Tolliver S, Drew M, Kitts K, Miller III FL, Londono Calle YC. Static Stretching and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching within Collegiate Athletes. Department of Kinesiology, Huntington University, Huntington, IN, USA.

Abstract

Introduction: Stretching before and after practice or a work out is common among athletes. Stretching serves a variety of purposes such as improving joint range of motion. Two popular forms of stretching are static stretching (SS) and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Research on static and PNF stretching (compared to no stretching) increasing range of motion (ROM) in athletes is recommended to confirm previous study findings. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if static and PNF stretching (compared to no stretching) improves flexibility within college athletes. Methods: Participants (N = 45) were from the Huntington University’s baseball, softball, and cheerleading teams and ranged in age from 18 to 23 years. Participants were excluded from the study if any injury occurred within 6 months of testing. The sit and reach and shoulder flexibility tests were used to measure flexibility. Testing was performed over a two-day period. Day one included no stretching followed by testing. Day one also included SS followed by testing. Day two included PNF stretching followed by testing. Results: For the sit and reach test, no stretching resulted in significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lower scores compared to static and PNF stretching (Mean ± SD; 25cm ± 9.6 vs. 29cm ± 9.7 vs. 30.1cm ± 9.6). For right shoulder flexibility, no stretching resulted in significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lower scores than static and PNF (0.1 ± 8.2 cm vs. 2.9 ± 6.7cm vs 3.81 ± 7.0 cm, respectively). For left shoulder flexibility, PNF stretching was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher than no stretching (M = 0.04 ± 8.2 cm vs. -4.2 ± 9.6 cm). Conclusions: Our findings support our hypotheses that static and PNF stretching improve flexibility compared to no stretching within an athletic population. It is suggested future studies compare whether different “time delays” between the last stretch and the range of motion assessment, has on the increase in range of motion.