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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009 Dec;49(4):401-9.

Effects of static stretching on the hamstrings-to-quadriceps ratio and electromyographic amplitude in men.

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  • 1Biophysics Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of posterior thigh and leg stretching on leg flexion peak torque (PT), leg extension PT, the hamstrings-to-quadriceps (H:Q) ratio, and electromyographic (EMG) amplitude of the hamstrings and quadriceps in recreationally-active men.


Fifteen men (mean age + or - SD = 22.0 + or - 4.4 years; body mass = 82.7 + or - 16.1 kg; height = 173.1 + or - 6.8 cm) performed three maximal voluntary concentric isokinetic leg extension and flexion muscle actions at three randomly ordered angular velocities (60, 180, and 300 degrees x s(-1)) before and after hamstring and calf static stretching. The stretching protocol consisted of 1 unassisted and 3 assisted static stretching exercises designed to stretch the posterior muscles of the thigh and leg. Four repetitions of each stretch were held for 30 s with 20-s rest between repetitions.


These findings indicated no significant (P>0.05) stretching-induced changes in leg flexion PT, leg extension PT, or EMG amplitude at 60, 180, or 300 degrees .s-1. However, the non-significant (P>0.05) 2-4% increases in leg extension PT combined with the non-significant (P>0.05) 1-2% decreases in leg flexion PT resulted in the significant (P < or = 0.05) 2-9% decreases in the H:Q ratio from pre- to post-stretching for all three velocities.


These findings suggested that static stretching of the hamstrings and calf muscles may decrease the H:Q ratio. These results may be useful for athletic trainers, physical therapists, and other allied health professionals who may use the H:Q ratio as a clinical assessment.

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