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A comparison of six methods of stretch on the active range of hip flexion Hartley, Sandra Jean

Abstract

Basically all methods of stretching can be termed ACTIVE or PASSIVE in terms of the type of the range of motion acquired. Active stretching methods require that the range of movement be made voluntarily, while passive stretching methods refer to movement through a range due to external force such as gravity or manual assistance. It was the purpose of this study to investigate the effects of six methods of stretch on the active range of right hip flexion. The sample consisted of 119 volunteer college women in physical education at the University of British Columbia. Approximately twenty subjects were randomly assigned to each of seven treatment groups by pairs. In addition to the Control group, six exercise groups were taught various stretching regimens to be practiced ten minutes with a partner three times a week for three weeks. All subjects were measured before and after the study as well as before and after exercise on the first day of each week. The active range of right hip flexion was measured by the Leighton Flexometer and the strength of hip flexion at the 45 degree angle was measured by a cable tensiometer. All groups increased in active range of hip flexion as indicated by the mean gains, including the Control group. The following hypotheses were tested for significance at the .05 level and were rejected. 1. Active stretching methods give a greater improvement in active range of hip flexion than do passive methods of stretching. 2. The method, Active Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, gives a greater improvement in active range of right hip flexion than does the method, Ballistic and Hold. Active stretching methods did not contribute significantly better to active range over passive methods, nor did the Active PNF method and Ballistic and Hold method show significant differences in their contribution to active range. Since passive methods of stretching contributed as well as active methods to active range of hip flexion, it is apparent that theoretically for active range of motion, it may be as important to reduce the resistance of the muscle being stretched as to increase the strength of the active opposing muscle. The results of this study indicate that both active and passive methods of stretching are effective in increasing active range of motion. The Relaxation method contributed significantly better than other passive methods to active range of hip flexion apparently due to a more effective reduced resistance from the contractile component of the muscle. The strength of hip flexion as measured at the 45 degree angle was not differentially improved by the various exercise treatments for the probable reason that the angle at which the strength was measured was well below the range at which specific strength gains might have taken place.

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