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Is an 11 inch neck too small?

Learn why an 11 inch neck is far too small for an adult to be healthy.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 21st May 2022
A skinny woman with an 11 inch neck

An 11 inch neck is way below the average neck circumference for adult men and women. But how does this affect your health?

Like many things in health and fitness, it depends. Is your 11” neck indicative of other health issues, such as you being underweight? If this is the case, then yes, having an 11 in neck is definitely undesirable.

From an aesthetic standpoint? If you’re a man, then I’d say that an 11 inch neck will look noticeably skinny to the people that you meet. Indeed, there are fairly young (and perfectly healthy) children who have an 11” neck!

Related Neck Measurement Guides:

Is an 11 inch neck too small?

A very think woman who has an 11 inch neck circumference

Yes, an 11 inch neck is almost certainly too small for an adult to live in good health. This is because having an 11” neck is very likely an indicator that you’re underweight.

For a child, an 11” neck isn’t necessarily too small. The good thing is that neck circumference has been reliably shown to predict a child’s BMI. [1] So if you don’t have the time to calculate your child’s BMI, taking their neck measurement can help you to gauge their current health status, at least from one perspective.

On the other side of the coin, having an 11 in neck may not be desirable aesthetically. If your neck is too skinny, especially as a man, then it can make you look a little, well, goofy.

Of course, you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re skinnier than average, but it’s likely that most men would look better by increasing the size of their neck even just a bit (if it’s too skinny to start with).

Who typically has an 11 inch neck?

A young girl showing her finger

Children are those who most commonly have an 11 inch neck. Such a circumference measurement is normal for children aged around 9 to 11 years old. There are, of course, expectations to this.

On the other hand, it’s very rare for an adult to have an 11” neck unless they’re severely underweight. After all, you do use your neck muscles on a daily basis (even if you don’t realize it), which, for the most part, will prevent them from atrophying.

You certainly shouldn’t aim to have an 11” neck because there’s a good chance that such a neck size is simply unattainable for you. After all, some people definitely have genetically thicker necks than others—even if they’re of a similar build and bodyweight.

Why should you increase the size of your 11” neck?

A woman measuring her 11 in neck

We’ve already discussed the aesthetic reasons why a man might not want to have an 11 inch neck; an 11 in neck doesn’t exactly ooze masculinity.

Still, there’s no need to have a huge neck to look manly. Even a moderate amount of neck muscle is more than enough. Simply lifting weights and consuming healthy foods that adequately support your training will increase all of your circumference measurements—neck included.

Another underrated reason for increasing the size of your neck is that it makes your neck stronger. By training your neck, you’ll naturally make it stronger, [2] which may help to improve your posture and—even more importantly—prevent concussions if you play contact sports (or if you’re ever in a car accident).

The verdict on having an 11 in neck

A young woman holding her hand out

I have to be honest: Until I did my research for this article, I didn’t think that it was possible for people to have an 11 inch neck. And honestly? For most people, it’s not.

Eleven inches is just too small of a neck size for an adult to live in good health.

But I realize that a lot of people fixate on specific body part measurements, which can often be unhealthy and lead to body dysmorphia. So I wanted to set the record straight: You shouldn’t feel that you need to have a specific neck measurement in order to look good.

Most people certainly aren’t looking at your neck and calculating its size, and you can save yourself a lot of worry by following a healthy diet and a simple and sustainable exercise regime. Or, if you really want to change how your neck looks, you can do strengthening exercises for it.

References

  1. Nafiu, O. O., Burke, C., Lee, J., Voepel-Lewis, T., Malviya, S., & Tremper, K. K. (2010). Neck Circumference as a Screening Measure for Identifying Children With High Body Mass Index. Pediatrics, 126(2), e306–e310. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-0242
  2. Burnett, A. F., Naumann, F. L., Price, R. S., & Sanders, R. H. (2005). A comparison of training methods to increase neck muscle strength. Work (Reading, Mass.), 25(3), 205–210.
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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