THE EFFECT OF VARYING EXERCISE TREATMENTS ON THE SHORT TERM CHANGE IN RANGE OF MOTION BENEFITS REALIZED THROUGH A PROPRIOCEPTIVE NEUROMUSCULAR FACILITATION TRAINING REGIMEN

  • C.J. Culligan
  • D.G. Burke
  • L.E. Holt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the short term effects of five separate treatments on the selected measures of flexibility on pretrained subjects. Treatments included four active exercise programs and one inactive. The design required each subject complete 5 treatments on separate days within one week. The treatments were two 15 minute bouts of treadmill walking, stationary cycling, calisthenics, continued Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching and quiet non-motile sitting. Prior and following each treatment, each subject completed PNF stretch training for the hamstrings, and lower and middle back musculature. Measures of flexibility (dependent variables) consisted of standard sit-and-reach and two-modified sit-and-reach procedures. Five measures were taken for each treatment; pre-first PNF stretch, post-first PNF stretch, following 15 minutes of treatment exercise, following a second 15 minutes of treatment exercise, and post-second PNF stretch. These measures allowed the observation of whether the separate exercise protocols had varying effects on the concerned structures ability to maintain short term flexibility gains and how these exercises affected the same tissues' ability to respond to a second daily PNF stretch following the exercises. The 4 non-stretching treatments showed significant losses of flexibility gains following 15 minutes of exercise, with no significant difference between them. The gains realized through the first daily PNF session were lost through these activities. The separate and continuous PNF treatment showed a maintenance of flexibility throughout the two 15 minute bouts with no significant gains. The 4 non-stretching treatments showed no significant change in flexibility over the second 15 minute bout of exercise. After the second daily PNF stretch training, there were no significant differences among the treatments. The results show that following 15 minutes of exercise treatments, there is no significant retention of flexibility gains realized through stretch training, except for that seen with continued stretching. Thus, if maintained increased flexibility is a concern, continued stretching may be necessary. Following a second daily PNF stretch training, all decayed flexibility was regained with no significant differences seen between treatment gains. Thus, post exercise stretching - seems viable when attempting to maintain increased flexibility.