Objective: To investigate the potential etiology of a loss of neck control injury in female standard ballroom dancers. The median frequency (MF) as measured by electromyography (EMG) of the left upper trapezius (UT), left splenius capitius (SPL), and right sternocleidomastoid (SCM) of injured dancers was compared to non-injured dancers. This comparison was performed to identify whether dancers with a history of loss of neck control have a greater amount of fatigue than those with no history of this particular injury. Design and Setting: A 2 x 6 factorial design was used for this investigation. The independent variables were group (injured vs. non-injured) and time (before and after the three rounds of dancing). The dependent variables were MF as measured by EMG, range of motion, and neck length. All testing was performed at the university biomechanics laboratory and ballroom dance studio. Subjects: Twenty female subjects (10 injured group {mean height 167.40 ± 4.12 cm and weight 59.30 ± 5.41 kg}, 10 non-injured group {mean height 166.76 ± 4.62 cm and weight 58.93 ± 5.30 kg}), with at least one year experience in competitive ballroom dancing, in the standard division participated in this study. All subjects competed at a Dancesport competition either in the novice, pre-championship, and/or amateur standard classifications. Inclusion criteria for the injured group included female ballroom dancers who had a loss of neck control episode. Measurements: Surface EMG activity was recorded from the left UT, left SPL, and right SCM muscles before and after dancing the five standard dances. Results: The decrease in EMG MF was not significant between groups. There was no difference in neck lengths from the external occipital protuberance to inferior angle of the scapula between groups. There were also no significant differences in range of motion of left and right lateral flexion and extension in either group from pre to post dancing. Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, subjects with a history of neuromuscular neck injury did not appear to have acute fatigue of the three muscles studied here following the routine used in this study.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





ballroom dancing, neck injuries, electromyography, muscular fatigue