Influence of maximum range of motion and stiffness on the viscoelastic stretch response

Authors

  • Eric J. Sobolewski MS,

    1. Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sports Science, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Eric D. Ryan PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sports Science, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • Brennan J. Thompson MS

    1. Applied Musculoskeletal and Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health and Human Performance, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA
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  • No funding was received for this study and there was no conflict of interest.

ABSTRACT

Introduction

We examined the influence of maximum range of motion (MROM) and passive stiffness on the viscoelastic stretch response.

Methods

Four 30-s constant-angle passive stretches of the plantar flexors at a predetermined torque were performed to determine the rate and relative change in stress relaxation (decline in torque during each 30-s stretch) and creep (increase in ankle joint angle across all 4 stretches). Stress relaxation and creep responses were examined between participants after they were ranked into high and low groups based on MROM and passive stiffness values.

Results

Stress relaxation responses were unaffected by MROM and passive stiffness; however, creep was influenced by differences in passive stiffness but not MROM.

Conclusions

Passive stiffness but not MROM influences the acute viscoelastic response to passive stretching. Participants with less stiff plantar flexors experience greater increases in range of motion when they are stretched at a constant torque. Muscle Nerve 48: 571–577, 2013

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