Plantar Flexor Stretch Training: Clinical Tidbit

Stretch Training

Stretch Training

The movements you do and the lifestyle you choose influences the form that tissue takes.

Preliminary findings suggest stretch training is a viable way to stimulate architectural adaptation. Changes in the passive elastic properties and ROM induced by stretch training is due to both increases in stretch tolerance AND changes in passive properties of muscle. For a more indepth looks at theses changes you may want to check out these recent studies:

  • 6 weeks of loaded stretch training of the plantar flexors resulted in hypertrophic like adaptations of the gastrocnemius (Simpson et al. 2017)
  • 3 weeks of twice daily stretch training (4 × 30 s) lead to an increase in dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM)  a 28% increase in passive joint moment (Blazevich et al. 2014). 
  • 4-week static stretch training program changes the flexibility of the gastrocnemius muscle tendon unit (Nakamura et al. 2012)

More to Explore

Apostolopoulos, N., Metsios, G.S., ... Wyon, M.A. (2015). The relevance of stretch intensity and position-a systematic review. Front Psychol.

Franchi, M.V., Reeves, N.D., Narici, M.V. (2017). Skeletal Muscle Remodeling in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Adaptations. Front Physiol.  (OPEN ACCESS)

Nakamura, M., Ikezoe, T., Takeno, Y., Ichihashi, N. (2012). Effects of a 4-week static stretch training program on passive stiffness of human gastrocnemius muscle-tendon unit in vivo. Eur J Appl Physiol.

Nordez, A., Gross, R., Andrade, R., Le Sant, G., Freitas, S., Ellis, R., McNair, P.J., Hug, F. (2017). Non-Muscular Structures Can Limit the Maximal Joint Range of Motion during Stretching. Sports Med. 

Simpson, C.L., Kim, B.D., Bourcet, M.R., Jones, G.R., Jakobi, J.M. (2017). Stretch training induces unequal adaptation in muscle fascicles and thickness in medial and lateral gastrocnemii. Scand J Med Sci Sports.

Weppler, C.H., Magnusson, S.P. (2010). Increasing muscle extensibility: a matter of increasing length or modifying sensation? Phys Ther.