Within this study both groups increased their passive and active ROMs, although the Microstretching group had the greater improvements in both active and passive ROMs. Both groups recorded greater increases in active rather than passive ROM. Part of this is a result of the anatomic makeup of the hip joint; the maximum abduction in the hip joint alone is 45 degrees (13). When the leg is abducted beyond 50 degrees, the pelvis and the spine compensate and the dancer rotates the hip so it no longer is abducting but flexing in another plane (16). Consequently, corrected angles and absolute angles were taken to see the differences that could result from compensatory techniques that dancers use to get the appearance of extra ROM. Data reported that absolute ROMs increased to a greater extent than corrected, indicating that compensatory techniques were used by participants.
The most interesting aspect of the study was the greater increase in active ROM compared to passive ROM by the intervention group; this was evident in both absolute and corrected ROMs. This suggests that adaptation has occurred within the muscle itself to a greater extent than structures of the hip joint. This gives credence to Apostolopoulos's theory (2) that the specified low intensity and positioning of the stretches allows adaptation to occur within the muscle structure by depressing the response of the sympathetic nervous system and dampening the muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organ. It also could be hypothesized that the intervention group had improved the reciprocal inhibition within the hamstring muscle group, thereby allowing greater ROM through reduced resistance to hip flexor action. Apostolopoulos (2) implies that when an individual carries out Microstretching training properly, the integrity of the connective tissue and muscle is maintained and the exercisers can develop a “flexibility reserve.” This, according to Apostolopoulos (2), is the development and storage of an increased ROM in the musculoskeletal system that enhances performance by allowing movements to be executed without excessive tension, decreasing the resistance of the extended muscles and serving as a safeguard against injury. However, because Apostolopoulos has failed to produce clinical evidence-based research into the process and only suggested why and how Microstretching works based on assumptions using physiological facts and knowledge into the mechanisms of the technique, further in-depth research is required on claims of significantly decreasing healing times and scarring in muscle tissue.
In conclusion, in the present study Microstretching has been shown to develop a greater range of motion in the hip joint than static stretching over a 6-week intervention period. The greatest increases were noted for active ROM, suggesting that the adaptation occurred within the musculo-tendon unit rather than the structures of the joint capsule.
The utilization of Microstretching as part of an athlete's/dancer's regimen seems beneficial, although the present study has not answered some of Apostolopoulos's other claims.2 The exercises should be carried out 2 hours posttraining with an emphasis on body stability and low-intensity exertion.
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