Special training methods in wrestling have been assumed to improve the stability and tolerance of the neck. The aim of this study was to measure the neck strength levels reached in an extremely physically demanding sport. A neck strength measurement system was used to measure various parameters of maximal isometric neck strength in Finnish senior wrestlers competing at the international level. The results were compared with those achieved by junior wrestlers and a control group. The means (SD) of the maximal isometric neck strength for cervical rotation were 0.4 (0.1) Nm[middle dot]kg-1 for the senior wrestlers, 0.3 (0.1) Nm[middle dot]kg-1 for the junior wrestlers, and 0.2 (0.1) Nm[middle dot]kg-1 for the nonsportsmen. The respective results for cervical flexion were 4.4 (1.4), 3.8 (0.7), and 2.3 (0.8) Nm[middle dot]kg-1; for extension, 6.0 (1.1), 5.9 (0.7), and 4.0 (0.9) Nm[middle dot]kg-1. Neck strength in flexion seems to improve more than in extension as the result of wrestling. The greatest difference was found in rotation, which in the senior wrestlers was almost 3 times that in the nonsportsmen. There was great individual variation within all groups, and the results revealed weaknesses in all directions. Maximal neck strength measurements provide information useful in planning training programs to correct possible muscle deficiency and imbalance.
(C) 2003 National Strength and Conditioning Association