There are three areas of training I see overlooked in 98% of exercise articles published. The three being grip strength, neck stability and spinal strength.
Neck and spinal injuries rank among the highest amount of injuries in most car accidents on the road. Since your neck supports your head and is also part of your upper spine, it is probably as valuable as any other part of your body when it comes to training.
Your spine supports your entire skeletal frame and serves as a conduit for the nerve system that runs alongside it. Without it, you’d be bedridden or in a wheelchair.
Your grip is as essential as your ability to push or pull your bodyweight.
Yet, most of us don’t train these. They are in fact our weakest links when it comes to overall fitness.
To ascertain your grip strength, grab two towels and loop them over an over head bar. Grip each towel with one hand and simply hang for as long as your can. Set the stopwatch on your phone and see how long you can hang with just your grip strength.
If you can do 45-60 seconds and you are over 200 lbs, that is a decent number. But you should train to do more time.
At the end of your upper body training days, start with 2-3 sets of hanging at least 30 seconds with a couple minutes rest in between sets. The first two weeks just work on being able to complete the time. From that point on, try to add 10 sec each week to your hang time. Over the course of a 3 or 4 month training block, you should see substantial increases in your grip strength. You can also just do your pulling routines like pulley rows and pull ups using the two towels instead of bars or other attachments.
For the neck, lay on your back with your head hanging off the edge of the bench. Slowly lower your head towards the ground, turn to your right, turn upward bringing your chin toward your sternum and turn again to your left and slowly returning to the first position. Do this cycle 5 to 8 times when starting out initially, slowly adding more reps (up to 15) and then adding a few more sets. YOU DO NOT NEED ADDED WEIGHTS!
Another move is to lay on the bench on either side and slowly lower your head towards to floor and then raise it the opposite direction. Do this motion slowly and with low reps until you strengthen your muscles after 2 to 3 weeks. The add more reps (up to 15) and add more sets as time progresses.
For your spine, bridges are key. Start with a basic beginning bridge with no added weights. Over the next couple of months you can add small amounts of weight. Slowly incorporate your neck into it by doing static holds for 5-10 seconds. After 6 months you should be able to hold for time as you increase your flexibility. Close to the end of 12 months you should be able to do a wrestlers full bridge for time.
Add these simple moves into your workout in order to give your body the full protection it needs.