Eccentric Training and Static Stretching Improve Hamstring Flexibility of High School Males

J Athl Train. 2004 Sep;39(3):254-258.


OBJECTIVE: To determine if the flexibility of high-school-aged males would improve after a 6-week eccentric exercise program. In addition, the changes in hamstring flexibility that occurred after the eccentric program were compared with a 6-week program of static stretching and with a control group (no stretching). DESIGN AND SETTING: We used a test-retest control group design in a laboratory setting. Subjects were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 groups: eccentric training, static stretching, or control. SUBJECTS: A total of 69 subjects, with a mean age of 16.45 +/- 0.96 years and with limited hamstring flexibility (defined as 20 degrees loss of knee extension measured with the thigh held at 90 degrees of hip flexion) were recruited for this study. MEASUREMENTS: Hamstring flexibility was measured using the passive 90/90 test before and after the 6-week program. RESULTS: Differences were significant for test and for the test-by-group interaction. Follow-up analysis indicated significant differences between the control group (gain = 1.67 degrees ) and both the eccentric-training (gain = 12.79 degrees ) and static-stretching (gain = 12.05 degrees ) groups. No difference was found between the eccentric and static-stretching groups. CONCLUSIONS: The gains achieved in range of motion of knee extension (indicating improvement in hamstring flexibility) with eccentric training were equal to those made by statically stretching the hamstring muscles.