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Int J Sports Med. 2011 Jul;32(7):496-502. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1275297. Epub 2011 May 12.

Muscle oxygenation and fascicle length during passive muscle stretching in ballet-trained subjects.

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Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan.


Muscle stretching transiently decreases muscle-blood flow corresponding to a muscle extension. It may disturb a balance between muscular oxygen demand and oxygen supply to muscles and reduce muscle oxygenation. However, muscle-stretching training may improve blood circulatory condition, resulting in the maintained muscle oxygenation during muscle stretching. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in muscle-blood volume (tHb) and tissue oxygenation index (TOI) during muscle stretching determined by using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in ballet-trained (BT) and untrained (C) subjects. 11 BT women who regularly perform muscle stretching and 11 C women participated in this study. Fascicle lengths, tHb and TOI in the tibialis anterior muscle were measured during passive plantar flexion from ankle joint angles of 120° (baseline) to 140°, 160°, the maximal comfortable position without pain (CP), and the maximal position (MP). At 160°, the % fascicle-length change from baseline was significantly lower in the BT than the C group, however, for the changes in tHb and TOI the significant interaction effect between the 2 groups was not detected. On the other hand, although the increases in the fascicle length from baseline to CP and MP were greater in BT than C, the tHb and TOI reductions were comparable between groups. We concluded that it appears that BT can extend their muscles without excessive reduction in muscle-blood volume and muscle oxygenation at relatively same but absolutely greater muscle-stretching levels than C. The attenuation in these indices during high-level muscle stretching may be associated with the repetitive muscle stretching of long-term ballet training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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