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Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion


Tags: stretch, odd, neat, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle

Two articles on PainSci cite Behm 2016: (1) Quite a Stretch(2) Stretching for Flexibility

PainSci notes on Behm 2016:

In this study, range of motion and strength were tested in the upper body after static stretching in the lower body, and vice versa. Passive range of motion was modestly improved, which is nifty, but not active ROM or strength, suggesting that “enhanced stretch tolerance was likely the significant factor,” as opposed to a mechanical or neural drive mechanism.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

PURPOSE: There are conflicts in the literature concerning the crossover or non-local effects of stretching. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether static (SS) and dynamic (DS) stretching of the shoulders would affect hip flexor range of motion (ROM) and performance and reciprocally whether SS and DS of the lower body would affect shoulder extension ROM and performance.

METHODS: A randomized crossover study design examined the acute effects of upper and lower body SS and DS on lower and upper body performance measures, respectively. Experimental sessions included upper and lower body control tests, upper body (shoulder horizontal abduction) SS and lower body (hip abduction) SS, upper body (shoulder horizontal abduction and adduction) DS and lower body DS (hip abduction and adduction). Passive static and dynamic ROM (hip flexion, shoulder extension), leg flexor and elbow flexor maximal voluntary contraction isometric force, fatigue endurance and electromyography were measured.

RESULTS: There were significant shoulder ROM increases following lower body SS (P < 0.010, ∆% = 8.2%) and DS (P < 0.019, ∆% = 9%). There was a significant hip flexor ROM (P < 0.016, ∆% = 5.2%) increase following upper body SS. There were no significant main effects or interactions for dynamic ROM or muscle force and activation variables.

CONCLUSION: The lack of stretch-induced force and fatigue changes suggests that rather than a mechanical or neural drive mechanism, an enhanced stretch tolerance was likely the significant factor in the improved ROM.

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