An electromyographic comparison of neck conditioning exercises in healthy controls

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of 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)