Masseter Muscle Activity in Track and Field Athletes: A Pilot Study

Hideyuki Nukaga1, Tomotaka Takeda1, *, Kazunori Nakajima1, Keishiro Narimatsu1, Takamitsu Ozawa1, Keiichi Ishigami1, Kazuo Funato2
1 Department of Sports Dentistry, Tokyo Dental College, Tokyo, Japan, 2-9-18, Misaki, Chiyoda, Tokyo, 101-0061, Japan
2 Department of Graduate Course of Training Science Director Sports Center Nippon Sports Science University, Kamoshida, Aoba, Yokohama, 227-0033, Japan

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© Nukaga et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Sports Dentistry, Tokyo Dental College, 2-9-18, Misaki, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0061, Japan; E-mail:


Teeth clenching has been shown to improve remote muscle activity (by augmentation of the Hoffmann reflex), and joint fixation (by decreased reciprocal inhibition) in the entire body. Clenching could help maintain balance, improve systemic function, and enhance safety. Teeth clenching from a sports dentistry viewpoint was thought to be important and challenging. Therefore, it is quite important to investigate mastication muscles’ activity and function during sports events for clarifying a physiological role of the mastication muscle itself and involvement of mastication muscle function in whole body movement. Running is a basic motion of a lot of sports; however, a mastication muscles activity during this motion was not clarified. Throwing and jumping operation were in a same situation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence or absence of masseter muscle activity during track and field events. In total, 28 track and field athletes took part in the study. The Multichannel Telemetry system was used to monitor muscle activity, and the electromyograms obtained were synchronized with digital video imaging. The masseter muscle activity threshold was set 15% of maximum voluntary clenching. As results, with few exceptions, masseter muscle activity were observed during all analyzed phases of the 5 activities, and that phases in which most participants showed masseter muscle activity were characterized by initial acceleration, such as in the short sprint, from the commencement of throwing to release in both the javelin throw and shot put, and at the take-off and landing phases in both jumps.

Keywords: Clenching, High jump, Javelin throw, Long jump, Masseter muscle, Short sprint, Shot put, Track and Field.