An electromyographic comparison of neck conditioning exercises in healthy controls

Document Type

Journal Article


Computing, Health and Science


Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science




This article was originally published as: Burnett, A. F., Coleman, J., & Netto, K. (2008). An electromyographic comparison of neck conditioning exercises in healthy controls. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(2), 447-454. Original article available here


The purpose of this study was to compare surface electromyography (EMG) activation levels of selected neck muscles for two common neck-training modalities (Thera-Band and Cybex). Seventeen asymptomatic subjects (eight men and nine women) with a mean age 23.4 years were recruited. EMG activation normalized to maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) was measured with subjects performing exercises with green, blue, and black Thera-Bands and 50%, 70%, and 90% of 3RM for the Cybex modality. Four variables were used to depict exercise intensity: average and peak EMG activation in the concentric and eccentric phases. Significant differences (P ≤ 0.05) in EMG activation were evident when comparing intensities of the Cybex modality with each other and when comparing the Cybex intensities with Thera-Band intensities in most cases. Minimal differences were found among differing intensities of Thera-Band. Thera-Band exercise resulted in low-level EMG activation (range, flexion 3.8-15.7% MVIC; range, extension 20.2-34.8% MVIC); therefore, such exercise may be useful in rehabilitation programs. Cybex exercise (range, flexion 20.9-83.5% MVIC; range, extension 40.6-95.8% MVIC) may be useful for occupation-related injury prevention. However, exercise prescription should be undertaken with care as the mechanical loading on passive spinal structures is unknown.


Link to publisher version (DOI)