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Phys Ther Sport. 2006 Nov;7(4):195-200. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2006.07.002. Epub 2006 Oct 16.

Acute changes in passive stiffness and range of motion post-stretching.

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  • 1Institute of Sport and Recreation Research New Zealand, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand; Physical Rehabilitation Research Centre, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand.



To investigate the change in passive hamstring stiffness and knee joint range of motion (ROM) following a single bout of passive hamstring stretching with or without active movement post-stretch.


A Kincom dynamometer was used to measure knee joint ROM and passive stiffness in nine participants. Each participant completed three conditions: (1) a baseline test of knee extension ROM and passive stiffness, 4×20 second static stretches of the hamstring muscles and repeat testing immediately post-stretch and at 5min intervals for 20min; (2) the same procedure with the addition of 90s of isotonic knee flexion and extension between tests over the 20min post-stretching period; (3) the control condition involving repeat tests only over 20min.


Knee joint ROM increased by 4-5° post-stretch in both intervention conditions, relative to the control condition, but there was no clear evidence of the ROM increase lasting longer than 5min. Both intervention conditions showed a small decrease in passive stiffness post-stretch and it is likely this effect lasted for at least 20min.


An isolated bout of stretching produced a small, short-lived change in ROM and stiffness. This has implications for the design of warm-up protocols.

Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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