Short-duration massage at the hamstrings musculotendinous junction induces greater range of motion

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jul;24(7):1917-24. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e06e0c.


Massage for the purpose of health dates back to early civilization and more recently has been used in the management and prevention of sport injuries. Massage has also been used as part of a warm-up to help increase acute flexibility. However, the physiological benefits and mechanisms of massage are not well known. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effectiveness of 3 massage conditions on hip flexion range of motion (ROM). This experimentation involved a novel massage technique, which focused the massage on the musculotendinous junction for a short duration. Ten recreationally active women ranging from 21 to 36 years in age participated in this study. Participants were subjected to 3 massage conditions (no massage, 10-second massage, and 30-second massage) in a random order on separate days. Hip flexion angle, passive leg tension, and electromyography (EMG) were measured thrice before and within 10 seconds after the intervention. A main effect for conditions was found with the 30-second massage providing a 7.2% increase in hip flexion ROM that was significantly greater than the control condition (p < 0.05). Significant interactions occurred with an increased ROM (p < 0.05) from pre to posttests of 5.9 and 7.2% for the 10- and 30-second massage conditions, respectively. There were no significant differences in passive tension or EMG for any conditions or time. With a significant increase in hip angle and no associated increase in passive tension or EMG, there is a suggestion that 10 and 30 seconds of musculotendinous massage induces greater ROM through a modified stretch perception, increased stretch tolerance, or increased compliance of the hamstrings. Musculotendinous massage may be used as an alternative or a complement to static stretching for increasing ROM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hip / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology
  • Massage / methods*
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pliability / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Young Adult