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Can J Appl Physiol. 2001 Jun;26(3):261-72.

Factors affecting force loss with prolonged stretching.

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  • 1School of Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5S7, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors underlying the force loss occurring after prolonged, static, passive stretching. Subjects were tested before and 5-10 min following 20 min of static, passive stretching of the quadriceps (N=12) or a similar period of no stretch (control, N=6). Measurements included isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force, surface integrated electromyographic (iEMG) activity of the quadriceps and hamstrings, evoked contractile properties (twitch and tetanic force), and quadriceps inactivation as measured by the interpolated twitch technique (ITT). Following stretching, there was a significant 12% decrement in MVC with no significant changes in the control group. Muscle inactivation as measured by the ITT and iEMG increased by 2.8% and 20.2%, respectively. While twitch forces significantly decreased 11.7%, there was no change in tetanic force post-stretch. Although possible increases in muscle compliance affected twitch force, a lack of tetanic force change would suggest that post-stretch force decrements are more affected by muscle inactivation than changes in muscle elasticity.

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