The “HULK UP” Technique

Dr. Donald Chu

Dr. Donald Chu


Sports Performance Enhancement
and Sports Medicine Specialist
Past President National Strength and Conditioning Association


Literature Review

A stiff or tensed neck creates a stronger coupling of the head and neck with the torso and dramatically reduces rotational acceleration because a stiff or tensed neck keeps the head/neck stabilized with the whole torso (24, 25).

The variable with the greatest influence on head rotational acceleration is a stiff or tensed neck but neck strength effectiveness to protect the head and neck works only to the degree of muscular contraction prior to impact to reduce head/neck trauma (24, 25).

Putting shoulder pads in a raised configuration is much more effective according to a recent study regarding neck collar performance. (26)

The Hans Device in high-speed auto racing is critical to keep the head/neck stabilized and inline with the torso to transfer impact energy to the much stringer shoulders, check and back. (32)

Coaches’ state, Bull the Neck “locks your vertebrae in place. It protects the whole thing” (42); Bull the Neck is important in all contact situations, “always Bull the Neck during contact.” (40)

The “Hulk Up” Technique
Takes Bull the Neck to a Next Level

The Hulk Up Technique works by shrugging (rising) the shoulders and contracting the neck muscles prior to impact. This stiffens or tenses the neck while increasing neck stabilization by securely seating the lateral edges of the helmet into the collar of the shoulder pads, putting the shoulders pads in a raised configuration.

front_relaxed Hulk Up

The Hulk Up Technique utilizes the structural design of the helmet’s lateral base and the shoulder pads lateral collar. Like the Hans Device in auto racing the Hulk Up Technique keeps the head/neck inline and stabilized with the torso, this stronger coupling of the neck and torso has proven to be effective in reducing rotational forces by transferring energy to the much stronger shoulders, chest, back and torso.

Hulk Up Hans Device

The Hulk Up Technique, “Takes Bull the Neck to a Next Level” through utilization of the helmet and shoulder pads to provide maximum stabilization of the head/neck when the shoulders pads are securely in the raised configuration and the neck muscles are fully contracted prior to impact, thus bringing the Hans Device concept into the game by transferring impact energy to the much stronger shoulders, chest, back and torso.

Bull Neck
Alex Fifita
2011 Hayward HS
All – HAAL Offense and Defense
Fresno State University
“After being introduced to the “Hulk Up” technique I no longer have problems with my neck as in previous seasons.”

“To Play SAFER and BETTER Football”
Head Up – Eyes Up – HULK UP!

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.