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

A2 – DB Shrug to Lateral Raise x12

(Shrug, maintain the shrug while performing the lateral raise from side to parallel, once the DB’s have come back to the side we can let the shrug down and then perform the next rep)

Tempo: 1/1/1

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

B1 – Self-Serve Extension xMR’s (Same guidelines as A1 – Self-Serve Flexion)

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

B2 – BB Shrug (Double Overhand) 5x:5sx3 (This means you will perform a 5s Iso shrug followed by 3 dynamic reps, this equals 1 rep, you will do a total of 5 reps before tagging your partner at Self-Serve Extension)

Neck Exercise

C1 – Manual Resistance Nod x6-10 (The reps will vary based on the resistance given) Refer to previous blogs for Manual Rep Rules/Guidelines. For the Nod we want to simply bring the chin to the chest and keep the neck out of it this movement. The Nod is geared to train the musculature of the head.

Neck Exercise

C2 – Upright Row to Shrug x12.  Use a heavy duty band. As the athlete rows the weight vertically keep the elbows high and have them pull their hands apart at the top and shrug as hard as possible.

Tempo: 1/3/1

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

Neck Exercise

*We train the musculature of the head/neck/traps for strength, endurance, hypertrophy, and as always taking into account the appropriate range of motion for each movement to Get Strong.


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