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When we received the Iron Neck Pro earlier in the year, I was a bit skeptical. First, there's no doubt that it's a goofy looking piece of equipment. You strap it to your head and look like you walked out of a 1970's movie about the new millennium.
However, as much as I like to look cool (rarely happens) function prevails when it comes to strength training and performance. And, although I looked goofy wearing the device, put simply, it works better than any other neck training piece of equipment I've used.
Although I think there are fewer people training their necks than should be, there are those that do. Most of the people you find putting time on their necks are using either the leather harnesses that have a chain and weight plates attached or are using big, clunky machines made by Hammer Strength or the like that are found in University Gyms and Health Centers that are simply looking to fill space.
These options are far from ideal, which leaves little other options for training the neck. This is where the Iron Neck really shines.
You see, although training the neck to increase strength is important, it's also important to increase the range of motion of your neck, something many overlook until they start to have aches and pains from constantly having their heads pointed down at their phones. The Iron Neck presents a tremendous solution for this problem, and now it's more affordable than ever.
Let's discuss the build quality.
The Iron Neck Pro and Iron Neck Home are made up of pretty much the same components. Both the Iron Neck Home and Pro models are made almost entirely of a hard ABS plastic that will not only take dings and dents that come from a gym setting, but is also extremely light. The weight of the product certainly plays an important part during use.
The initial Iron Neck model was made of metal and by far, one of the biggest complaints was its weight. The strong, yet light plastic overcomes this problem in a solution that should provide an equal amount of durability over time.
The padding on the inside of the Iron Neck Home uses an anti-microbial foam (although if I were training multiple athletes, I'd suggest buying some skull caps, they sell Iron Neck branded ones on the site) that allows the Iron Neck to provide some level of comfort, while a pump helps dial in the fit. Iron Neck has actually redesigned some of the padding on the inside from previous models that is vastly superior to the previous padding for providing comfort while still feeling locked in. I'm glad they made this change because there were some odd shaped heads we tried the Iron Neck on and the people complained a bit.
The pump that secures the unit to your head is essentially what you'd find on a blood pressure cuff and does an excellent job of making the Iron Neck fit at all angles. I'm sure they racked their brains trying to figure out how to get this big hunk of plastic to feel secure, yet comfortable on the head, but this is a great solution.
Moving to the outer shell of the Iron Neck Home, there is a track that houses a connection point. This is the most significant difference other than the color of the unit between the Iron Neck Pro and Iron Neck Home. The Iron Neck Home has the exact same connection piece, but instead of a dial, has none. This means that there is no resistance. To use Iron Necks words, "Iron Neck Home incorporates the full range isometric neck and core training of the Pro but with no rotational resistance."
The question is, do you need the resistance? Well, personally, if I was going to buy only one Iron Neck, I'd go with the Pro because I like the ability to add resistance. However, for most people, I don't think it's absolutely essential. If you're training high-level athletes that face a greater possibility of concussions than the general population, then I certainly recommend the Pro. But, if you're someone in your garage who wants a way to train your neck, grab the Iron Neck Home, there's just too big of a price difference.
To the point on decreasing concussions, I wrote this in our previous article on the Iron Neck Pro and it is important enough for everyone reading this review to be aware of, "In 2014, the Journal of Primary Prevention published a study that tracked 6700 high school athletes in boys' and girls' soccer, basketball, and lacrosse over a 2.5 year period. Researchers captured anthropometric measurements, concussion incidents, and athletic exposure data and found that "for every one pound increase in neck strength, odds of concussion are decreased by 5%." That's a significant difference and enough to spend time strengthening the neck for all athletes."
Athletes, train your neck, and by far the most efficient way to do so that I have found and what we use for our athletes at Intentional Fitness & Performance is the Iron Neck.
Just as with the Iron Neck Pro, I use the Iron Neck Home typically for figure-eights. There are lots of different movements that can be done, but just for general work, I stick to that movement as it covers the largest range of motion. The Iron Neck can be used with a band or a cable stack. Most people will use a band, but I definitely prefer the use of a cable stack to adjust tension.
All in all, we highly recommend the Iron Neck, either the Pro or the Home, although for most people we would first recommend the Home due to its superior price point.
The biggest improvement I'd like to recommend is really more of a critique. I am a bit confused why the Iron Neck Pro retails (as of this writing) for $624.99 while the Iron Neck Home is three-hundred dollars less at $324.99.
Literally, the only difference other than color I can find is the resistance dial. Is that really worth $300? That's up to you. Other than that, not much we'd recommend.
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