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  • Author: Shingo Matsuo x
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Genki Hatano, Shigeyuki Suzuki, Shingo Matsuo, Satoshi Kataura, Kazuaki Yokoi, Taizan Fukaya, Mitsuhiro Fujiwara, Yuji Asai and Masahiro Iwata

Context: Hamstring injuries are common, and lack of hamstring flexibility may predispose to injury. Static stretching not only increases range of motion (ROM) but also results in reduced muscle strength after stretching. The effects of stretching on the hamstring muscles and the duration of these effects remain unclear. Objective: To determine the effects of static stretching on the hamstrings and the duration of these effects. Design: Randomized crossover study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: A total of 24 healthy volunteers. Interventions: The torque–angle relationship (ROM, passive torque [PT] at the onset of pain, and passive stiffness) and isometric muscle force using an isokinetic dynamometer were measured. After a 60-minute rest, the ROM of the dynamometer was set at the maximum tolerable intensity; this position was maintained for 300 seconds, while static PT was measured continuously. The torque–angle relationship and isometric muscle force after rest periods of 10, 20, and 30 minutes were remeasured. Main Outcome Measures: Change in static PT during stretching and changes in ROM, PT at the onset of pain, passive stiffness, and isometric muscle force before stretching were compared with 10, 20, and 30 minutes after stretching. Results: Static PT decreased significantly during stretching. Passive stiffness decreased significantly 10 and 20 minutes after stretching, but there was no significant prestretching versus poststretching difference after 30 minutes. PT at the onset of pain and ROM increased significantly after stretching at all rest intervals, while isometric muscle force decreased significantly after all rest intervals. Conclusions: The effect of static stretching on passive stiffness of the hamstrings was not maintained as long as the changes in ROM, stretch tolerance, and isometric muscle force. Therefore, frequent stretching is necessary to improve the viscoelasticity of the muscle–tendon unit. Muscle force decreased for 30 minutes after stretching; this should be considered prior to activities requiring maximal muscle strength.