Keep Your Neck & Shoulders Healthy With This Set of Exercises

Maintaining shoulder/neck health is of ultimate importance for the grappling population. In my experience, this has been the area of my body that takes the most “beating” in the day-to-day grind of training.

Why Is This Important for Grapplers

There’s a tremendous amount of compression to the neck and shoulders in even some of the “least” intense grappling positions.

I seek to share some exercises that create stability in this area. Secondly, the aim is to help create proper coordinated movement and patterns of your neck/shoulder complex to protect and optimize your body for training/competition.

We will hit a wide range of movements and training components in just a few exercises, making them easy to plug into your pre-training or post-training routine.

Exercise #1

This first one targets stability and mobility of the shoulders. You’ll be amazed at how much activation you feel.

Exercise #2

This series targets the rotator cuff. Even if you don’t have rotator cuff issues, this will really “round out” the functioning of the joint and make it move more smoothly and efficiently.

Exercise #3

This one is a basic neck isometric contraction to stabilize and position the this area correctly.

Exercise #4

This last one works elbow extension, the rotational component of the thoracic spine, and also works wonders at opening up the neck.

Final Considerations

Add these to your pre/post-training routine or in a therapeutic rehab context throughout your day. Your neck and shoulder complex may be a weakness to start, but by putting a concerted effort into this area, it can quite quickly become a strength.

I can personally attest to this statement as I had my first “stinger” about a year ago. And now my game is built heavily around playing out of the front headlock!

An upcoming article will go hand-in-hand with this one nicely. I’ll share some exercises you can use to put muscle mass on your back and shoulders. The aim is to “protect” this area from the incessant pounding of grappling and make this an area of strength for you!

I cover more performance training tidbits at that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats!


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