Effect of Vibration on Forward Split Flexibility and Pain Perception in Young Male Gymnasts

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Serious stretching in many sports involves discomfort and is often an early ceiling on improvements.

Purpose:

To continue investigation of the use of vibration to enhance acute range of motion while assessing the influence of vibration and stretching on pressure-to-pain threshold perception.

Methods:

Ten young male gymnasts were assessed for split range of motion. One side split was randomly assigned as the experimental condition, and the other side split was assigned as the control. Both side splits were performed on a vibration device; the experimental condition had the device turned on and the control condition was performed with the device turned off. In addition, the athletes were assessed for pressure-to-pain transition using an algometer on the biceps femoris (stretched muscle) and vastus lateralis (nonstretched muscle) bilaterally.

Results:

Pre-post difference scores between the vibrated split (most improved) and the nonvibrated split were statistically different (P = .001, 95% confidence interval of the difference 2.3 to 5.8 cm). Following the stretching protocol, the force values for the pressure-to-pain threshold comparing the vibrated and nonvibrated biceps femoris muscle were not statistically different. The nonstretched vastus lateralis muscle also showed no statistical difference in pressure-to-pain threshold between the vibration and nonvibration conditions.

Conclusion:

This study showed that vibration improved split range of motion over stretching alone, but did not show a difference in pressure-to-pain perception in either the stretched or nonstretched muscles.

Sands and Kinser are with Sports Science, United States Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs, CO; McNeal is with Physical Education, Health, and Recreation, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA; Stone is with Physical Education, Exercise, and Sport Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN; and Haff is with Human Performance and Applied Exercise Science, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV.