The time course of musculotendinous stiffness responses following different durations of passive stretching

Eric D. Ryan, Travis W. Beck, Trent J. Herda, Holly R. Hull, Michael J. Hartman, Pablo B. Costa, Jason M. Defreitas, Jeffery R. Stout, Joel T. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Fish eye STUDY DESIGN: Repeated-measures experimental design. Fish eye OBJECTIVE: To examine the acute effects of different durations of passive stretching on the time course of musculotendinous stiffness (MTS) responses in the plantar flexor muscles. Fish eye BACKGROUND: Stretching is often implemented prior to exercise or athletic competition, with the intent to reduce the risk of injury via decreases in MTS. Fish eye METHODS AND MEASURES: Twelve subjects (mean ± SD age, 24 ± 3 years; stature, 169 ± 12 cm; mass, 71 ± 17 kg) participated in 4 randomly ordered experimental trials: control with no stretching, and 2 minutes (2min), 4 minutes (4 min), and 8 minutes (8min) of passive stretching. The passive-stretching trials involved progressive repetitions of 30-second passive stretches, while the control trial involved 15 minutes of resting. MTS assessments were conducted before (prestretching), immediately after (poststretching), and at 10, 20, and 30 minutes poststretching on a Biodex System 3 isokinetic dynamometer. Fish eye RESULTS: MTS decreased (P<.05) immediately after all stretching conditions (2min, 4min, and 8min). However, MTS for the 2min condition returned to baseline within 10 minutes, whereas MTS after the 4min and 8 min passive-stretching conditions returned to baseline within 20 minutes. Fish eye CONCLUSIONS: Practical durations of passive stretching resulted in significant decreases in MTS; however, these changes return to baseline levels within 10 to 20 minutes. Fish eye LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level 5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-639
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Compliance
  • Passive
  • Stiffness
  • Strain injury
  • Stretch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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