We elevate our shoulders and lower our chin to protect our head and cervical spine from being thrust backwards prior to a conceived stressor. When we strength train on a neck machine during the lowering phase we tend to shrug our shoulders to care for ourselves from fatiguing neck muscles and a returning weighted face pad.
We Tend to Shrug During Neck Flexion
When initiating a repetition we typically elevate the shoulders as the head moves forward and retain the elevated position in case the weight returns quickly - a natural mental response. By engaging the traps it is also much easier to move the resistance as the trapezius muscles provide additional leverage. All of this is very normal, but not in the best interest of maximally developing the neck.
Using the Traps to Initiate Neck Flexion
The Traps Elevated - Expecting the Weight to Return to the Starting Position
The Pendulum 4 and 5-Way Neck Machines are manufactured with range limiters and positioned handles to address function of movement under the stress of exercise. Setting the range limiter to hole 4 or greater will stop the face pad at a range whereby the athlete feels secure and is less likely to shrug. When the athlete is sufficiently strong and neurally adept he or she will feel comfortable and range of motion can be increased.
Keeping the Traps out of Neck Flexion
Once the user is familiar with the exercise movement and is getting strong the lifter should no longer hold the front handles and utilize the handle located directly behind his or her back. This takes the traps out of the exercise and the neck will Get extremely Strong.
Using the Reverse Grip to Train Neck Flexion