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Cervical muscle strength measurement in two groups of elite Greco-Roman and free style wrestlers and a group of non-athletic subjects


Background: Free style and Greco-Roman are two types of wrestling.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the maximal isometric strength of cervical extension (ISCE) and the maximal isometric strength of cervical flexion (ISCF) in two groups of elite wrestlers and a group of non-athletic subjects.

Methods: Fourteen elite Greco-Roman wrestlers (aged 19–25 years), 16 elite free style wrestlers (aged 18–25 years), and 16 non-athletic subjects (aged 18–25 years) participated in this study. All wrestlers competed at international level with the Iranian national team. Maximum voluntary contractions (MVC) of cervical extensor and flexor muscles were measured using a custom made device. The ratios of ISCE to weight (ISCE/weight), ISCF to weight (ISCF/weight), and ISCF to ISCE (ISCF/ISCE) were calculated for group comparisons. Pearson product moment test was used to estimate correlation between maximal isometric strength measurements and anthropometric variables. A one way analysis of variance was computed to compare ISCE/weight, ISCF/weight, and ISCF/ISCE among groups.

Results: There was significant correlation between maximum cervical extension and flexion strengths and weight in all groups (p<0.05, n = 46). The ratios of cervical muscle strengths to weight were significantly higher in wrestlers than in non-athletic subjects (p<0.00). Greco-Roman wrestlers appeared to be stronger than free style wrestlers following comparison of all ratios.

Conclusions: Neck muscle force measurements may be a useful test for athletes in combat sports like wrestling. They can be applied to identify the weakness of a group of muscles in the neck area and to devise a proper training program.

  • ISCE, isometric strength of cervical extension
  • ISCF, isometric strength of cervical flexion
  • MVC, maximum voluntary contractions
  • cervical injury
  • isometric force
  • neck pain
  • strength testing
  • wrestling

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