How Did Mike Tyson Build Such A Strong Neck?

mike tyson neck
September 14, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “how did Mike Tyson build such a strong neck?”. Mike Tyson is a formidable boxer and has won six boxing world titles as a heavyweight.

He was known for his thick neck and he had a 20 inch neck from a very young age! Most people don’t have 20 inch necks when they are 18 years old. 

In this article I will outline how Mike built such a thick and strong neck. Having a strong neck helps you a lot in boxing as you can absorb punches better.

Neck Bridges

Neck bridges were a staple exercise in Mike Tyson’s training routine. Wrestlers also utilise this exercise to build a strong and thick neck.

Neck bridging carries a greater injury risk than other exercises and it is advised that you have some experience before attempting them. 

In Mike’s case he would do 30 minutes of neck bridges non stop. He would roll backwards and forwards which is brutal. Doing this consistently for such a long period of time helped Mike to develop a brutally strong neck.

Personally, I have never done neck bridges as the injury risk is too great for me. I prefer doing neck curls and extensions to build the neck. Mike also did other neck exercises to strengthen his neck.

Previously on this site I have discussed whether neck bridges are dangerous.

Neck Curls And Extensions

Neck curls and extensions are great exercises for building a thick and strong neck. I also do these in my training and Mike did too.

Technically neck curls are superior to neck extensions for building a thick neck. Mike Bruce who is famous for his insanely strong neck also says that just doing neck curls is enough to build a formidable neck.

Mike Tyson used neck harnesses as well as other training tools like resistance bands on these exercises. It is possible that he also used some specialised machines to train his neck.

A more niche piece of training equipment are machines that allow you to do neck curls and extensions. Very few gyms have such machines, however Mike may well have utilised this piece of equipment to aid in his neck training.

In my case, I typically use resistance bands for neck curls. I like to pause in the flexed position for a good length of time. This makes the exercise a lot harder and puts more tension on the neck muscles.

It is important when doing neck curls to not cheat. Cheating on this exercise can be dangerous as you can hurt your neck. You have to ensure that you are using just your neck muscles to get the best out of this exercise.
neck curl machine


As well as brutal boxing training Mike Tyson had an insane work ethic. He would favour calisthenics training and perform a range of exercises.

These would typically be 500 push ups, 500 dips, over 1000 sit ups, neck bridges, 500-1000 squats and 500 shrugs for the traps.

Mike would run this circuit three times a day in order to accumulate all the reps. The shrugs were the only exercise he would do weighted using a barbell. 

This circuit helped to maintain Mike’s fitness, there is also no doubt that performing high rep shrugs so consistently helped to develop Tyson’s traps and yoke further.


As I always preach, consistency is crucial when it comes to success in anything. Tyson was incredibly disciplined and had great work ethic. This is what helped him become a boxing champion and a formidable boxer.

By sticking to his boxing and calisthenics routine religiously he developed himself mentally and physically. All the neck work that he did and the reps that he accumulated on a daily basis strengthened his neck and added a lot of size.

Not many people reach a 20 inch or bigger neck. My neck is 18 inches in comparison and I train my neck once or twice a week. So to develop a neck of over 20 inches takes a lot of work ethic and focus.

Tyson’s Neck Surgery

It wasn’t all plain sailing for iron Mike though. Neck bridges do carry an injury risk and Mike was performing them for 30 minutes non stop on a consistent basis.

It took a toll on his neck and he had to have a neck surgery in 2012 for a degenerative disc that was causing pain. Mike made a full recovery after a few weeks.

But this is why I want to re-iterate that neck bridges do take a toll on the neck when performed consistently in such a vigorous manner. Personally, I stick with neck curls and heavy shrugs to train my neck and traps.

Boxers and wrestlers utilise neck bridges regularly, but care should be taken to prevent serious problems down the line. 

Final Thoughts

How did Mike Tyson build such a strong neck? The truth is that Mike has an incredible work ethic and a lot of discipline. 

He stuck to his calisthenics routine rigorously and it included 30 minutes of neck bridges done on a consistent basis. Tyson also did high rep shrugs and other dedicated neck work like neck curls.

It is not clear whether Mike used specialised neck machines like a neck curl or neck extension machine. However, it is possible that he took advantage of this piece of equipment to strengthen his neck further.

Care should be taken when doing neck bridges. It should be done by people with experience and a good base of neck strength. If you have a small and weak neck you shouldn’t start training your neck with this exercise.

Build up a good base first! If you have any comments on Mike Tyson’s workouts please leave them below. 

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training.

>> How Often Should You Train Your Neck?

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