The Journal, Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, covers clinical and experimental research pertinent to human physiology in health and disease and reviews recent 'front-line studies'.
Not long ago researchers looked at neck/shoulder muscle pain in a group of about two hundred adults that had lingering issues for at least 6 months to a year. The participants in the study were given small amounts of daily exercise with elastic tubing. After 10 weeks they were reexamined to see if there was a change of rapid force development, the results were then compared to a control group who did not exercise. Rapid force development, that is the force that can be generated in the early phase of muscle contraction (0–200 ms), significantly improved in the training group even though their strength did not. The study concluded that, "Small daily amounts of progressive resistance training in adults with frequent neck/shoulder pain increases rapid force development and, to a less extent, maximal force capacity."
Rate of force development is highly important as it allows an individual to reach a high level of muscle force in the early phase of a muscle contraction. If a fast limb movement is required ones rapid force development may allow a higher maximal muscle force to be reached that may otherwise not occur.
What is important to see is that even brief resistance exercise can have an effect on the development of rapid strength. Though researchers were looking at means of reducing pain in their population having a solid strength program for the head and neck as opposed to nominal exercise for the head, neck and shoulder area will go a long way in reducing subconcussive forces to protect the student athlete.
Pendulum 4-Way Neck Machines, Upper Arlington High School, Columbus, Ohio