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Duration-Dependent Effects of Passive Static Stretching on Musculotendinous Stiffness and Maximal and Rapid Torque and Surface Electromyography Characteristics of the Hamstrings

Palmer, Ty B.; Pineda, Jose G.; Cruz, Megan R.; Agu-Udemba, Chinonye C.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 717–726
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003031
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Palmer, TB, Pineda, JG, Cruz, MR, and Agu-Udemba, CC. Duration-dependent effects of passive static stretching on musculotendinous stiffness and maximal and rapid torque and surface electromyography characteristics of the hamstrings. J Strength Cond Res 33(3): 717–726, 2019—This study aimed to examine the effects of stretching duration on passive musculotendinous stiffness and maximal and rapid torque and surface electromyography (EMG) characteristics of the hamstrings. Thirteen young females (age = 21 ± 2 years) underwent 2 passive straight-leg raise (SLR) assessments and 2 isometric maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the hamstrings before and after 4 randomized conditions that included a control treatment and 3 experimental treatments of passive static stretching for 30-, 60-, and 120-second durations. Passive stiffness was calculated during each SLR as the slope of the final 10% of the angle-torque curve. Isometric peak torque (PT), rate of torque development (RTD), peak EMG amplitude (PEMG), and rate of EMG rise (RER) were extracted from each MVC. Results indicated that PT and PEMG were not affected (p = 0.993 and 0.422, respectively) by any of the experimental treatments. Rate of torque development and RER decreased from pre- to post-treatment for 120 seconds (p = 0.001 and 0.001) but not for the control (p = 0.616 and 0.466), 30- (p = 0.628 and 0.612), and 60-second (p = 0.396 and 0.815) interventions. The slope coefficient decreased from pre- to post-treatment for the 30- (p = 0.001), 60- (p = 0.002), and 120-second (p = 0.001) stretching interventions but not for the control (p = 0.649). Given the significant stiffness reductions and lack of changes in PT and RTD for the 30- and 60-second interventions, it may be advantageous for practitioners who are using hamstring passive stretching as part of a warm-up routine, to perform such stretching on their clients for short (30–60 seconds) rather than moderate (120-second) stretching durations.

Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Address correspondence to Dr. Ty B. Palmer, ty.palmer@ttu.edu.

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.