Homemade Neck Harness

Following a recent post about neck training, I’ve had several people ask about the harness pictured within the entry (see below).

Homemade Neck Harness

The neck harness that I use is homemade. As for the design, it is similar to the harness that I discussed a few years ago (see here). Over the past five or six years, I’ve made approximately 8 harnesses. During that time, I’ve made a few modifications to the design. I will discuss those changes below.

Commercial Availability

Before discussing my homemade harness, it’s worth noting that quality harnesses have become more reasonably priced in recent years. When I made my first harness, the only quality commercial option sold for around $80. The less expensive models were prone to break with insignificant loads. I once had a fighter break three harnesses in less than one year.

Fortunately, I am starting to see more durable harnesses priced closer to $40 or $50. I still opt for the homemade harness however based on how many athletes I’ve had use them. I’d much rather make one for a few dollars than purchase several $40 to $50 models.

Harness Design

As for the basic design, I still use chain and pipe insulation. I start with a piece of chain that connects to itself with a quick-link connector. The resulting chain loop that forms is what will eventually go around the head. When creating this loop, it is important that it is made slightly larger than your head. These harnesses are not adjustable. If you cut the chain too short, it will not fit once pipe insulation is wrapped around it. I’d rather have a harness that is slightly too big than one that is too small. An over-sized harness can still be used if you wear a hooded sweatshirt and/or winter hat.

After creating the chain loop, I tie rope to opposing links on the chain. The rope on each side will eventually connect to another piece of chain which will be used to secure weight. I also attach a short piece of lashing strap to the top of the harness. It serves as a head strap to prevent the harness from sliding down the head when in use.

Once the rope and straps are in place, I wrap pipe insulation around the chain. I make small slits in the insulation for the rope and head strap. I then wrap duct tape around the pipe insulation.

Homemade neck harness construction

I then connect chain to each end of the rope. The two pieces of chain connect with a spring clip. All knots and connections are then wrapped with several layers of duct tape. The result is a strong harness that can hold some serious weight.

Homemade neck harness construction 2

When using the harness, I either place a towel atop my head or wear a hooded sweatshirt and/or winter hat. The extra layer serves two purposes. It not only provides extra comfort, it also allows for a more snug fit with the harness.

Neck Training

As for training options, I typically use the harness in conjunction with other neck exercises such as the resistance band movements that I demonstrated previously.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, whenever discussing neck strength and its significance, there is no greater example than that of George Chuvalo. Chuvalo had 93 professional fights as a heavyweight and was never knocked down. He went up against legends such as George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and more.

In the video below, Chuvalo discusses his iron chin.


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin


  1. Went the distance with Frazier and Foreman? The fights were stopped in the 4th and 3rd round, respectively. It was a broken orbital bone against Frazier, but not against Foreman. However, he wasn’t knocked down. Who knows how the fight would’ve went against Foreman if it wasn’t stopped in the 3rd? Regardless, Chuvalo of course had an iron chin.

    A fighters chin is a strange subject. Look at Bigfoot Silva in MMA today. His head and jaw are massive, but he’s been dropped and stopped before (not saying he has a weak chin, though). Perhaps the MMA gloves are making it easier to knock someone out, I don’t know.

    Like Chuvalo said, there are likely many factors that come into play when discussing a fighters chin.

  2. Yes, not the distance. That was imported in from a linking site. I should have looked closer.

    Chuvalo took a ton of punishment in both however, yet displayed an amazing chin. He’s lucky to not have lost an eye against Frazier.

  3. And yes, many factors go into taking a punch (including simply being in TOP shape, physically and mentally).

    With that said, a strong neck can be very helpful and many fighters still overlook the significance (unfortunately).

  4. Yeah, a strong neck can’t hurt! Thanks for sharing how to make a neck harness. I’ve used my own very simple rope design for years. Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade soon.

  5. Sir, can I just make the whole thing out of lashing? One strap around the head (sweatband-like). Eight inches of overlap. Loads of industrial staples (which don’t just out, and anyway will be wrapped with duct-tape, no risk of staple puncture wounds).

    One strap coming over the top, perpendicular (the same as your lashing strap in your harness design) and extending an extra foot down on each side. Drill a hole in each of the sides of lashing hanging down, and secure weights with a heavy rope and a clip.

    I didn’t have any pipe insulator or chain to use, but I did have lashing straps, a stapler and duct tape.

    Thoughts on that design?


    1. @Elios – Just be sure that the lashing straps are strong. There are often considerable differences in strength between cheap lashing straps and those intended to carry/hold significant loads. Strapworks.com has some of the best IMO

  6. A strong neck surely can’t hurt and many legendary “chins” did have strong looking necks. Rocky Marciano, Jake Lamotta, Carmen Basilio, Chuvalo, Tex Cobb, Roberto Duran, and others all had strong looking necks, and I’m sure they didn’t neglect training their neck muscles. But some fighters with legendary “whiskers” didn’t have massive necks but nonetheless they could take some powerful punches. Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Aaron Pryor and others had impressive “chins” despite not having an overly muscular neck. Maybe great “chins” like great punchers are born and not made? But a boxer should never neglect neck training, same thing with football players, wrestlers and MMA fighters. Even bodybuilders shouldn’t neglect their necks. Looks pretty ridiculous for some massively muscular guy to have a “pencil neck.” The neck muscles are nearly always visible.

  7. It’s nice to see a guy in his 70’s with a brain that is still intact.

    I’ve recently read that a large reason why concussion in football are so common is the fact that neck training is absent from their strength training regimen. As far as I know, only combat sports (MMA, wrestling and boxing) do any sort of neck training.

    I mentioned this in my blog once: your neck is part of your spine. Since when is it a good idea to neglect the muscles of your spine?

  8. Chuvalo does look good for his age. Fighters don’t often age well. Chuvalo is naturally a little bit heavier in the middle but it looks like he’s still quite strong. Often fighters balloon up much heavier than their fighting fights. The super fit Rocky Marciano would balloon all way up to 245lbs, 60lbs more than he weighed while fighting. Foreman was over 300lbs before he launched his second career, LaMotta, Tyson, Duran, etc., all became borderline obese sometime after they retired.

  9. Thanks for the cheap DIY guidance. Are the ropes used just so you don’t have chains grinding against the side of your face?

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