Peristaltic pulse dynamic compression of the lower extremity enhances flexibility

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):1058-64. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000244.


This study investigated the effects of peristaltic pulse dynamic compression (PPDC) on range-of-motion (ROM) changes in forward splits. Serious stretching usually involves discomfort and large time investments. Tissue structural changes and stretch tolerance have heretofore been considered the primary mechanisms of enhanced ROM. The PPDC treatment was computer controlled. Circumferential and segmented inflation pressures were induced by feet to hip leggings. Nine subjects, experienced in stretching and a forward split position, volunteered. The subjects were familiarized with the protocol and randomly assigned to an initial condition: experimental (PPDC), or control (CONT). The study involved a crossover design. Second conditions were tested within 1-5 days. All tests were 2 trials of right and left forward splits. Split flexibility was assessed by measuring the height of the anterior superior iliac spine of the rear leg from the floor. Pelvic posture was controlled by rear leg position. The PPDC treatment was 15 minutes of seated PPDC. The control condition was the same except that leggings were not inflated. Pressures of 5 cells in the leggings were set at factory defaults, 70 mm Hg sequentially. Difference score results indicated statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) differences by condition and the condition by leg interaction. The rapid acute changes in ROM (PPDC: right 25.3%, left 33.3%; CONT: right 12.2%, left 1.0%) support the premise that changes in ROM were dependent on mechanisms other than tissue structural changes and/or stretch tolerance. PPDC provides a means of rapidly enhancing acute ROM requiring less discomfort and time.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pliability / physiology*
  • Pressure
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult