A comparison of training methods to increase neck muscle strength

Document Type

Journal Article


IOS Press


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Burnett, A. F., Naumann, F. , Price, R. , & Sanders, R. H. (2005). A comparison of training methods to increase neck muscle strength. Work: A Journal of Assessment, Prevention and Rehabilitation, 25(3), 205-210. Available here


Objective: To compare two neck strength training modalities. Background: Neck injury in pilots flying high performance aircraft is a concern in aviation medicine. Strength training may be an effective means to strengthen the neck and decrease injury risk. Methods: The cohort consisted of 32 age-height-weight matched participants, divided into two experimental groups; the Multi-Cervical Unit (MCU) and Thera-Band tubing groups (THER), and a control (CTRL) group. Ten weeks of training were undertaken and pre-and post isometric strength testing for all groups was performed on the MCU. Comparisons between the three groups were made using a Kruskal-Wallis test and effect sizes between the MCU and the THER groups and the THER and CTRL groups were also calculated. Results: The MCU group displayed the greatest increase in isometric strength (flexion 64.4%, extension 62.9%, left lateral flexion 53.3%, right lateral flexion 49.1%) and differences were only statistically significant (p<0.05) when compared to the CTRL group. Increases in neck strength for the THER group were lower than that shown in the MCU group (flexion 42.0%, extension 29.9%, left lateral flexion 26.7%, right lateral flexion 24.1%). Moderate to large effect sizes were found between the MCU and THER as well as the THER and CTRL groups. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the MCU was the most effective training modality to increase isometric cervical muscle strength. Thera-Band tubing did however, produce moderate gains in isometric neck strength

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