Sportverletz Sportschaden 2003; 17(2): 65-70
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-40131
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Differences in Hamstring Muscle Stretching of Elite Field Hockey Players and Normal Subjects

Unterschiede im Dehnverhalten der ischiokruralen Muskulatur bei Spitzenhockeyspielern und normalen ProbandenM.  Jaeger1 , J.  Freiwald2 , M.  Engelhardt1 , V.  Lange-Berlin2
  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 2Department of Sport Science, Bergische University, Wuppertal, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
20 June 2003 (online)


Stretching is a common practice in sports and rehabilitation therapy and many benefits are attributed to it. In times of growing hobby and professional sports activities the use of stretching to prevent injury of the muscle-tendon unit [1] [2] increases. Furthermore sportsmen make use of stretching to enhance performance and improve flexibility [3]. In rehabilitation therapy, stretching is basically applied to increase the range of movement (ROM) and reduce passive resistance to stretch (PRS) in injured and surgically treated joints [4] [5].

Previous scientific research focused on stretching of the hamstring muscle group, since the hip joint flexion is not limited by bony structures. In this case, it is possible to monitor the effects of stretching on connective tissue in vivo [5]. The investigated parameters were changed in PRS and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the stretched muscle-tendon units as well as changed in ROM of the involved joints [6] [7]. Short term and long term effects, covering single stretches [8] [9] and periods of stretch training over weeks [1] [10] [11], respectively, have been observed.

Little is known today about the differences in the stretching behaviour of athletes and normal healthy subjects. So far uniform stretching patterns and exercises are recommended for athletes and non-athletes. Due to the widespread use of stretching among both groups, a scientific inquiry regarding this point to gain further knowledge seems opportune. Hence, this study aimed at investigating the existence of differences in neurophysiological (EMG activity) and biomechanical parameters (ROM and PRS) of stretched hamstring muscles of normal healthy subjects and elite field hockey players at the highest national level.


Univers.-Prof. Dr. J. Freiwald

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