Plantar-flexor Static Stretch Training Effect on Eccentric and Concentric Peak Torque - A comparative Study of Trained versus Untrained Subjects

J Hum Kinet. 2012 Oct:34:49-58. doi: 10.2478/v10078-012-0063-z. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


The aim of this study was to examine the long-term effects of static stretching of the plantar-flexor muscles on eccentric and concentric torque and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion in healthy subjects. Seventy five healthy male volunteers, with no previous history of trauma to the calf that required surgery, absence of knee flexion contracture and no history of neurologic dysfunction or disease, systemic disease affecting the lower extremities were selected for this study. The participants were divided into three equal groups. The control group did not stretch the plantar-flexor muscles. Two Experimental groups (trained and untrained) were instructed to perform static stretching exercise of 30 second duration and 5 repetitions twice daily. The stretching sessions were carried out 5 days a week for 6 weeks. The dorsiflexion range of motion was measured in all subjects. Also measured was the eccentric and concentric torque of plantar-flexors at angular velocities of 30 and 120°/s pre and post stretching. Analysis of variance showed a significant increase in plantar-flexor eccentric and concentric torque (p < 0.05) of trained and untrained groups, and an increase in dorsiflexion range of motion (p < 0.05) at both angular velocities for the untrained group only. The static stretching program of plantar-flexors was effective in increasing the concentric and eccentric plantarflexion torque at angular velocities of 30 and 120°/s. Increases in plantar-flexors flexibility were observed in untrained subjects.

Keywords: calf muscle; isokinetic torque; static stretching.