June 4, Akron, OH – Researchers at
Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, Canada, recently published a
study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that compared the Thera-Band Stretch Strap to partner-assisted
stretching for hamstring flexibility.
The Thera-band Stretch Strap, an
innovative replacement to static-only stretching devices, was designed to
support both static and contract-relax, or proprioceptive neuromuscular
facilitation (PN) stretching without the need for a partner.
A recent review paper, Current
Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation, presented the advantages and disadvantages of
different stretching techniques and a summation that static
stretching may decrease immediate muscle performance, while contract-relax
stretching may be more beneficial for immediate gains in range of motion with
less detriment to muscle performance. PNF stretching involves a muscle
contraction prior to initiation of the stretch, and it’s thought that
contracting the target muscle or its antagonist prior to stretching may increase
muscle length through neurologic-mediated mechanisms. While effective, PNF
techniques often require a partner to provide resistance to the muscle
contraction prior to the stretch.
Thirteen healthy adults participated in the Memorial University of Newfoundland
study and each performed five different hamstring
stretching techniques on separate days in random order. Hip range of motion
(ROM), muscle reaction time, and movement velocity were measured before and
immediately after each stretching condition.
researchers found that all stretching techniques significantly increased hip
ROM, but there was no significant difference between the techniques.
Interestingly, both the Stretch Strap and partner-assisted techniques reduced
movement velocity, while maintaining the same reaction times regardless of the
type of stretch. They concluded that the Thera-Band Stretch Strap is as
effective as partner-assisted stretching at increasing ROM, but stated that
“competitive athletes should use these techniques to improve flexibility in a
separate stretching routine, and not immediately before training and
Based on these results, the Thera-Band
Stretch Strap fulfilled its intent stated by the authors “to make PNF
stretching techniques a more viable option to improve range of motion and
overall flexibility for a single individual. The elasticity of the Stretch
Strap provides resistance for muscle contractions potentially replacing the
need for a partner.”
For more information on Thera-Band and other
products, please visit www.performancehealth.com.