Best Neck Harness (2023) – Rid Pencil Neck Syndrome

January 24, 2023

You’ll often find the lonely neck harness in the box of attachments at your local gym. Covered in dust in the corner and neglected. Just like the neck muscles. Does anyone train neck anymore? A thick neck looks powerful and will do wonders for your physique.

I’m going to help you find the best neck harness to rid yourself of pencil neck syndrome to create a powerful physique.

Header
Iron Neck Alpha Plus Neck Harness

Best Neck Harness

Spud Inc Neck Harness

Runner Up Best Neck Harness

Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness

Best Budget Neck Harness

Product

Material

Extra Thick Nylon

Spud Inc Webbing

Nylon

Head Strap

Adjustable Top Head Strap

No

No

D-Rings

Yes

No

Yes

Price

Iron Neck Alpha Plus Best Neck Harness

Traditional neck harnesses allow one or two movements: neck extension and flexion. But Iron Neck has taken this and added several upgrades to turn your neck harness into a full-blown neck training machine.

The neck harness has four D-rings allowing you to perform 4-way resistance band isometrics and band rotations for the neck for overall neck strength and size development. Traditional neck harnesses won’t let you do this and are limited in exercise selection.

The build quality is the best I’ve felt, seen, and used among neck harnesses. The nylon is thick, and the stitching is embedded within it so it won't unravel. The D-rings are held in place with this stitching, and I've tried to pull the D-ring out, but there is no way it moves.

It's also comfortable, which is hard to say about other neck harnesses. 

Iron Neck Alpha Plus Neck Harness uses a honeycomb neoprene on the inside, so it feels like wearing a hat. It's soft against the ears and face, which is a bonus if you've experienced rough neck harnesses.

One of the frustrating factors of traditional neck harnesses is the head straps aren't adjustable. They can be too wide around your head or too deep, covering your eyes. The Alpha Plus Harness has adjustable head straps to change the circumference and depth of the harness to fit any head size.

Finally, instead of using a chain to hang plates, you have a nylon tether so the plates always sit in the middle and not skew against chain links. You can read a more in-depth breakdown with more pictures in my Iron Neck Alpha Plus Neck Harness review.

Pros

  • Added D-rings, so you have more exercise versatility than a neck extension.
  • Thick nylon padded with honeycomb neoprene feels soft when wearing it.
  • Nylon tether to hang plates from your neck, so the plates are always centered.
  • Adjustable head straps to fit any head size.

Cons

  • Not your budget neck harness, but it is a significant upgrade from your traditional neck harness.
Use code "LBEB" for 10% OFF any Iron Neck order

Best Neck Harness - Iron Neck Alpha Plus Neck Harness

Runner Up Best Neck Harness

Spud Inc Neck Harness

Spud Inc Neck Harness Runner Up

If you're looking for a traditional neck harness to add to your collection for loading the back of your neck, the Spud Inc Neck Harness is a great choice. It has severe limitations against the Iron Neck Alpha Plus Harness, but it does the job it's intended to do.

It's made from Spud Inc's signature webbing they use in all their products, from straps to handles. It's a soft and flexible material, so it's not as stiff on your head. Even though it is soft, it still rubs the ears and can feel rough when nodding your head as the doggy ears sway from front to back.

You can adjust the circumference of the neck harness with the Velcro strap at the back to fit any size head. It does not have a top strap, so if you have a small head, it can potentially sit too low. The stitching makes this neck harness highly durable and can take a beating.

 I've had mine for a decade and has traveled the world with me. It's still in great shape. It comes with a chain and clips to hang plates for neck extensions.

Pros

  • Adjustable Velcro strap to change the circumference to fit any head size.
  • Flexible material so it forms around your head.

Cons

  • While it’s made of soft webbing, it still rubs the ears causing discomfort.
  • No adjustable top head strap, so it may sit too low if you have a small head.

Runner Up Best Neck Harness - Spud Inc Neck Harness

Best Budget Neck Harness

Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness

Iron Neck Alpha Budget Best Neck Harness

The Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness was the original model and is still an excellent neck harness on a budget. The only difference between this and the Alpha plus is the nylon isn't as thick, and there's no top head strap.

The thickness of the nylon is noticeable, adding to the durability of the Alpha Plus Harness. But, for a budget neck harness, you're getting a harness far more durable than cheap versions on Amazon with the added D-rings for exercise versatility.

Everything else is the same between the Alpha and Alpha Plus neck harnesses. So, if you're on a budget, this is the option. If you want to pay more for the comfort of knowing you can adjust the neck harness how you want with the added durability, then opt for the Alpha Plus.

Pros

  • D-rings for exercise versatility with isometrics and rotations.
  • Soft neoprene makes it comfortable to wear yet durable, so it won't rip when loading heavily.

Cons

  • Thinner nylon than the Alpha Plus, so it may not be as durable. However, I have not had any issues.
  • No adjustable head strap, so it may be too big if you have a smaller head.
Use code "LBEB" for 10% OFF any Iron Neck order

Best Budget Neck Harness - Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness

What To Look For In A Neck Harness

Adjustable Head Strap

One issue with the original Iron Neck Alpha Neck Harness was it was too deep for some people's heads. The front would cover their eyes while trying to do neck extensions or isometrics. Having an adjustable head strap means you can adjust the sizing to fit your head.

If you are after a neck harness to use for a group of people, then it’s even more important to be able to adjust sizing.

Smooth Doggy Ears

I can not address this enough, you will never use a neck harness that scratches your ears and face as you nod your head. Most cheap neck harnesses do this as they are made from poor materials. The friction as you nod through 20 rep sets is killer.

It’s worth spending a little more to have a comfortable neck harness you’ll use. The Alpha Harnesses have neoprene inside making them soft against the ears and face.

Strap vs. Chain

Iron Neck is the only company I've seen that provides a nylon tether strap instead of a chain. Initially, the Alpha Harness came with a chain, but they have since iterated on the product to provide a better neck training experience.

The strap means the plates always sit in the middle. Chains cause the plates to sit on either side of a chain link distributing the weight unevenly. I experience this often when using chain straps and the nylon tether is a great bonus.

D-Rings

Not many neck harnesses have D-ring features. These allow more exercise versatility outside of neck flexion and extension. You can work the sides of your neck and do so isometrically. By using resistance bands, you can also perform neck rotations.

Without D-rings, you must hang weight plates from your neck to train it. If you travel often, this is impossible. But with a lightweight neck harness and a band, you can take this anywhere and never lose your thick neck.

Frequently Asked Neck Harness Questions

Are Neck Harnesses Effective

Are Neck Harnesses Effective?

Neck harnesses are very effective for strengthening and building neck size. They've been used for decades in old-school weight rooms and have become more popular within collision and combat sports.

To maximize hypertrophy, we must train the muscles through a full range of motion with moderate to heavy loads. The neck harness allows us to load the primary neck muscle, the sternocleidomastoid, and the spinal erectors at the back of the neck.

For strength development, the D-rings allow maximum isometric contractions to build strength.

How Often Should You Use The Neck Harness?

Depending on your goal, you’ll typically use the neck harness 2-3 times per week. Twice a week would be for building strength and size and three times a week is for specializing in neck development.

How Much Weight Should You Put On Your Neck Harness?

In my experience, starting with 2.5 – 5 kg for neck extensions with the neck harness is plenty. Especially if you haven't trained neck before or in a while. Going too heavy too quickly will result in neck strain which none of us want.

As you get stronger and more comfortable, you can increase the load by 2.5 – 5 kg.

Summary

The Iron Neck Alpha Plus Harness is the best neck harness because of its soft feel, durability, and exercise variety provided through D-rings. It's more than a neck harness. It's a complete neck training tool.

Best Neck Harness - Iron Neck Alpha Plus Neck Harness

References

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About the Author

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your training.

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