Acute effects of passive stretching vs vibration on the neuromuscular function of the plantar flexors

T. J. Herda, E. D. Ryan, A. E. Smith, A. A. Walter, M. G. Bemben, J. R. Stout, J. T. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This study examined the acute effects of passive stretching (PS) vs prolonged vibration (VIB) on voluntary peak torque (PT), percent voluntary activation (%VA), peak twitch torque (PTT), passive range of motion (PROM), musculotendinous stiffness (MTS), and surface electromyographic (EMG) and mechanomyographic (MMG) amplitude of the medial gastrocnemius (MG) and soleus (SOL) muscles during isometric maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the plantar flexors. Fifteen healthy men performed the isometric MVCs and PROM assessments before and after 20 min of PS, VIB, and a control (CON) conditions. There were 10% and 5% decreases in voluntary PT, non-significant 3% and 2% decreases in %VA, 9-23% decreases in EMG amplitude of the MG and SOL after the PS and VIB, respectively, with no changes after the CON. PROM increased by 19% and MTS decreased by 38% after the PS, but neither changed after the VIB or CON conditions. Both PS and VIB elicited similar neural deficits (i.e., γ loop impairment) that may have been responsible for the strength losses. However, mechanical factors related to PROM and MTS cannot be ruled out as contributors to the stretching-induced force deficit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-713
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromyography
  • Mechanomyography
  • Musculotendinous stiffness
  • Passive range of motion
  • Voluntary activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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