Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of posterior thigh and leg stretching on leg flexion peak torque (PT), leg extension PT, the hamstrings-to-quadriceps (H:Q) ratio, and electromyographic (EMG) amplitude of the hamstrings and quadriceps in recreationally-active men.
Methods: Fifteen men (mean age + or - SD = 22.0 + or - 4.4 years; body mass = 82.7 + or - 16.1 kg; height = 173.1 + or - 6.8 cm) performed three maximal voluntary concentric isokinetic leg extension and flexion muscle actions at three randomly ordered angular velocities (60, 180, and 300 degrees x s(-1)) before and after hamstring and calf static stretching. The stretching protocol consisted of 1 unassisted and 3 assisted static stretching exercises designed to stretch the posterior muscles of the thigh and leg. Four repetitions of each stretch were held for 30 s with 20-s rest between repetitions.
Results: These findings indicated no significant (P>0.05) stretching-induced changes in leg flexion PT, leg extension PT, or EMG amplitude at 60, 180, or 300 degrees .s-1. However, the non-significant (P>0.05) 2-4% increases in leg extension PT combined with the non-significant (P>0.05) 1-2% decreases in leg flexion PT resulted in the significant (P < or = 0.05) 2-9% decreases in the H:Q ratio from pre- to post-stretching for all three velocities.
Conclusions: These findings suggested that static stretching of the hamstrings and calf muscles may decrease the H:Q ratio. These results may be useful for athletic trainers, physical therapists, and other allied health professionals who may use the H:Q ratio as a clinical assessment.