Lessons for Everyone from Football, Soccer, Indycar and MMA

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What we've learned from innovative coaches across multiple sports can benefit you. Learn from these insights to improve your training.

A few years back I worked for an innovation consulting firm that helped Fortune 500 companies develop innovative products that better met the needs of their customers. They had a saying: You can’t read the label if you’re inside the jar.

In other words, if you’re trying to develop a new solution, you need to bring in stakeholders from outside your world. Whether you’re a global corporation, a coach or a personal trainer, when you lose the perspective of your customers, athletes or clients, you fall out of touch with their perspective and results fall short of expectations.


With every new sport and market Iron Neck has found it’s way into, new innovative uses and applications have followed.


Learning from Coaches in New Sports

While the origins of Iron Neck are in concussion prevention in football, we knew that when coaches from other sports started using it, it would spur new types of exercises that better meet the needs of and potential injuries to each athlete. With every new sport and market Iron Neck has found it’s way into, new innovative uses and applications have followed.

Here are a few things we've learned from different sports and how these insights can benefit you.


Origins in Football Spurred Early Innovations

In addition to the 20+ NFL and NHL teams using Iron Neck, there are now over 300 high schools and colleges across the country training with it. We’ve seen strength and conditioning coaches develop specific protocols for players based on sport as well as position. The concussion risks are very different for an offensive lineman than for a wide receiver, for example, and coaches are developing protocols that more directly address the risk profiles of these players.



A Missing Link in Female Training

A 2017 study by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons showed that female soccer players suffer the highest rate of concussions among high school athletes. This is no surprise as females have half the isometric neck strength as males.

Vasavada Isometric Table-1-475491-edited

The lack of attention to neck training in female athletes, particularly in girls soccer, is shocking. You don't need an Iron Neck to be proactive about building neck strength. All you need is a towel or a partner. We've spoken with pro female soccer players who revealed that in their two decades of playing the game, they had never done anything for neck strength.


In a sport where heading is a part of the game, how could there be so many high school, college and pro soccer players that do nothing for their neck strength?


This is the current reality that strength and conditioning coaches like Pete Arroyo are changing. He trains dozens of high school athletes just outside Chicago, IL, who go on to play NCAA D1 football, soccer, swimming and more.

"It's so important to strengthen these girls' necks," says Arroyo. "I've been able to become much more systematic in how I program neck training for my female athletes."



The Brutal Forces on Indycar Driver's Necks

Indycar drivers have up to 5Gs of force on their neck over the course a couple hours. As you can see in this video of Graham Rahal, these forces move around the neck as he travels the track.


Indycar gif


Motorsports strength and conditioning coaches like Jim Leo have developed strength and stability protocols that closely mimic the forces that move around the neck to better prepare Indycar drivers like Charlie Kimball for the rigors of the racetrack.


Read more about how IndyCar Drivers are training with Iron Neck


Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

When we were introduced to Joe Rogan in 2016, we weren't fully aware of the neck pain he'd developed from years of Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As he saw his neck pain go away, Iron Neck became a mainstay in his regular workout routine.



When Rogan has had guests on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience (currently ranked #5 in the US), bring up their neck problems in conversation, he has shared his experiences with his Iron Neck. As a result, the number of MMA strength and conditioning coaches and fighters training with Iron Neck today is far bigger than we would have expected a few years ago.

While some fighters focus solely on adding bulk to their neck, MMA strength and conditioning coaches like Phil Daru and PJ Nestler focus on mobility.



"You gotta have the control to stay in a position," says Daru, head strength and conditioning coach at Florida based MMA gym, American Top Team. Daru was recently on Joe DeFranco's podcast and talked about the importance of mobility.


"Mobility is flexibility and strength. Core stability improves the mobility of your extremities," explains Daru.


Developing strength and stability in various positions and testing proprioceptive muscle reaction at various angles (as seen below through perturbations of the resistance band) opens up a new way to look at working with different muscle groups. This is relevant not just for MMA athletes, but for all athletes looking to reduce their risk of injury.



What this Means for you

Strength and conditioning coaches, trainers and athletes across more than a dozen sports have incorporated Iron Neck. The unique applications we see in all these different arenas have helped us better read the label from outside the jar. Perspectives from stakeholders in every sport offer new ways to utilize Iron Neck.

You don’t need to be a pro athlete to extract value from this. We do our best to provide the foundational resources for people to learn how to use Iron Neck effectively. By sharing the innovative uses from stakeholders in new sports, we hope you can read the writing on the label, and get the most out of your Iron Neck training.

Robert Sherman has been the Chief Marketing Officer of Iron Neck since 2015. Through the company's growth, Sherman has been focused on sharing the stories of individuals who are using Iron Neck to transform the health of individuals throughout their community as well as their own. He can be reached directly at robert@iron-neck.com.

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