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Old 05-14-2008, 08:48 PM   #1
Matthew Estes
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Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Hello everybody,


My question pertains specifically to neck health in high impact sports like football or rugby. CrossFit, as far as I have seen, has not dealt with this issue (and there is no reason it should).

I, however, am curious. What are the most effective exercises to prepare for serious impact to the head?

-Isometric neck exercises? Using hands? A wall? Neck bridges?

-Full contraction and extension? Neck "sit-ups"?

-What plains of movement should be worked? Rotational? Front to back? Side to side? All of the above? How?

I am specifically curious as to what is best in order to avoid injury.


Thanks,
Matt
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:21 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Avoid rotational. Front, back, and sides are enough.

Neck bridges are fine although you may also want to invest in a head harness.

I bet some wrestlers/MMA/Rugby people will chime in so listen to them.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:28 PM   #3
Emil Berengut
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Hey Matthew, I was just thinking about this question. I think that an overall conditioning program may decrease the severity of cervical trauma and possibly concussion, BUT. There are a couple of factors involved: 1. Speed-this is the most difficult factor to reproduce in a true function sense. The speed of a football injury has to be over 30-40 mph, same for a punch or even a car whiplash. To train for that, one would have to theoretically condition their cervical musculature to respond to these speeds. 2. Direction-mechanically, the cervical structures are most stressed in extension and rotation, however an injury can happen in any direction. Again, the challenge is to train the muscles to respond to a sudden stress in any direction and most importantly deccelerate the head.3. awareness-overall, athletes do pretty well in responding to these sudden stresses, that's why the rate of extreme injuries is relatively low, considering the number of players in all contact sports. however this is due to being aware of the impending stress and bracing for it. That's one reason why boxers can punch each other for an hour without a KO. Yet, as Jeff Jimmo once pointed out, it's the punch you don't see that knocks you out. So, I think that the most effective training strategy is to learn to be aware of the potential stress. That paired with eccentric training for cervical flexors at relatively high speeds in random directions can potentially help to prevent or minimize the injury.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:14 PM   #4
Matthew Estes
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

"That paired with eccentric training for cervical flexors at relatively high speeds in random directions can potentially help to prevent or minimize the injury."


How could I achieve this?? Run into *****? Seriously, though.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:20 PM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Yeah.. high speed with anything neck is not such a good idea IMO.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:24 PM   #6
Nick Gagnon
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Neck bridges of all variations will build a very strong neck, especially if you do some back bridges holding a sandbag or a weight plate, or even a person. Try holding a bridge in different positions for time. Just be really careful especially if you have never done anything like that before.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:15 AM   #7
Emil Berengut
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Here's what I said "Speed-this is the most difficult factor to reproduce in a true function sense. " I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this. One idea-you can have a partner apply rhythmic stabilization, with slowly progressing speeds. Two, use one of those neck helmets and perform sport specific drills. Your neck will have to work to decelerate, especially with a long moment arm. Three, there are videos online of Fedor Emelianenko performing some neck rolling bridging in various directions. three things to consider-not one of these is likely to reproduce the actual speeds. THese are very very advanced exercises that can easily result in an injury, so you must be careful and use extreme caution. Finally, training in awareness of the impending impact is probably a lot more safe and productive in the long run.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:55 AM   #8
Skylar Cook
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Re: Neck Health In High Impact Sports

Get some of these http://www.amazon.com/Big-Time-Toys-.../dp/B00004YUYS
(wfs)

and tell your friends to go to town.
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