Scott Bolan and Mike Gillette contend that many martial artists do not pay enough attention to the neck as a vital target. This may be due to its status as a forbidden zone in traditional martial arts training and martial arts competitions. However, if one considers how the neck is constructed and what it houses, it certainly becomes an attractive target in real-world street-fighting situations. Therefore, Mike Gillette practices neck-strengthening exercises to build up the musculature supporting his head. He suggests that neck-strengthening exercises increase structural integrity during self-defense moves and help increase resistance to choke pressure.

NECK-STRENGTHENING EXERCISES VIDEO Mike Gillette Explains the Neck's Structure and Its Susceptibility to Injury in Martial Arts and Self-Defense Training

"The neck is an interesting piece of architecture because it is the pathway for some of the most aspects of the body: the central nervous system, all of your airway, your internal plumbing as far as your circulatory system is concerned," Mike Gillette says. "But interestingly, it is all built around one of the most structurally weak parts of the body." Gillette's breakdown of why neck-strengthening exercises are an important part of martial arts injury prevention and street-fighting preparation considers:
  • impact injuries from falling to -- or being thrown to -- the ground
  • tissue compression during a choke attack
The neck-strengthening exercises that Gillette recommends include flexion, extension and rotation. He says that these movement patterns need to be addressed together to ensure balanced development.

NECK-STRENGTHENING EXERCISES VIDEO Mike Gillette Demonstrates Neck Exercises for Strengthening Its Structure and Preventing Injury During Martial Arts Training or Self-Defense Techniques

"The nice thing about working on neck strength," Gillette says, "is you develop strength in this area pretty quickly. You'll experience pretty immediate feedback, which is [good for motivation]." The martial arts conditioning expert warns against movements during neck-strengthening exercises that are too fast or jerky, as this would be in stark contrast to the goal of injury prevention. "Notice that I'm not going quickly, I'm not snapping," he says during a demonstration of lateral flexion. "These movements are all very smooth. They have to be smooth, they have to be controlled because [the neck] is a very easy area to injure." Gillette's final word regarding this workout routine? "All of these [moves] are very simple," he says. "Don't over-think them. Don't try to make them more complicated than they are. You need to work on all [the] planes of motion to have a sufficient balance of musculature. ... If you're not building up the flexion muscles, if you're not building both sides of your neck, you're setting yourself up for injury -- and that's the opposite of what we want to accomplish here." For more information about Scott Bolan and Mike Gillette's training programs and products, visit martialpowersecrets.com and devastatingfighting.com.
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