I'm on a roll today. I was going to make one post, "things that are on my mind", but I knew I would be better breaking it up because I use far too many words to explain myself. The failure/motivation one is first. This is next. After this, it's breathing, assuming I feel i can articulate it well enough for others to understand my own perspective.
Neck Packing has been on my mind for about a year or so. Actually longer. I have obsessively corrected neck position in row and push up variations for as long as i've been training people, which isn't that long. However, and like many, and even with my own lifting, the neck advice goes out the window when it comes to squats and deadlifts, especially deadlifts. I was on the fence for a while, not really taking a solid stance because I didn't understand it enough, but for the last 6 months or more I strongly believe in most cases your neck should be packed, head neutral. Whipping it back and staring at the ceiling is just wrong, and I see no reason whatsoever for shoving your head up to be a good thing when lifting heavy weights.
An unstable neck is an unstable spine.
It's as if we forget that the neck is part of the spinal column. Well, we don't on rows but we do on deadlifts. If your neck is unstable, then your spine is unstable, simply because your neck IS your spine! If you're losing stability then you're losing strength, and potentially causing more wear and tear than you should.
Here's a post by Charlie Weingroff, who at least for me was the first person to really say this, point it out, and explain it in a way that made sense. This will cover the technical/biomechanical reasons. http://charlieweingroff.com/2010/11/pac ... -the-neck/
What actually is it? Basically, as it sounds - give yourself a double chin (chin down/tuck the chin) - this is the position. It creates a "neutral spine", only, you're not forgetting about the neck. To maintain as you strain, pull your chin into your ears, as opposed to looking and tilting your head up and back.
If you're used to looking up on a deadlift, you need to look about 6 ft in front of you, on the floor. Think about staring through the eye brows. This will feel pretty un natural at first, if you were like me and rammed the neck back into hyperextension when you deadlifted before. However, when it clicks, it clicks, and you won't look back.
For some, neck packing won't be a new concept. For example, Rip says "look down" in the squat - same thing. A lot of PL types say as a squat cue, "shove your head into your traps" - same thing.
Also, anyone Box? You don't just "tuck the chin" to keep it out of the way. You tuck the chin because you flow better and roll better with the punches, tucking the chin in boxing allows you to throw your whole shoulder/upper quarter into the punch, not just your arm. You get a blatantly better pivot/rotation from head to toe with a tucked chin. I know this because i'm a horrible boxer, too stiff, can't loosen up and roll with the punches. Too blocky. When I focus on tucking the chin, it changes everything.
When you get used to it on DL's, it actually feels like there's less ROM. Your hip hinge feels much better. I've seen this fix tightness felt in the hip from deadlifts - like magic. I've seen it completely resolve issues with finishing deadlifts with the lower back - yes just by packing the neck. Like magic!
I've seen it completely clean up clients single leg deadlift form, too.
If there's a "missing link" - it's the neck.
Anyway, any questions, fire away. It's a big deal with me right now, i'm all about the neck, so felt compelled to share.