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Comparison of Ballistic and Static Stretching on Hamstring Muscle Length Using an Equal Stretching Dose

Covert, Christopher A1; Alexander, Melanie P2; Petronis, John J3; Davis, D Scott3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 11 - pp 3008-3014
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bf3bb0
Original Research

Covert, CA, Alexander, MP, Petronis, JJ, and Davis, DS. Comparison of ballistic and static stretching on hamstring muscle length using an equal stretching dose. J Strength Cond Res 24(11): 3008-3014, 2010-The purpose of this investigation was to determine which stretching technique, static or ballistic, is most effective for increasing hamstring muscle length when delivered at the same stretching dose over a 4-week training program. A single-blind, randomized controlled trial design was used in this investigation. Thirty-two participants (16 women and 16 men) between the ages of 18 and 27 years participated in the study. All participants who had a pre-training knee extension angle of less than 20° were excluded from the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: ballistic stretching, static stretching, or control group. Participants in the experimental stretching groups (ballistic and static stretching) performed one 30-second stretch 3 times per week for a period of 4 weeks. Statistical analysis consisted of a 2-way analysis of variance (group × sex) with an a priori alpha level of 0.05. No interaction between group and sex was identified (p = 0.4217). The main effect of sex was not statistically significant (p = 0.2099). The main effect for group was statistically significant at p < 0.0001. Post hoc analysis revealed that both static and ballistic stretching group produced greater increases in hamstring length than the control group. The static stretching group demonstrated a statistically greater increase in hamstring muscle length than the ballistic stretching group. No injuries or complications were attributed to either stretching program.

1Mountain River Physical Therapy, Parkersburg, West Virginia; 2The PT Group, Jeannette, Pennsylvania; and 3Department of Human Performance and Exercise Science, Division of Physical Therapy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Address correspondence to Dr. Duane S. Davis, dsdavis@hsc.wvu.edu.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association