Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion

Abstract

Purpose

There are conflicts in the literature concerning the crossover or non-local effects of stretching. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether static (SS) and dynamic (DS) stretching of the shoulders would affect hip flexor range of motion (ROM) and performance and reciprocally whether SS and DS of the lower body would affect shoulder extension ROM and performance.

Methods

A randomized crossover study design examined the acute effects of upper and lower body SS and DS on lower and upper body performance measures, respectively. Experimental sessions included upper and lower body control tests, upper body (shoulder horizontal abduction) SS and lower body (hip abduction) SS, upper body (shoulder horizontal abduction and adduction) DS and lower body DS (hip abduction and adduction). Passive static and dynamic ROM (hip flexion, shoulder extension), leg flexor and elbow flexor maximal voluntary contraction isometric force, fatigue endurance and electromyography were measured.

Results

There were significant shoulder ROM increases following lower body SS (P < 0.010,  % = 8.2 %) and DS (P < 0.019,  % = 9 %). There was a significant hip flexor ROM (P < 0.016,  % = 5.2 %) increase following upper body SS. There were no significant main effects or interactions for dynamic ROM or muscle force and activation variables.

Conclusion

The lack of stretch-induced force and fatigue changes suggests that rather than a mechanical or neural drive mechanism, an enhanced stretch tolerance was likely the significant factor in the improved ROM.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

ANOVA:

Analysis of variance

DS:

Dynamic stretching

EMG:

Electromyography

F100:

Force produced within first 100 ms of the contraction

Hz:

Hertz

IEMG:

Integrated electromyography

LBC:

Lower body control

LBD:

Lower body dynamic stretching

LBS:

Lower body static stretching

MVC:

Maximum voluntary contraction

NLMF:

Non-local muscle fatigue

POD:

Point of discomfort

ROM:

Range of motion

RPM:

Revolutions per minute

sEMG:

Surface electromyography

SS:

Static stretching

UBC:

Upper body control

UBD:

Upper body dynamic stretching

UBS:

Upper body static stretching

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Acknowledgments

This research was partially funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. We thank the participants for their time and Dr. Thamir Alkanani for his technical assistance.

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Correspondence to David George Behm.

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All authors declare that there were no conflicts of interest.

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Communicated by Olivier Seynnes.

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Behm, D.G., Cavanaugh, T., Quigley, P. et al. Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion. Eur J Appl Physiol 116, 241–249 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3270-1

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Keywords

  • Crossover fatigue
  • Non-local muscle fatigue
  • Flexibility
  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Electromyography