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Evaluating the Effects of a Novel Neuromuscular Neck Training Device on Multiplanar Static and Dynamic Neck Strength

A Pilot Study

Versteegh, Theodore H.1; Dickey, James P.2; Emery, Carolyn A.3; Fischer, Lisa K.4; MacDermid, Joy C.5; Walton, David M.5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 01, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003091
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Versteegh, TH, Dickey, JP, Emery, CA, Fischer, LK, MacDermid, JC, and Walton, DM. Evaluating the effects of a novel neuromuscular neck training device on multiplanar static and dynamic neck strength: A pilot study. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—The neck serves an important function in damping the transference of acceleration forces between the head and the trunk, such as that occurring during contact sports or motor vehicle collisions. An inability to adequately dissipate forces has been proposed as a potential mechanism for clinical conditions such as whiplash or concussion, but current approaches to neck training may not be targeting the correct mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to explore the training effect of a novel neuromuscular strengthening protocol on dynamic and static neck strength. This was a quasiexperimental pilot study design with intervention (n = 8) and control (n = 10) groups. The intervention group was trained (twice/week, ∼10 minutes, for 7 weeks) on a training device that uses self-generated centripetal force to create a dynamic rotational resistance. This protocol is intended to target the ability of the neck muscles to perform coordinated multiplanar plyometric contractions. Both groups also continued with traditional neck strengthening that included training on a straight-plane, isotonic, 4-way neck machine. Performance on the training device showed improvement after routine practice within 1 week, as evidenced by a trend toward increased peak speed in revolutions per minute (RPM). After 7 weeks, peak RPM increased from 122.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 91.3–154.4) to 252.3 (95% CI, 241.5–263.1). There was also a large positive effect size (Hedge's d, 0.68) in isometric composite (multiplane) neck strength favoring the intervention group over the control group (difference, 20 N; 95% CI, −8 to 48). The largest magnitude strength improvement in a single plane was in axial rotation and also favored the intervention group over the control group (Hedge's d, 1.24; difference, 46 N; 95% CI, 9–83). Future studies should explore whether the dynamic training presented here could help reduce the risk of sports concussion, whiplash, or other head-neck trauma.

1School of Physical Therapy, Western University, Elborn College, London, Ontario, Canada;

2School of Kinesiology, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada;

3Sport Injury Prevention Research Center, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada;

4Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; and

5School of Physical Therapy, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Address correspondence to Theodore H. Versteegh, tverstee@uwo.ca.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.