A good way to begin strengthening the neck is to treat it the same way as the core with plank exercises. This static movement will allow your body to get used to pressure on the neck without fear of spasms or using too much weight too fast.
One of the best ways to perform this exercise is to get a hand towel and fold it up to use as a pad against your head. Find a sturdy wall, preferably where you exercise, but it can be anywhere. You will lean against the wall, just bracing with your head and neck (which is why you use the towel). You want to get into a position that you can hold for 30 seconds on each direction; left, right, front and back (similar to planks or ab bridges for the core). If it is too hard, move your feet toward the wall. If it is too easy, move them further out from the wall. To be consistent, get a piece of tape and mark where your feet were on the ground for each direction so that you can get into the same position each workout.
Every 1.5 – 2 weeks, you will want to add more time. Then as you get stronger, you’ll want to increase the angle by moving your feet out a little further. You’ll have to experiment to see what you can handle, but remember not to push progress too fast. I would recommend doing this 2-3 times a week starting out.
Be patient with this exercise, as progress does not come as fast as other areas of the body. I would do this exercise in the morning when you wake up or as part of your warm up for workouts. I would not do this at the end of a hard workout, as you are already fatigued and increase the possibility of injury.
Head and Neck Strength Routine:
Week 1: 2 rounds of 30 seconds each direction – 2 – 3 days
Week 2: 2 rounds of 30 seconds each direction – 2 – 3 days
Week 3: 3 rounds of 30 seconds each direction – 3 days
Week 4: 3 rounds of 45 seconds each direction – 3 days
Week 5: 3 rounds of 45 seconds each direction – 3 days
Week 6: 3 rounds of 1 minute each direction – 3 days
After reaching this level, it would be time to make an adjustment either by continuing to increase the time or changing your foot position and starting over again at 30 seconds. Fit this into your routine and you will see how beneficial training the head and neck can be for any sport.