The knockout is one of the most sought after finishes in mixed martial arts and something that fighters alike train to avoid.
Getting knocked out is a part of the game so don’t think it is something you can totally avoid. The good thing is you can train to lessen the severity of blows by strengthening you neck muscles.
Training your neck muscles will prevent the knockout in some instances, but more importantly it will make sure that you aren’t getting hurt all of the time. If you have a strong neck then when your opponent hits you it won’t catch you off guard as much and your brain won’t get rattled around inside your skull. A strong neck will also help you on the ground when a burly opponent is trying to choke you out. There are numerous reasons why you should be training your neck and there isn’t much you have to do to add it to a regular mixed martial arts workout.
Here are several drills that you can use in your training sessions or on your own. They are relatively easy to do and all you need is a partner and some minimal equipment.
Neck Strengthening w/ Towel: This exercise is excellent for every fighter or any other combat martial artist. If you only perform stand up then you already know that it will help prevent you from being knocked out. This drill will help to strengthen your neck muscles so that when a wrestler or grappler puts you in a submission hold you won’t tap out early and can work your way to better position.
To complete this neck strengthening drill all you need is a towel and a partner.
- First lie down on a bench (face up) long ways with your shoulders at the edge. Make sure your head hangs off of the bench.
- Now have your partner kneel down where your head is, take the towel and gently place it over your forehead.
- Tell them to get a good grip on the towel and give some resistance.
- Now you try to raise your head up as much as possible using only your neck muscles.
- Then return your head to the starting position.
In order for the muscles on the posterior side of the neck to be strengthened you will need to make sure to flip over on your stomach and repeat the process.
If you don’t have a partner then that is okay as well because many weight lifting and MMA companies sell an apparatus that attaches to your head so you can strap on weight plates. You will pretty much do the same thing as you did with a partner and the towel except instead you will be seated. It is important to start off using small weights or very little resistance (with the partner drill). If you try to go to fast and lift too much then you will wind up stressing out your neck muscles and be out of training for quite some time.
You can also use a resistance band to help you achieve the same results. Just attach one end to an anchor and the other to your head. Go through the process above and you will have significant results. Remember be patient with this training and you will see the gains you want and when you spar it will be evident to everyone that you have an “iron chin.”