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1995 Publications

Viscoelastic Response to Repeated Static Stretching in the Human Hamstring Muscleby S. P. Magnusson*, E. B. Simonsen`, P. Aagaard*, G. W. Gleim#, M. P. McHugh#, M. Kjaer^*Team Danmark Test Center, Rigshospitalet, TTA, Afd 2001, Copenhagen, `Anatomy Department C University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark, #NISMAT Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York, USA, ^Copenhagen Muscle Research Center, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark - last modified 2013-02-10 00:00
Scand J Med Sci Sports 1995:5:342 - 347


The purpose of this study was (1) to evaluate the reproducibility of a new method of measuring passive resistance to stretch in the human hamstring muscle group, in vivo, using a test re-test protocol and 2) to examine the effect of repeated stretches. Passive resistance offered by the hamstring muscle group during knee extension was measured in 10 subjects as knee flexion moment (Nm) using a KinCom dynamometer.

The knee was passively extended at 5 deg/s to the final position where it remained stationary for 90 s (static phase). EMG of the hamstring muscle was also measured. The test re-test protocol included 2 tests (tests 1 and 2) administered 1 h apart.

On a separate occasion 5 consecutive static stretches were administered (stretches 1-5) separated by 30 s. Stretch 6 was administered one hour after stretch 5. In the static phase passive resistance did not differ between test 1 and test 2. Resistance declined in both tests 1 and 2, whereas EMG activity remained unchanged.

The decline in resistance was significant up to 45 s. For the repeated stretches there was an effect of time (90 s) and stretch (1-5) with a significant interaction i.e., resistance diminished with stretches, and the 90-s decline was less as more stretches were performed. Passive resistance in stretch 6 was lower than in stretch 1.

The present study has demonstrated a reliable method for studying resistance to stretch of the human hamstring muscle group. A viscoelastic response of the human hamstring muscle was shown. With 5 repeated stretches, resistance to stretch diminished and each stretch exhibited a viscoelastic response, albeit less with each subsequent stretch. The effect of 5 repeated stretches was significant 1 h later.