Skip Navigation LinksHome > November 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 8 > The Effects of Intermittent Stretching Following a 4-Week St...
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b869c7
Original Research

The Effects of Intermittent Stretching Following a 4-Week Static Stretching Protocol: A Randomized Trial

Rancour, Jessica1; Holmes, Clayton F2; Cipriani, Daniel J3

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Rancour, J, Holmes, CF, and Cipriani, DJ. The effects of intermittent stretching following a 4-week static stretching protocol: A randomized trial. J Strength Cond Res 23(8): 2217-2222, 2009-Stretching is performed in rehabilitation and sports conditioning programs. It is not known how often during a week stretching needs to be performed to maintain flexibility. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the influence of intermittent stretching (i.e., 2-3 days/week) on hip range of motion (ROM) following a 4-week, daily stretching program. This study used a randomized, single-blind, test-retest design. Healthy adult subjects, age 18 to 50 years, were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 static stretching protocols: (a) standard protocol or (b) intermittent protocol. All subjects stretched their hamstrings daily for the first 4 weeks. The standard group discontinued all stretching after 4 weeks. The intermittent group continued to stretch 2 to 3 days per week for an additional 4 weeks. All subjects were measured for hip ROM weekly for the full 8 weeks. Thirty-two subjects completed the study (standard group = 14; intermittent group = 18, mean age 24.6 years). Mean hip ROM increased (p < 0.05) for both groups from before protocol (PRE) to Week 4 (standard group gain from 71.4 ± 18.5 degrees to 90.6 ± 20.5 degrees and intermittent group gain from 68.6 ± 15.7 degrees to 89.1 ± 16.8 degrees). During the final 4 weeks, mean hip ROM decreased (p < 0.05) for the standard group from 90.6 ± 20.5 degrees to 83.9 ± 20.3 degrees. Mean hip ROM for the intermittent group did not decrease during the final 4 weeks of the study (89.1 ± 16.8 degrees to 93.2 ± 14.9 degrees, p > 0.05). Intermittent stretching (i.e., 2 or 3 days/week) is sufficient to maintain ROM gains acquired from a prior static stretching program. Clinicians and trainers may educate their clients of the benefits of intermittent stretching to maintain flexibility.

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association



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