Needless to say, football is an extremely physical game. NFL players play 20 games each year (pre-season and season), plus playoff games if they're lucky. This adds up to around 1,200 minutes of brutal contact. To stay healthy throughout each grueling season, you need to make neck and shoulder workouts a regular part of your training. (Learn about the keys to football training.)
Strong neck and shoulders play important roles in preventing injury from contact. If a receiver comes across the field and gets laid out, strong neck muscles are the only thing preventing a neck injury or even a concussion. On the opposite end, the player making the tackle needs to have strong shoulders to be able to withstand the force of the hit.
Below is a neck and shoulder program designed for football players. Use a neck machine if one is available. If not, a partner providing manual resistance will suffice. Remember that injury prevention is the primary goal of strength training.
Football Neck Workout
Neck Flexion - 2x10
- Flex neck forward against resistance
Neck Extension - 2x10
- Extend neck backward against resistance
Neck Lateral Extension - 2x10 each way
- Extend neck sideways against resistance
Football Shoulder Workout
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 2x15
- Dumbbell Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise - 2x15
- Dumbbell Upright Row - 2x15
- Dumbbell Single-Arm Shrug - 2x10 each arm
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