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The Effect of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and Static Stretch Training on Running Mechanics

Caplan, Nicholas1; Rogers, Rebecca2; Parr, Michael K2; Hayes, Philip R1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - pp 1175-1180
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318199d6f6
Original Research

Caplan, N, Rogers, R, Parr, MK, and Hayes, PR. The effect of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and static stretch training on running mechanics. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1175-1180, 2009-There is a long-standing belief that increased range of movement (RoM) at the hip or knee will improve running mechanics; however, few studies have examined the effect of such an increase in RoM. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of 2 methods of stretch training (static and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation [PNF]) on high-velocity running. Eighteen rugby league players were assessed for maximum sprinting velocity. They were randomly allocated into 2 stretch training groups: PNF or static. Each group trained their hamstrings 4 d·w−1 for 5 weeks. Pre- and posttraining subjects were videoed while running at 80% of maximum velocity. The video was digitized to identify biomechanical changes in hip flexion (HF), knee extension (KE), stride length (SL), stride rate (SR), and contact time (tc). Stretch training resulted in gains (p < 0.05) in HF for the static stretch (SS) (4.9%) and PNF (7.6%) groups. There were reductions in KE (p < 0.05) for SS (1.0%) and PNF (1.6%) groups. Stride mechanics were also altered after training. There were increases in SL (p < 0.05) for SS (7.1%) and PNF (9.1%) and a concomitant reduction in SR (p < 0.05) for SS (1.9%) and PNF (4.3%). No changes were observed in tc in either group. In conclusion, both SS and PNF training improved HF RoM and running mechanics during high-velocity running. These findings suggest that stretch training undertaken at the end of regular training is effective in changing running mechanics.

1School of Psychology and Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; and 2School of Health, Community and Education Studies, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Research conducted in Division of Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST.

Address correspondence to Nicholas Caplan, nick.caplan@northumbria.ac.uk.

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association