Isokinetic neck strength profile of senior elite rugby union players

J Sci Med Sport. 2008 Apr;11(2):96-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.01.009. Epub 2007 Jun 8.


To delineate and compare the isokinetic neck strength profile of senior elite rugby players. One hundred and eighty-nine rugby players (mean; 95% confidence intervals: 24.31; 23.87-24.75 years) were sampled from South African provincial teams and assessed anthropometrically and isokinetically according to a set protocol. Specially designed equipment was used to perform the isokinetic assessment and gathered data were analysed according to positional categories (front, second, back row and backline players). Second row forwards performed the best in the measure of peak flexion (44.04; 40.41-47.67Nm) and lateral flexion right (69.42; 63.36-75.48Nm) and left (66.31; 61.21-71.41Nm) torque, while the front row forwards performed best in peak extension torque (65.60; 62.12-69.08Nm). Few significant differences (p<0.05) existed between the forward positional categories. However, they all proved to be significantly (p<0.05) stronger and more powerful than the backline players. Peak torque values relative to body weight indicated much less variability between all positional categories. Cervical flexor to extensor ratios showed that front row forwards (65; 61.94-68.06%) had significantly (p<0.05) lower ratios than the other positional categories. Absolute peak torque is an important positional prerequisite, especially among the front row forwards. Isokinetic neck strength data presented here provides a benchmark for the effective and quantified comparison of neck strength variables, assisting with preparticipation screening and the effective rehabilitation of injured senior rugby union players.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Neck Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Neck Muscles / physiology*
  • South Africa