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The Efficacy of Dynamic Contract-Relax Stretching on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness Among Healthy Individuals

A Randomized Clinical Trial

Xie, Yanfei MPhil*; Feng, Beibei MPhil; Chen, Kedi BSc (PT); Andersen, Lars L. PhD‡,§; Page, Phil PhD, PT; Wang, Yuling MPH, PhD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2018 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 28–36
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000442
Original Research

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of dynamic contract-relax stretching on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the calf muscle of healthy individuals.

Design: Randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Research laboratory.

Participants: Three groups of 16 healthy participants (n = 48) were recruited by convenience sampling.

Interventions: Three sets of resisted bilateral heel-raising exercises until exhaustion were conducted to initiate DOMS. Participants were randomly allocated into control group without any interventions, dynamic contract-relax stretching (DS), or static stretching (SS) groups. Dynamic contract-relax stretching and SS groups performed DS and SS, respectively, on the dominant leg twice a day for 5 consecutive days (before time points of outcome measurements at 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours postexercise, respectively).

Main Outcome Measures: Muscle soreness, lower leg girth, pressure pain threshold (PPT), range of motion (ROM), and muscle strength were measured before exercise, immediately after, and at 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours postexercise.

Results: There was a significant effect of time in all outcome measures including muscle soreness, lower leg girth, PPT, ROM, and muscle strength; however, there were no significant group differences or group by time interactions.

Conclusions: The effect of DS on relieving DOMS in the calf muscle is insignificant in this study. Further evidence is needed to prove the efficacy of DS on DOMS.

Clinical Relevance: Stretching is commonly recommended before and after exercise; however, this study showed no significant impact of DS or SS in treating DOMS.

*Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, PRC China;

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China;

National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark;

§Physical Activity and Human Performance Group, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark; and

Performance Health, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Corresponding Author: Yuling Wang, MPH, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China 510655 (

P. Page works for Performance Health, who produces the Stretch Strap used in this study. The remaining authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received October 12, 2016

Accepted March 02, 2017

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.