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Journal of Sports Sciences


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Acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on


hamstring eccentric isokinetic strength and unilateral
hamstring to quadriceps strength ratios
a b c d
Francisco Ayala , Mark De Ste Croix , Pilar Sainz De Baranda & Fernando Santonja
a
Sports Research Centre, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche , Spain
b
Faculty of Applied Sciences, School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire ,
Gloucester , United Kingdom
c
Faculty of Sport and Physical Education of Toledo , University of Castilla La Mancha , Spain
d
Department of Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine , V. de la Arrixaca University Hospital ,
Murcia , Spain
Published online: 12 Dec 2012.

To cite this article: Francisco Ayala , Mark De Ste Croix , Pilar Sainz De Baranda & Fernando Santonja (2013) Acute effects
of static and dynamic stretching on hamstring eccentric isokinetic strength and unilateral hamstring to quadriceps strength
ratios, Journal of Sports Sciences, 31:8, 831-839, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2012.751119

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.751119

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Journal of Sports Sciences, 2013
Vol. 31, No. 8, 831839, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.751119

Acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on hamstring eccentric


isokinetic strength and unilateral hamstring to quadriceps strength
ratios

FRANCISCO AYALA1, MARK DE STE CROIX2, PILAR SAINZ DE BARANDA3, &


FERNANDO SANTONJA4
1
Sports Research Centre, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Spain, 2Faculty of Applied Sciences, School of Sport and
Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester, United Kingdom, 3Faculty of Sport and Physical Education of Toledo,
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University of Castilla La Mancha, Spain, and 4Department of Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine, V. de la Arrixaca
University Hospital, Murcia, Spain

(Accepted 15 November 2012)

Abstract
The main purposes of this study were to investigate the acute effects of static and dynamic lower limb stretching routines: (a)
on peak torque, total external work and joint angle at peak torque of the hamstrings during maximal eccentric isokinetic leg
flexion; (b) on unilateral hamstring to quadriceps (H/Q) strength ratios; as well as (c) to determine whether static and
dynamic routines elicit similar responses. A total of 49 active adults completed the following intervention protocols in a
randomised order on separate days: (a) non-stretching (control condition), (b) static stretching, and (c) dynamic stretching.
After the stretching or control intervention, eccentric isokinetic peak torque, the angle of peak torque and total external work
were assessed with participants prone at 1.04 and 3.14 rad  s71. Unilateral strength ratios of the knee were also recorded.
Measures were compared via a fully-within-groups factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA). There were no main effects for
eccentric isokinetic peak torque, angle of peak torque, total external work and unilateral H/Q strength ratios. The results
suggest that dynamic and static stretching has no influence on eccentric strength profile and unilateral H/Q strength ratios
and hence both forms of stretching do not reduce these two primary risk factors for muscle injury.

Keywords: strength training, isokinetic, knee, muscle strains, torque

Thacker, Gilchrist, Stroup, & Kimsey, 2004; Woods,


Introduction
Bishop, & Jones, 2007). In addition, some authors
Stretching activities before exercise are thought to have suggested that pre-event stretching might
prepare the musculo-skeletal system for physical increase the risk of injury arguing that stretching
activity and sport events by improving joint range could compromise muscle strength (Shrier, 1999;
of motion (Kubo, Kanehisa, & Fukinaga, 2002), thus Weldon & Hill, 2003). However, neither the recent
promoting improved performance (Shellock & Pre- hypothesis nor the traditional suggestion regarding
ntice, 1985) and reducing the relative risk of injury the role of pre-exercise stretching as a preventive
(Croisier, Forthomme, Namurois, Vanderthommen, measure to reduce the relative risk of injury have
& Crielaard, 2002; Witvrouw, Mahieu, Danneels, & been verified because of the inappropriate design of
McNair, 2004). Consequently, athletes, coaches and the studies that have addressed this controversial
sport practitioners regularly include stretching ex- issue. For instance, Shrier (1999) and Woods et al.
ercises both in training programmes and in pre-event (2007) pointed out that the studies that have
warm-up activities (Gleim & McHugh, 1997). addressed the effects of stretching for injury risk
Recent literature has questioned the traditional reduction prior to exercise have used protocols with
hypothesis that supported the practice of pre-exercise poor definitions of stretching protocols (intensity,
stretching as a preventive measure to reduce the exercises) and used excessive stretching demands
relative risk of injury (McHugh & Cosgrave, 2010; (frequency and duration of stretching sessions

Correspondence: Francisco Ayala, Centro de Investigacion del Deporte, Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, Avda. de la Universidad s/n., 03202 Elche,
Alicante, Spain. E-mail: Franciscoayalarodriguez@gmail.com

2013 Taylor & Francis


832 F. Ayala et al.

performed per week). Another potential limitation of changes do occur it may predispose the athlete to
these studies is that they investigated the effect of be more prone to hamstring strains (Brockett,
stretching on the rate of total injuries and the effect Morgan, & Proske, 2004; Witvrouw et al., 2004).
of stretching on the occurrence of a specific type of Additionally, it is unclear if stretching impairs
injury has not been explored. unilateral H/Q ratios and increases the risk of
To elucidate the role of pre-exercise stretching on hamstring strains.
injury prevention, a recent literature review by There are various stretching techniques, including
McHugh and Cosgrave (2010) stated that injury ballistic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation,
risk in sports is multi-factorial and, in general, is static and dynamic stretching (Alter, 1997; Hedrick,
sport specific. Therefore the effects of pre-exercise 2000). Among these, static and dynamic stretching
stretching on the likelihood of sustaining an injury techniques are widely used in sport because the
should be analysed in relation to the specific type of application of this type of stretching is easy, safe and
injury (i.e. muscle strains, ligament tears) and focus assistance is not required (Alter, 1997; Hedrick,
on a particular primary risk factor associated with 2000). To our knowledge, no studies have investi-
that injury. Furthermore, Young and Behm (2002) gated the acute effects of pre-exercise static and
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have also suggested that stretching protocols should dynamic stretching on hamstring eccentric strength.
be representative of typical warm-ups used by In addition, few studies have determined the acute
athletes and recreationally active people to prepare effects of pre-exercise stretching on unilateral
for exercise or competition to make evidence-based strength ratios, and those data that are available are
recommendations. conflicting (Costa et al., 2009a, 2009b).
Several epidemiologic studies have reported that Therefore, the main purposes of this study were to
hamstring muscle-tendon strain is one of the most investigate acute effects of static and dynamic lower
common injuries in sports involving activities with a limb stretching routines: (a) on peak torque, total
high intensity of stretch-shortening cycles (i.e. external work and joint angle at peak torque of the
soccer, basketball, volleyball) and including sudden hamstrings during maximal eccentric isokinetic leg
acceleration and deceleration, rapid changes of flexion; (b) on unilateral H/Q strength ratios; and (c)
directions, jumping and landing tasks (Agel, Arendt, determine whether static and dynamic routines elicit
& Bershadsky, 2005; Bahr & Krosshaug, 2005; similar responses.
Hootman, Dick, & Agel, 2007). Injury incidence
data have indicated that hamstring strains tend to
occur during the later part of the swing phase of Method
running when the hamstrings are exercising eccen-
Participants
trically (energy absorption) to decelerate the knee
extension movement generated by the quadriceps, Forty-nine participants, consisting of 25 men (age
that is, as the muscle develops tension while 21.3 + 2.5 years; stature 176.3 + 8.4 cm; body
lengthening to stabilise the knee joint (Bahr & mass 74.4 + 10.8 kg) and 24 women (age
Krosshaug, 2005; Sherry & Best, 2004). It has 20.4 + 1.8 years; stature 164.7 + 7.6 cm; body
been suggested that it is during this rapid eccentric mass 62.9 + 8.6 kg) who were recreationally ac-
muscle action, when the hamstrings are in a relatively tive adults (engaging in 25 hours of moderate
stretched position compared with the anatomical physical activity 35 days per week) completed the
position (angles ranging from 408 to 08 of knee current study. Participants were instructed to avoid
flexion), that the muscle is most vulnerable to injury their regular training throughout the experimental
(Beynnon, Johnson, Abate, Fleming, & Nichols, period and refrain from vigorous physical activity 48
2005; Solomorrow, Baratta, & DAmbrosia, 1989). hours before each testing day.
It has therefore been postulated that eccentric Other exclusion criteria were: (1) histories of
strength deficits and unilateral hamstring to quad- orthopaedic problems, such as episodes of ham-
riceps strength imbalance ratios (H/Q ratios) are one strings injury, fractures, surgery or pain in the spine
of the most important characteristics of hamstring or hamstring muscles over the past six months; (2)
strains in recreational and competitive athletes missing one testing session during the data collection
(Croisier, 2004; Worrell & Perrin, 1992). phase; and (3) presence of delayed onset muscle
Whether pre-exercise stretching induces changes soreness at any testing session to avoid the effects of
in the eccentric strength of hamstrings, such as peak muscle soreness on muscle lengthening and force
force occurring at a joint angle corresponding to a production. The women were not in the ovulation
shorter muscle length that is not optimal and/or phase (days 1014) of their menstrual cycle during
causes a reduction of energy absorption capacity of testing (Bell et al., 2009; Eiling, Bryant, Petersen,
the muscle-tendon unit (area under length-tension Murphy, & Hohmann, 2007) as fluctuating concen-
relationship) remains to be quantified. If these trations of oestrogen throughout the menstrual cycle
Stretching on hamstring strength profile 833

affect musculotendonous stiffness (Eiling et al., was a practice session, and the subsequent three
2007) and joint laxity (Romani, Patrie, Curl, & visits were the experimental sessions. Practice
Flaws, 2003). Specifically, stiffness decreases during included anthropometry (body mass and stature)
ovulation in contrast to the menstrual and follicular followed by habituation to the isokinetic test proce-
phases (Bell et al., 2009). All exclusion criteria were dures that were completed during the experimental
evaluated by two experienced physical therapists sessions. In addition, the stretching exercises were
based in a sport practice and using a medical history performed during the practice session to accustom
questionnaire. None of the participants reported any participants to the static and dynamic stretching
form of musculoskeletal disorder at the time of techniques. During the experimental sessions, the
testing. The participants were verbally informed order of stretching (static and dynamic) and non-
about the study procedures before testing and stretching conditions was randomised (using the
provided written informed consent. This study was software at http://www.randomizer.org). The acute
approved by the University of Gloucestershire effects of stretching sessions on torque and external
Research Ethics Committee (United Kingdom). work were compared with the control condition (no-
stretching).
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A single-joint isokinetic testing procedure deter-


Research design
mined eccentric strength of the hamstrings after
A crossover-study design, in which participants different treatment conditions (stretching [static and
performed all experimental conditions, investigated dynamic] vs. non-stretching) to ensure that any
the aims of the current study. Use of a pre- and post- differences identified between experimental sessions
test design, in which participants performed a pre- were attributable to the stretching protocol. The
and post-stretch isokinetic assessment was not single-joint study design reduced possible alterations
adopted because in a pilot study participants in intramuscular coordination that can change
reported that the testing procedure was too long strength when multi-joint movements, such as the
and subsequently they felt less able to undertake the vertical jump, are used as the measure of muscular
post-stretch assessment and hence, bias the results. performance (Manoel, Harris-Love, Danoff, & Mill-
In addition, some participants reported musculoske- er, 2008).
letal fatigue during the post-stretch assessment.
Therefore, to ensure the optimal preparedness state
Stretching protocols
of each participant throughout the testing procedure,
the current study used a crossover design. In each stretching session, participants performed
Participants visited the laboratory on four occa- five un-assisted stretching exercises designed to
sions with 7296 hours rest between testing sessions. stretch the major muscle groups used during
Furthermore, to minimise circadian and other running (gluteus, psoas, adductors, hamstrings and
similar effects on performance, each participant quadriceps) and reflect the stretching typically
carried out all testing sessions at the same time of performed by athletes and recreationally active
day and under the same environmental conditions people (Figure 1). The static and dynamic stretching
(room temperature at 258C). The choice of 7296 sessions differed only in the stretch technique used;
hours between testing sessions was because a whereas the other stretching load characteristics
minimum of 3648 hours rest interval is necessary (duration, intensity, repetition and exercise posi-
to restore optimal muscle function after a light bout tions) were identical. The stretching exercises were
of strength training (Bompa, 2000). The first visit performed twice in a randomised order under the

Figure 1. Stretching exercises (left to right: quadriceps, psoas, adductors, hamstrings and gluteus).
834 F. Ayala et al.

direct supervision and guidance of the investigators. rotation of the dynamometer lever arm was aligned
Each stretching exercise was completed on the right with the lateral epicondyle of the knee. The force pad
and left limb before another exercise was performed. was placed approximately 3 cm superior to the
No rest interval was allowed between limbs, although medial malleolus with the foot in a relaxed position.
a 20-s rest period was allowed between stretch Adjustable strapping across the pelvis, posterior thigh
repetitions and exercises (once the leg was returned proximal to the knee and foot localised the action of
to a neutral position). The intensity of stretching was the musculature involved. The range of movement
self-determined but set to the threshold of mild was set from 08 (08 was determined as maximal
discomfort, not pain, as acknowledged by the voluntary knee extension for each participant) to 908
participant. knee flexion. All settings, including seat height, seat
During the static stretching session, participants length, dynamometer height and lever arm length,
were asked to hold each stretch position for 30 s. were noted during the practice session so that they
During the dynamic stretching session, participants were identical throughout experimental trials. During
were instructed to perform 15 continuous controlled the isokinetic testing procedure, the cushion setting
dynamic movements from the neutral stance to the on the control panel for the ends of the range of
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end of the range of movement. A rate of one stretch motion was set to its lowest (hardest) setting to
cycle every 2 s was set and the movements were at a reduce the effect of limb deceleration on the
controlled speed throughout the range of move- reciprocal motion (Taylor, Sanders, Howick, &
ments. In addition, during dynamic stretching, Stanley, 1991). The prone position (10208 hip
participants were instructed that the end position flexion) was selected instead of a seated position
should be the same as the end position during static (801108 hip flexion) for two main reasons: (a) the
stretching. prone position is more representative of the hip
Stretch durations of 2630 s and 2615 dynamic position during running/sprinting than a seated
movements were performed because: (a) they prob- position; and (b) being prone replicates knee flexor
ably reflect the stretching duration and volume and extensor muscle length-tension relationships that
typically performed by athletes and recreationally occur in the late phase and the early contact phase of
active people before training and/or competitions sprinting (Worrell, Perrin, & Denegar, 1989; Wor-
(Young & Behm, 2002; Zakas, Doganis, Galazoulas, rell, Denegar, Armstrong, & Perrin, 1990).
& Vamvakoudis, 2006) and (b) they have been Participants warmed-up by performing four sub-
shown to be effective in temporarily increasing the maximal (self-perceived 50% effort) and two max-
functional joint range of motion (Ogura, Miyahara, imal concentric (1.04 rad  s71) and eccentric (1.04
Naito, Katamoto, & Auki, 2007; Zakas, Galazoulas, rad  s71) actions of the thigh muscles (reciprocal for
Zakas, Vamvakoudis, & Vergou, 2005). quadriceps and hamstrings) before each isokinetic
assessment. The isokinetic testing was separated into
two parts with concentric extension and flexion
Isokinetic testing
torque determined using concentric/concentric cy-
A Biodex System-3 Isokinetic dynamometer (Biodex cles before eccentric torque was determined using
Corp., Shirley, NY, USA) and its respective manu- eccentric/eccentric cycles. For both muscle actions,
facture software were used to determine isokinetic two cycles of knee flexion and extension were
peak torque and external work during knee extension performed at two preset constant angular velocities
and flexion movements. The dynamometer was in the following order: 1.04 and 3.14 rad  s71 (slow
calibrated according to the manufacturers instruc- to fast). When a variation greater than 5% occurred
tions immediately before each test session and in the peak torque scores between cycles at the same
verified immediately after to ensure that no changes speed, an extra cycle was performed and the two
occurred in sensitivity. Calibration and calibration most related cycles were used for subsequent
verification procedures were conducted using known statistical analyses.
weights to assess the reliability of torque, velocity and The slower angular velocity was performed before
position measurement (Drouin, Valovich, Shultz, the high speed as this facilitates learning during
Gansneder, & Perrin, 2004). assessments at high angular velocities of the knee.
Two minutes after stretching or control treatments Pilot work showed that participants could not
were completed, maximal concentric and eccentric maintain the required torque output throughout the
isokinetic peak torque for knee flexion and extension range of motion in the reactive eccentric mode,
of the dominant leg, determined through interview subsequently causing stalling of the lever arm.
and defined as leg preference when kicking a ball, was Therefore, the passive eccentric mode was chosen
tested. Participants were secured in a prone position so that the full range of movement would be
on the dynamometer with the hip passively flexed at completed for every action, which is important for
10208 and the head maintained erect. The axis of the calculation of the angle-torque curve.
Stretching on hamstring strength profile 835

Furthermore, this study used continuous concentric/ peak torque by the concentric quadriceps peak
concentric and eccentric/eccentric cycles because torque (H/QCONV). The functional H/Q ratio was
they made the movement easier to understand and defined as peak eccentric hamstrings torque divided
perform than the concentric/eccentric cycles (Kellis, by peak concentric quadriceps torque (H/QFUNC).
Kellis, Gerodimos, & Manou, 1999). Moreover, it Finally, the co-contraction H/Q ratio was calculated
has been suggested that a concentric/eccentric by dividing eccentric hamstrings torque by con-
testing method could be physically more demanding centric quadriceps torque at the same joint angle
because the same muscle is tested continuously where the concentric quadriceps peak torque was
(Houweling, Head, & Hamzeh, 2009). The two generated for both of these actions (H/QC-C). The
testing parts (concentric/concentric and eccentric/ H/QC-C ratio is more functionally relevant in terms of
eccentric) were separated by a 5 min rest interval and co-contraction and dynamic knee stability than H/
a rest of 30 s was allowed between speeds. The QCONV and H/QFUNC because it demonstrates
number of maximal muscle actions and the rest- whether hamstrings eccentric torque is sufficient to
period durations were chosen to minimise muscu- counter the anterior shear forces induced at the joint
loskeletal fatigue, which is unlikely to occur with angle where the concentric quadriceps peak torque
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only two reciprocal muscle actions at two speeds occurs. Despite the H/QC-C ratio being more useful
(1.04 and 3.14 rad  s71) and a 30-s rest between for clinical purposes, the H/QCONV and H/QFUNC
reciprocal muscle actions and speeds and 5-min rest ratios were also calculated to contrast the findings of
between testing modes (concentric/concentric and the current study with the only two other studies that
eccentric/eccentric). have analysed the acute effect of pre-exercise
Both for concentric/concentric and eccentric/ stretching on unilateral H/Q strength imbalance
eccentric cycles, participants were encouraged to ratios (Costa et al., 2009a, 2009b).
push/resist as hard and as fast as possible and to
complete the full range of motion. Participants were
Statistical analysis
told to abort the test if they felt any discomfort or
pain. During the test, all participants were given The distribution of raw data sets was checked using
visual feedback from the system monitor. They were the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and demonstrated that
also verbally encouraged by the investigator to give all data had a normal distribution (P 4 0.05). Recent
their maximal effort, and the instructions were research studies have consistently reported no sex-
standardised by using key words such as resist, related differences in relation to the same stretching
push/pull and hard and fast as possible. treatment on isokinetic peak torque values (Behm,
Bradbury, Haynes, Odre, Leonard, & Paddock,
2006; Cramer, Beck, et al., 2007; Marek et al.,
Measures
2005) so mens and womens data were not analysed
For the isokinetic gravity-corrected measures peak separately. Descriptive statistics including means and
torque, angle of peak torque and external work, the standard deviations were calculated for each
mean of the two trials at each speed through the measure.
testing sessions was used for subsequent statistical Mean effects of stretching (static and dynamic)
analysis. In addition, Sole, Hamren, Milosavljevic, and their 90% confidence limits were estimated
Nicholson, and Sullivan, (2007) reported better using a spreadsheet designed by Hopkins (2007) via
reproducibility when they used the mean value the unequal-variances t statistic computed for change
from three trials rather than the single highest value scores between paired sessions (control vs static;
for concentric and eccentric peak torque. In each control vs dynamic; static vs dynamic) for each
trial, peak torque and angle of peak torque were variable. Alpha was P 5 0.05. Each participants
reported as the maximum eccentric torque value and change score was expressed as a percentage of
corresponding joint angle. Total work was calculated baseline score via analysis of log-transformed values,
as the area under the eccentric angle-torque curve to reduce bias arising from non-uniformity of error.
(torque 6 distance). The speed throughout each Errors of measurement and individual responses
repetition was analysed and it was also verified that, expressed as coefficients of variation were also
at the greater angular velocity, peak torque and angle estimated. In addition, the analysis determines the
of peak torque was developed during the constant chances that the true effects are substantial or trivial
speed period. when a value for the smallest worthwhile change is
Three H/Q strength imbalance ratios were calcu- entered.
lated using peak torque values: conventional H/Q Coefficients of variation (CV) determined the
ratio, functional or dynamic H/Q ratio and co- smallest substantial/worthwhile change for each of
contraction H/Q ratio. The conventional H/Q ratio the variables. As identified for eccentric knee flexion
was calculated by dividing the concentric hamstrings isokinetic muscle actions (Maffiuletti, Bizzini,
836 F. Ayala et al.

Desbrosses, Babault, & Munzinge, 2007), peak QCON, H/QFUNC and H/QC-C ratios separately for
torque has a reported CV of 6.4%, whereas angle each experimental session.
of peak torque has a CV of 18.1% and total work a As presented in Table III, there were no main
CV of 5.7%. The CV data previously reported for H/ effects in eccentric knee flexion peak torque, angle of
QCONV and H/QFUNC are 5.4% and 6.3% respec- peak torque and total work (P 4 0.05; trivial effect
tively (Impellizzeri, Bizzini, Rampinini, Cereda, & with a probability of 7595%; d 5 0.4) between
Maffiulet, 2008). To the authors knowledge, no paired treatments. The lowest percentage changes
studies have analysed the absolute reliability of the were reported for the peak torque measures (0.5
H/QC-C, so we chose 0.20 standardised units (that is 2.6%) whereas the angle of peak torque measures
a fraction of the between-participants standard showed the highest (0.711.5%). In addition, the
deviation at baseline) as the smallest worthwhile statistical analysis for H/QCON, H/QFUNC and H/QC-
change (Cohen, 1998). The default of 0.20 gives C ratios revealed a possible-likely trivial effect
chances that the true effect is at least small (Hopkins, between paired treatments.
2002).
The qualitative descriptors proposed by Hopkins
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Discussion
(2002) were used to interpret the probabilities that
the true affects are harmful, trivial or beneficial: The primary findings of this study were that static
51%, almost certainly not; 14%, very unlikely; 5 and dynamic lower-limb stretching exercises with an
24%, unlikely or probably not; 2574%, possibly or isolated muscle stretch duration of 2630 s (static) or
may be; 7594%, likely or probably; 9599%, very 2615 rhythmic movements (dynamic) had no
likely; 49%, almost certainly. stretching-related impairment on eccentric strength
Effect sizes, which are standardised values that of the hamstrings. This conclusion is because we
permit the determination of the magnitude of found no stretching-induced changes in isokinetic
differences between groups or experimental condi- angle-torque curve characteristics expressed through
tions (Cohen, 1988), were also calculated for each of eccentric peak torque, angle of peak toque and total
the variables using the method previously described work values. Therefore, the findings of the current
by Cohen (1988). Cohen (1988) assigned descriptors study do not support recent claims (Shrier, 1999;
to the effect sizes (d) such that effect sizes less than Weldon & Hill, 2003) which have suggested that an
0.4 represented a small magnitude of change while acute bout of stretching as part of a warm-up
0.410.7 and greater than 0.7 represented moderate procedure may increase the relative risk of injury
and large magnitudes of change, respectively. because it induces a reduction in eccentric strength
and alters absorption and release tensile energy
capacity of the muscle-tendon unit when stretched.
Results
Although the current study is the first that has
Table I shows the mean and standard deviation for determined the acute effect of static and dynamic
eccentric knee flexion peak torque, angle of peak stretching on eccentric strength for the hamstrings,
torque and total work values among experimental our results are consistent with the only two previous
sessions. Likewise, Table II reports the data for H/ studies (to our knowledge) that have examined the

Table II. Mean + standard deviation values for conventional H/Q


Table I. Mean + standard deviation values for peak torque (PT), ratio (H/QCONV), functional or dynamic H/Q ratio (H/QFUNC)
angle of peak torque (APT) and total work (TW) at 1.04 rad  s71 and co-contraction H/Q ratio (H/QC-C) at 1.04 and 3.14 rad  s71
and 3.14 rad  s71 during eccentric knee flexion movements among among experimental sessions.
experimental sessions.
Static Dynamic
Static Dynamic No-stretching stretching stretching
No-stretching stretching stretching
1
H/QCONV
PT (Nm) 71.04 rad  s71 0.62 + 0.13 0.60 + 0.12 0.62 + 0.13
71.04 rad  s71 82.4 + 20.1 82.4 + 19.7 84.7 + 21.2 73.14 rad  s71 0.72 + 0.16 0.72 + 0.16 0.73 + 0.16
73.14 rad  s71 80.7 + 19.2 78.6 + 18.7 79.8 + 19.1 1
H/QFUNC
APT (8) 71.04 rad  s71 0.70 + 0.16 0.69 + 0.15 0.72 + 0.16
71.04 rad  s71 36.6 + 6.3 35.1 + 5.9 31.9 + 5.7 73.14 rad  s71 0.89 + 0.21 0.88 + 0.21 0.91 + 0.22
73.14 rad  s71 41.5 + 6.9 41.3 + 6.4 39.4 + 6.1 1
H/QC-C
TW (J)1 71.04 rad  s71 0.58 + 0.14 0.58 + 0.14 0.63 + 0.16
71.04 rad  s71 92.0 + 22.1 94.4 + 23.2 94.5 + 22.7 73.14 rad  s71 0.73 + 0.18 0.67 + 0.16 0.73 + 0.17
73.14 rad  s71 83.5 + 20.1 82.9 + 19.8 87.0 + 20.3
1 1
: main effect for speed (P 5 0.05). : main effect for speed (P 5 0.05).
Stretching on hamstring strength profile 837

Table III. Percentage change in measures (mean + 90% CL) and likelihood (%) of being positive/ trivial / negative between paired
experimental sessions.

Control vs Static Control vs Dynamic Static vs Dynamic

PT
71.04 rad  s71 0.8 (73.85.6) 3 / 96 / 1 2.6 (71.67.0) 8 / 92 / 0 1.8 (72.56.3) 5 / 95 / 0
73.14 rad  s71 71.8 (77.94.7) 2 / 85 / 13 70.5 (75.34.5) 1 / 96 / 3 1.3 (73.86.7) 6 / 93 / 1
APT
71.04 rad  s71 72.0 (714.712.5) 1 / 94 / 4 711.5 (724.13.0) 0 / 68 / 31 0.7 (723.87.0) 1 / 73 / 26
73.14 rad  s71 2.7 (79.216.2) 3 / 96 / 1 73.7 (717.011.7) 1 / 91 / 8 76.3 (716.55.1) 0 / 93 / 7
TW
71.04 rad  s71 3.9 (72.310.5) 32 / 68 / 1 3.2 (73.410.4) 28 / 71 / 2 70.6 (77.16.3) 7 / 82 / 11
73.14 rad  s71 70.4 (77.26.9) 8 / 81 / 11 4.4 (72.411.6) 38 / 61 / 1 4.8 (71.811.8) 41 / 58 / 1
H/QCONV
71.04 rad  s71 73.3 (79.02.7) 1 / 69 / 30 71.3 (79.78.0) 11/ 66 / 23 2.1 (77.612.7) 29 / 60 / 11
73.14 rad  s71 0.3 (76.98.0) 14 / 74 / 11 1.3 (77.111.2) 25 / 62 / 13 1.0(76.38.9) 18 / 73 / 9
H/QFUNC
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71.04 rad  s71 71.7 (78.55.6) 4 / 81 / 15 2.3 (75.711.0) 22 / 74 / 5 4.1 (74.713.7) 35 / 62 / 3


73.14 rad  s71 0.2 (78.910.0) 15 / 72 / 13 3.2 (76.113.4) 29 / 66 / 5 2.9 (73.7. 10.1) 20 / 79 / 1
H/QC7C
71.04 rad  s71 0.8 (78.611.0) 18 / 70 / 12 4.7 (75.516.1) 40 / 55 / 4 3.9 (77.016.2) 37 / 56 / 7
73.14 rad  s71 710 (722.84.9) 2 / 64 / 34 1.4 (712.117.1) 17 / 73 / 10 12.7 (71.428.8) 52 / 48 / 1

CL: confidence limits; PT: peak torque; APT: angle of peak torque; TW: total work; H/QCONV: conventional H/Q ratio; H/QFUNC:
functional or dynamic H/Q ratio; H/QC-C: co-contraction H/Q ratio.

acute effects of static stretching on the eccentric knowledge, this study is the first to have addressed
strength characteristics for the quadriceps, which this issue. In addition, there appear to be no available
reported no stretching-induced changes in eccentric studies examining the acute effects of active dynamic
peak torque and the joint angle of peak torque stretching on muscle-tendon unit viscoelastic prop-
(Cramer, Housh, Coburn, Beck, & Johnson, 2006; erties, therefore the exact mechanism by which
Cramer, Housh, et al., 2007). dynamic stretching has no effect on the length-
Although mechanisms responsible for the lack of tension relationship is still unknown.
any static stretching-induced changes on the ec- The results of the current study showed no static
centric strength are not known, a possible reason and dynamic stretching-related changes in H/
could be based on the hypothesis proposed by QCONV, H/QFUNC and H/QC-C ratios at 1.04 or
Wilson, Murphy, and Pryor (1994). They suggested 3.14 rad  s71. These findings suggest that static and
that musculotendinous stiffness is related to iso- dynamic lower-limb stretching routines do not alter
metric and concentric muscle performance and that the relative risk of hamstring strains by reducing the
there is no relationship between muscle-tendon unit H/QCONV, H/QFUNC and H/QC-C ratios. Our find-
stiffness and eccentric force production. This theory ings do not support the results reported by Costa
has been reinforced by a series of studies carried out et al. (2009a), who reported that a bout of ham-
by Cramer and co-workers (Cramer et al., 2004, strings and calf static stretching resulted in a
2006; Cramer, Beck, et al., 2007; Cramer, Housh, significant reduction of 29% in the H/QCONV at
et al., 2007), and McHugh and Nesse (2008), which 1.04, 3.14 and 5.23 rad  s71 because the hamstrings
suggested that the effects of static stretching are peak torque was reduced in contrast with quadriceps
mode and joint angle-specific. That is, static peak torque, which remained unaltered. A possible
stretching has no effect on eccentric muscle actions explanation is that Costa et al. (2009a) stretched only
(Cramer et al., 2006; Cramer, Housh, et al., 2007), hamstrings and calf muscles using an extensive
although it induces deficits in: (a) isometric muscle overall stretch duration (480 s and 120 s for ham-
actions at the shortest but not longest muscle lengths strings and calf respectively), while the current study
(Herda, Cramer, Ryanm, McHugh, & Stout, 2008; stretched the major muscle groups of the lower limb
McHugh & Nesse, 2008); as well as (b) concentric (psoas, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and adduc-
muscle actions at longest but not shortest muscle tors) using an overall stretch duration of 60 s per
lengths (Cramer, Beck, et al., 2007). muscle group, which is more representative of a
We could not compare the lack of dynamic typical warm-up used by athletes and recreationally
stretching-induced changes on eccentric strength active people to prepare for exercise or competition
results from this study with others because to our (Young & Behm, 2002). Additionally testing in this
838 F. Ayala et al.

study occurred in a seated position with the hip programme, with INFO and FEDER funding up to
flexed at 858, which is not representative of hip joint 80%.
angle during most athletic activities, especially
during sprinting where hamstring strain is most
likely to occur. Therefore the current study is the first References
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