The Acute Effects of Myofascial Release and Static Stretching on Flexibility


Kaminski, Z., Kudrna, R. DeSales University, Center Valley, PA

Fascia is the connective sheathing that is found throughout the body. Both static stretching (SS) and self-myofascial release (SMR), or ‘foam rolling’, are stretching techniques that decrease fascial stiffness and increase flexibility. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of SS and SMR on flexibility. Methods: Twenty-three active college-aged volunteers (11 M, 12 F) completed 3 research trials in random order on non-consecutive days. Each trial began with a general warm-up, an initial sit and reach assessment, followed by one of the 3 treatment protocols. Sit and reach flexibility was re-assessed 3 and 10 minutes after the treatment. SS consisted of 7 unilateral stretches repeated on both sides of the body for a total of 14 minutes. SMR was identical to SS in duration and number of targeted muscles, but subjects used a foam roller. The control protocol (CON) consisted of sitting for 14 minutes. A 3x3 repeated measures ANOVA was used to determine differences in flexibility for the three time points (initial, as well as 3 and 10 minutes after protocol completion) and three conditions (CON, SS, and SMR). The Greenhouse-Geisser correction was used where sphericity was violated. Planned contrasts were used to clarify the ANOVA results. Results: There was a significant main effect for time points F(1.35,31.04)=5.05, pF(1.72,39.77)=7.92, pF(1.6,37.2)=5.84, pConclusion: SMR produced significantly greater flexibility than SS at the 3 and 10 minute time points. SMR could therefore be considered an effective alternative to traditional SS for acute increases in flexibility. Future research should examine if this is true for different joints and in diverse populations.

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