Acute Effects of Hamstring Stretching on Sagittal Spinal Curvatures and Pelvic Tilt

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Pedro A. Lopez-Minarro, Jose M. Muyor, Felipe Belmonte, Fernando Alacid

The aim of this study was to determine acute effects of hamstring stretching in thoracic and lumbar spinal curvatures and pelvic tilt. Fifty-five adults (29.24 ± 7.41 years) were recruited for this study. Subjects performed a hamstring stretching protocol consisting of four exercises. The session consisted of 3 sets of each exercise and subjects held the position for 20 seconds with a 30-second rest period between sets and exercises. Thoracic and lumbar spinal angles and pelvic tilt were measured with a SpinalMouse in relaxed standing, sit-and-reach test and Macrae & Wright position. Hamstring extensibility was determined by active straight leg raise test and sit-and-reach score. All measures were performed before and immediately after the hamstring stretching protocol. Active straight leg raise angle and sit-and-reach score significantly improved immediately after the stretching protocol (p<0.001). Greater anterior pelvic tilt (p<0.001) and lumbar flexion (p<0.05) and a smaller thoracic kyphosis in the sit-and-reach (p<0.001) were found after the stretching protocol. However, stretching produced no significant change on spinal curvatures or pelvic tilt in standing and maximal trunk flexion with knees flexed. In conclusion, static stretching of the hamstring is associated to an immediate change in the sagittal spinal curvatures and pelvic position when performing trunk flexion with knees extended, so that allowing for greater lumbar flexion and anterior pelvic tilt and lower thoracic kyphosis. Hamstring stretching is recommended prior to sport activities involving trunk flexion with the knees straight.
DOI: 10.2478/v10078-012-0007-7
Key words
flexibility, posture, thoracic, lumbar, spine

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