The Acute Effects of Hold–Relax Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation With Vibration Therapy on Glenohumeral Internal-Rotation Deficit

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation

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W. Steven Tucker
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Stephen W. Slone
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Clinicians use various stretching techniques to prevent the onset of and treat glenohumeral internal-rotation deficit (GIRD). It is unknown which stretching technique is the most effective.


To investigate the acute effects of hold–relax proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) with and without vibration therapy on internal rotation in individuals with GIRD.


2-within (stretch × time) comparison with repeated measures.


Controlled laboratory.


11 male current and former overhead athletes (19.8 ± 1.4 y, 184.5 ± 4.5 cm, 91.8 ± 11.6 kg) who presented with GIRD.


At 3 separate sessions, participants performed 1 of 3 randomly assigned stretches: hold–relax PNF (PNF), hold–relax PNF in combination with a whole-body-vibration unit set at 30 Hz (PNF-V), and static stretch (SS). Pretest and posttest maximum passive glenohumeral internal-rotation measurements were taken with a digital protractor.

Main Outcome Measures:

The dependent variables were the mean glenohumeral internal-rotation measurements taken at the pretest and posttest. The influence of stretch (PNF, PNF-V, and SS) and time (pretest and posttest) on mean glenohumeral internal rotation was compared using a 3 × 2 factorial ANOVA with repeated measures on both variables (P ≤ .05).


There was a stretch-by-time interaction (F2,20 = 34.697, P < .001). Post hoc testing revealed that the PNF posttest (73.0° ± 10.4°) was greater than the PNF pretest (60.0° ± 11.8°), the PNF-V posttest (74.7° ± 10.0°) was greater than the PNF-V pretest (57.4° ± 10.4°), and the SS posttest (67.0° ± 10.7°) was greater than the SS pretest (60.1° ± 9.4°). When comparing the posttest values, the PNF-V posttest was greater than the SS posttest.


All 3 stretches (PNF, PNF-V, and SS) resulted in acute increases in glenohumeral internal rotation in individuals presenting with GIRD. The PNF-V stretch resulted in the greatest increase and would be the most clinically beneficial for patients with GIRD.

Tucker is with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR. Slone is with the School of Sport, Recreation, and Exercise Sciences, Lindenwood University–Belleville, Belleville, IL.

Address author correspondence to Steven Tucker at
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