Why Do Sprinters Always Have Such Big Neck Muscles? 
When you look at the typical physique of an elite sprinter...

One of the most puzzling questions people often have is...

Why are their necks so jacked?  

With gym-goers especially, who sometimes resort to doing ridiculous neck exercises...

Just to keep their necks in proportion with the rest of their bodies...

It can be especially frustrating to see these picture perfect sprinter's necks...

Which somehow magically develop, without any conscious effort on their part.  

So what's their secret?  

Well in this post, I'm going to explain to you exactly how it happens.  

So here we go.  First up... 

The Role of the Neck in Acceleration

When accelerating from a standstill at lower speeds...

The torso is positioned in a deliberate forward lean...

Which allows the sprinter to accelerate quicker...

By using the force of gravity to push down on his back, propelling him forward.  

In this position though, gravity pushes down on the head as well...

Which means the muscles in the back of the neck are working constantly to stabilize it.  

More advanced sprinters will sometimes even use the weight of the head....

To actively dive down as they strike the ground...

Helping them drive more force into the ground...

Which ultimately helps them generate a stronger push OFF the ground as a result.  

So in this case, not only is the neck working to stabilize the head...

It's also actively working to pull it up and down with each step.  

So it's not hard to image why this type of stress would result in a thick muscular neck over time.  

But that's only half the story. Up next...

The Role of the Neck at Top Speed

Once the sprinter has accelerated up to a point where he is no longer leaning forward....

And is instead running fully upright, and approaching his top speed...

The neck now performs an even more important job than before.  

You see, in order to push forward with power from an upright position...

The leg needs to continue pushing on the ground well behind the torso...

Which means that the body must essentially form a backwards bow from the waist up, at full extension.

In order to this, the neck must pull the head backward as the body floats through the air...  

But then also push it back forward, in line with the spine, to absorbe the impact of the next ground strike.  

So effectively, the neck has to do a super fast crunch on each step.  

For average people with poor technique...

What you will instead see is that their head simply falls backward and stays there...

Since their neck muscles are too weak an inactive to bring the head back forward.  

This can commonly be seen in the movies, when a character is running away in slow motion.  

And while the crunch can be difficult to see with intermediate sprinters...

With advanced sprinters, who have the technique mastered...

You can actually start to see their head bobbing back and forth for a few seconds...

as they approach their top speed.  

And it is this movement, combined with the acceleration movement we covered earlier...

That explains why sprinters have such jacked necks...

Without even having to spend any time working on them in the gym.

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