Intrarater Reliability of Neck Strength Measurement of Rugby Union Players Using a Handheld Dynamometer

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Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this study was to investigate the isometric neck strength profiles of rugby union players and to assess the intrarater reliability of isometric neck strength measurement using a handheld dynamometer.

Methods

Twenty-five male, academy-level, rugby union players (forwards [n = 16], backs [n = 9]) were tested on 2 occasions during a training week 2 days apart. Isometric strength of the neck musculature was tested using a handheld dynamometer, for flexion (F), extension (E), left side flexion (LSF), and right side flexion (RSF). The average of 3 trials for each test position was used for statistical analysis. The following isometric neck strength values were obtained: F, E, F:E, LSF, RSF, LSF:RSF, and total isometric strength.

Results

Intrarater reliability intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.80 to 0.92 (intraclass correlation coefficient values: F, 0.85; E, 0.85; F:E, 0.85; LSF, 0.80; RSF, 0.85; LSF:RSF, 0.91; total isometric strength, 0.92), thus indicating excellent reliability in all instances. Forwards recorded significantly greater E scores compared with backs (637.10 ± 75.15 N vs 537.87 ± 82.25 N). Forwards also recoded significantly greater total isometric neck strength scores (2151.96 ± 231.11 N vs 1814.21 ± 211.26 N).

Conclusion

The results of this study provide isometric neck strength values for the forward and back units in the rugby union and indicate that a handheld dynamometer may be a reliable tool for assessing isometric neck strength in this population.

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