European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 115, Issue 5, pp 981–991 | Cite as

Changes in force and stiffness after static stretching of eccentrically-damaged hamstrings

  • Shingo Matsuo
  • Shigeyuki Suzuki
  • Masahiro Iwata
  • Genki Hatano
  • Kazunori Nosaka
Original Article



This study compared responses to static stretching between eccentrically damaged and non-damaged muscles.


Twelve young men performed 60 maximum knee flexor eccentric contractions of one leg, and received a 300-s continuous passive static stretching at tolerable intensity without pain to both knee flexors at 2 and 4 days after the eccentric exercise. Range of motion (ROM) and passive stiffness during knee extension, passive torque at onset of pain (PT), maximum voluntary isometric (MVC-ISO) and isokinetic concentric contraction torque (MVC-CON), and visual analogue scale (VAS) for muscle soreness were measured before, immediately after, 60 min, 2 and 4 days after exercise as well as before, immediately after, 20 and 60 min after the stretching. Changes in these variables after eccentric exercise and stretching were compared between limbs.


The eccentric exercise decreased MVC-ISO, MVC-CON, ROM and PT, and increased passive stiffness and VAS (p < 0.05), suggesting that muscle damage was induced to the knee flexors. ROM and PT increased after stretching for both limbs; however, the magnitude of the increase was greater (p < 0.05) for the damaged than non-damaged limb. Passive stiffness decreased for both limbs similarly (4–7 %) at immediately after stretching (p < 0.05). Significant decreases in MVC-ISO torque (7–11 %) after stretching were observed only for the non-damaged limb (p < 0.05), but MVC-CON torque did not change after stretching for both limbs. VAS decreased for the exercised limb after stretching (p < 0.05).


These results suggest that the static stretching at tolerable intensity without pain produced greater positive effects on damaged than non-damaged muscles.


Static stretching Range of motion Passive stiffness Stretching-induced force loss Muscle damage Delayed onset muscle soreness 



Analysis of variance


Creatine kinase


Coefficient of variation


Delayed onset muscle soreness




Intra-class correlation coefficients

MVC-CON torque

Maximum voluntary concentric contraction torque

MVC-ISO torque

Maximum voluntary isometric contraction torque


Passive torque


Rate of force development


Root mean square


Range of motion


Standard deviation


Static passive torque


Visual analogue scale



This work was supported in part by a grant from A-kit Co., Ltd. and the Public Advertisement Research Project of Nihon Fukushi University.

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shingo Matsuo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shigeyuki Suzuki
    • 1
  • Masahiro Iwata
    • 1
    • 2
  • Genki Hatano
    • 1
  • Kazunori Nosaka
    • 3
  1. 1.Program in Physical and Occupational Therapy, Graduate School of MedicineNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Health SciencesNihon Fukushi UniversityHandaJapan
  3. 3.School of Exercise and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia

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