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Is building a 22 inch neck or a 23 inch neck possible?

Check out the mass monster with a legitimate 22 inch neck.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 21st May 2022
A bodybuilder flexing his 22 inch neck muscles

Believe it or not, there are actually people who have a 22 inch neck. And I'm not talking about a fat 22 inch neck; I'm on about a lean and muscular 22" neck.

So with that in mind, this guide will discuss the pros and cons of having a 23 inch neck, a 24 inch neck, and yes, even a colossal 25 inch neck.

To see how your neck stacks up, you can click the link to learn how to measure your neck circumference accurately. Alternatively, if you already know your circumference measurement, you can check out the other size guides below to see how your neck compares.

How big is a 22 inch neck?

An obese man with a 24 inch neck

A 22 inch neck is not just big; it's absolutely massive. Seriously, you can travel all over the world—go to virtually every gym—and still not see someone with a lean and muscular 22 inch neck. That's how big a 22" neck is.

Of course, there are, unfortunately, quite a lot of obese people who may well have a 22 in neck due to carrying excess body fat.

Indeed, if you weigh enough (well over 300 lbs), then it's conceivable that you could end up with a 23 inch neck or a 24 inch neck.

Of course, many men desire thick necks so that they can develop an imposing physique. But you definitely don't need a 25 inch neck or even a 22 inch neck to look strong, muscular, or positively intimidating.

Who actually has a 22 inch neck?

The man behind the YouTube channel Oilfield Muscle has a massive 22 inch neck.

What's almost as surprising (for some) as this man's neck size is that his form is really strict. There's a stereotype that meatheads just swing really heavy weights around, but Oilfield Muscle shows that good technique is essential for building a thick neck.

Since this guy looks pretty lean and muscular, it's possible that he could even get a 24 inch neck if he gained some extra weight and body fat.

Obviously, this might not be desirable since his neck is already positively humongous. Indeed, if you make your neck too big, then you might run the risk of developing sleep apnea (as well as looking so scary that people won't want to approach you!).

Does anyone have a 23 inch neck?

On the Szatstrength YouTube channel Brad Arbic, aka "Mr. Neck," mentioned that he has a 23 inch neck. And looking at the sheer size of his tree-trunk neck, I believe every inch of that ridiculously huge measurement.

So while you or I might not have the will or the genetics to build a 23 inch neck, it just goes to show that some people do. With a big frame, a high body weight, and direct neck training, you can get a seriously huge neck.

From an aesthetic standpoint, having a thick neck will give you a powerful physique, and from a strength standpoint, having a muscular neck will likely protect against concussions. [1]

Of course, you can certainly have a big and strong neck at a much smaller circumference measurement than 23 or 24 inches. But all else being equal, a bigger neck is very likely a stronger neck.

Is it bad to have a 22 inch neck or a 23 inch neck?

A man with sleep apnea

Neck training has become very popular in recent years. I still remember when it was new on the scene (and, to some extent, neck training is still quite novel), but now building the neck is a common training goal for many lifters.

But like anything in bodybuilding, neck training is definitely something that you can take too far. There's a point of diminishing returns, so past, say, 18 or 19 inches, your neck probably won't look any better.

Also, one of the risk factors for sleep apnea is having a large neck. While most sources specify excess neck fat as the culprit for sleep apnea, [2] having an abnormally muscular neck could plausibly lead to sleep apnea as well, especially if it's accompanied by a high body weight.

Would it be possible to build a 24 inch neck or a 25 inch neck?

An obese woman with a 25 inch neck

I don't want to encourage anyone to build a 24 inch neck or a 25 inch neck (not that it's possible for most lifters) because you'd almost certainly damage your health doing so.

That said, this quick thought experiment will outline how someone would go about building a neck that large. This is just to show that, under the right conditions, you can build a lot of muscle mass.

First off, you'd need to train your neck directly and from a variety of angles so that you can stimulate maximum sternocleidomastoid hypertrophy. You'd also have to train the back of your neck with neck extensions to increase the circumference as much as possible.

Additionally, to build a 25 inch neck, you'd almost certainly have to weigh well over 300 lbs, which would mean gaining quite a lot of body fat for most people.

Yet, even by adding lots of weight to your frame and training your neck all the time, there's no guarantee that you'd get your neck to the 24 or 25 inch mark. After all, some lifters just don't have the genetics to build a neck that big. That's ok because, in my opinion, a 24 inch neck doesn't look very aesthetic.

In conclusion

An overweight man with a 23 inch neck

As you can see, building a 22 inch neck is possible for a small group of well-built lifters who know what they're doing in the gym. I'm sure that there are a few professional strongmen who have 22 or 23 inch necks due to their high body mass and the sheer amount of weight that they're lifting.

Of course, having a neck that large also comes with some downsides. Sleep apnea appears to be fairly common among heavy-set strength athletes with thick necks (think strongman competitors).

And what's more, having a 22" neck might make your other muscle groups look smaller if, relatively speaking, they're not as well-developed.

References

  1. Eckner, J. T., Oh, Y. K., Joshi, M. S., Richardson, J. K., & Ashton-Miller, J. A. (2014). Effect of Neck Muscle Strength and Anticipatory Cervical Muscle Activation on the Kinematic Response of the Head to Impulsive Loads. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(3), 566–576. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546513517869
  2. The Dangers of Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea. (2022, March 10). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-sleep-apnea
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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