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Acute Effect of Constant Torque and Angle Stretching on Range of Motion, Muscle Passive Properties, and Stretch Discomfort Perception

Cabido, Christian E. T.; Bergamini, Juliana C.; Andrade, André G. P.; Lima, Fernando V.; Menzel, Hans J.; Chagas, Mauro H.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 1050–1057
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000241
Original Research

Abstract: Cabido, CET, Bergamini, JC, Andrade, AGP, Lima, FV, Menzel, HJ, and Chagas, MH. Acute effect of constant torque and angle stretching on range of motion, muscle passive properties, and stretch discomfort perception. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 1050–1057, 2014—The aim of the present study was to compare the acute effects of constant torque (CT) and constant angle (CA) stretching exercises on the maximum range of motion (ROMmax), passive stiffness (PS), and ROM corresponding to the first sensation of tightness in the posterior thigh (FSTROM). Twenty-three sedentary men (age, 19–33 years) went through 1 familiarization session and afterward proceeded randomly to both CA and CT treatment stretching conditions, on separate days. An isokinetic dynamometer was used to analyze hamstring muscles during passive knee extension. The subjects performed 4 stretches of 30 seconds each with a 15-second interval between them. In the CA stretching, the subject reached a certain ROM (95% of ROMmax), and the angle was kept constant. However, in the CT stretching exercise, the volunteer reached a certain resistance torque (corresponding to 95% of ROMmax) and it was kept constant. The results showed an increase in ROMmax for both CA and CT (p < 0.001), but the increase was greater for CT than for CA (CA vs. CT in poststretching, p = 0.002). Although the PS decreased for both CA and CT (p < 0.001), the decrease was greater for CT than for CA (CA vs. CT in poststretching, p = 0.002). The FSTROM increased for both CA and CT, but the increase for CT was greater than that for CA (CA vs. CT in poststretching, p = 0.003). The greater increase in ROMmax for the CT stretch may be explained by greater changes in the biomechanical properties of the muscle-tendon unit and stretch tolerance, as indicated by the results of PS and FSTROM.

Biomechanics Laboratory, School of Physical Education, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Address correspondence to Mauro H. Chagas,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.