The “HULK UP” Technique: Inherent to Football?

Football Safety Academy | Hulk Up Technique

Lee Becker, Director Football Safety Academy


Dr. Donald Chu PhD, PT, ATC, CSC

As documented by literature all the major safety concepts currently known in football to protect the head and neck at impact come together in the Hulk Up Technique, these include:

  • Keeping the head and eyes up.
  • Neck muscular contraction prior to impact to create a stronger coupling of the head and neck with the torso as in Bull the Neck.
  • Better head and neck stabilization with the shoulder pads in a raised configuration creating an effect similar to the Hans Device used in high speed racing.

Through a close analysis of the game of football some players “inherently” use the Hulk Up Technique prior to anticipated impact but through communication with coaches, both current and former players the combined safety features of the Hulk Up Technique are not taught.

For example running backs unanimously started discovering the Hulk Up Technique for impact protection vs. a tackler.

Football Safety Academy  | Hulk Up Technique

Dr. Donald Chu, PhD, acknowledges athletes are often bio-mechanically unaware but “inherently” use a different technique to achieve an effective result and assume other athletes do the same thing, this is often what happens with the Hulk Up Technique.

Football Safety Academy  | Hulk Up Technique

Body styles can also alter a player’s bio-mechanical adjustments states Dr. Chu. For example football players with a shorter neck may “inherently” use the Hulk Up Technique when they raise their arms which can place the shoulder pads in the safer raised configuration when anticipating impact on offense defense or during tackling.

Football Safety Academy  | Hulk Up Technique

The Football Safety Academy encourages coaches to evaluate the potential of the Hulk Up Technique rather than relying on players to inherently discover it.

Thank you for your concern to make football a SAFER and BETTER game.

Lee Becker
Director, Football Safety Academy

Dr. Donald Chu PhD, PT, ATC, CSC

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The Football Safety Academy acknowledges the coach has the responsibility to decide which football techniques should be taught for the well being and safety of his players and there is not one specific technique including the Hulk Up Technique or safety device that can completely eliminate the risk of injury from impacts related to football including catastrophic injury and death. To the knowledge of the Football Safety Academy no specific research has been done regarding the Hulk Up Technique, however the Football Safety Academy is actively pursuing this goal.