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J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1997 Jul;26(1):7-13.

Comparison of nonballistic active knee extension in neural slump position and static stretch techniques on hamstring flexibility.

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  • 1University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903, USA.


Nonballistic, active range of motion exercises have been advocated as more effective than static stretching for increasing range of motion, yet no published data exist to support this claim. This study compared the effect of nonballistic, repetitive active knee extension movements performed in a neural slump sitting position with static stretching technique on hamstring flexibility. Forty healthy, adult volunteer subjects with limited right hamstring flexibility (i.e., minimum of 15 degrees loss of active knee extension measured with femur held at 90 degrees of hip flexion) were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group 1 (static stretch) performed a 30-second stretch twice daily. Group 2 (active stretch) performed 30 repetitions of active knee extension while sitting in a neural slump position twice daily. Group 3 served as a control. Hamstring flexibility was determined by an active knee extension test before and after 6 weeks of stretching. Goniometric measurement of knee joint flexion angle was obtained from videotape recording of the active knee extension test. A 3 (group) x 2 (test) repeated measures analysis of variance and subsequent Tukey post hoc testing revealed no significant difference in knee joint range of motion gains between the static (mean = 8.9 degrees) and active stretch (mean = 10.2 degrees). Both stretch groups' knee joint range of motion improved significantly (p < .05) more than the control group. We conclude that 6 weeks of nonballistic, repetitive active knee extensions (30 repetitions, twice daily) performed in a neural slump sitting position improves hamstring flexibility in uninjured subjects, but is no different compared with static stretching (30 seconds, twice daily).

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