Strength of Evidence Podcast Episode 7: A Real Head Turner – Neck Packing and Joint Centration

Neck-packing has received much attention lately in physical therapy and strength coaching circles, as has the notion of joint centration. How does the evidence for neck-packing stack up? How can we determine optimal joint-centration? How stable is the core during real-world exercise? What limits the deadlift? And what’s the best neck position for grip strength?

In episode 7 of The Strength of Evidence Podcast, Jon and Bret tackle these questions and demonstrate how they go about forming an evidence-based opinion on the topic of neck packing.

Click Here to Download or Just to Listen

Click Here to Download on iTunes

franco deadlift

What do you think? After listening to the podcast and weighing the evidence, should we pack the neck, just keep it in neutral, or ignore the head and neck altogether and let the chips fall where they may? Join us in the discussion by giving us a “like” on our Facebook page!

As always, if you like the podcast, please click on THIS LINK, go to iTunes, click on “ratings and reviews,” and leave us some feedback and a rating! Then share with your friends and anyone that might like to hear the debate.

Links to the Articles and Topics Discussed in the Podcast

4 Weightlifting Myths Destroyed – TNation article by Todd Bumgardner

Packing in the neck – Blogpost by Charlie Weingroff

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials Absence of Evidence does not imply Evidence of Absence

Lamar Gant Deadlift: 

Konstantin Konstantinovs Deadlift: 

Phylogenetics – what does that even mean?

Articles Pertaining to Head-Neck Position & Strength

Grip Strength: Influence of Head-Neck Position in Normal Subjects

Effect of head-neck position on arm lifting strength

Effect of Head-Neck Position on Elbow Flexor Muscle
Torque Production

Effects of head-neck rotation and kinesiotaping on the flexor muscles on dominant-hand grip strength

Articles Pertaining to Core Stability and Lumbar ROM

Normal functional range of motion of the lumbar spine during 15 activities of daily living

The lumbar and sacrum movement pattern the back squat exercise

Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads

Comparison of different strongman events – trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness

Comparison of different rowing exercises – trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness

Lumbar posterior ligament involvement during extremely heavy lifts estimated from fluoroscopic measurements (We didn’t specifically mention this paper but this is the article that shows that powerlifters flex their spines but not to end range during the dl)

A Quote from a Sports Science Legend

Mel Siff quote on wearing belts (last paragraph)


  • oli says:

    great discussion. I think the comparison to Check vs Siff is very relevant.
    neck packing resembles longis colli activation exercises to stabilize the neck in a similar way that the belly to spine cue is meant to activate TVA.

  • Adam says:

    Great episode. Personally, I have to look up slightly while deadlifting, or I tend to shift my weight forward andround the lower back; my proportions also put me in a high-hip starting position. I have had success, though, cuing a more neutral or packed position with people who tend to hyperextend in the lumbar spine during hip hinge movements.

  • “What I oppose is any blanket or “allness” statement which creates another
    item of dogma in the strength training world.” – MS

    Shame more people don’t think like this…

Leave a Reply


and receive my FREE Lower Body Progressions eBook!

You have Successfully Subscribed!