"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead
Research Article

The Effects of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Post-Exercise Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Young Adults



Abstract

Until recently, the scientific community believed that post-exercise stretching could reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but recent reviews of studies on the topic have concluded that pre- or post-exercise static stretching has no effect on mitigating DOMS. However, the effect of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) post-exercise stretching on preventing DOMS has not been adequately studied. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of post-exercise PNF stretching on DOMS. Young adult participants (N=57) were randomly assigned to a PNF stretching group (n=19), a static stretching group (n=20), and to a no-stretching control group (n=18). All participants completed exercise designed to induce DOMS prior to post-exercise experimental stretching protocols. Participants rated their soreness level on a pain scale 24 and 48 hours post-exercise. A 3 × 2 mixed ANOVA showed there was an effect for time (p<.01). Post hoc testing revealed that DOMS pain significantly decreased (p<.05) from 24 to 48 hours post-exercise for the PNF and control groups, but not for the static stretching group. Other analyses revealed a significant correlation (r=.61, p<.01) between the pre- and post-exercise stretch scores and the 48 hour post-exercise pain score for the PNF group. Consistent with the results of previous research on post-exercise static stretching, these results indicate that post-exercise PNF stretching also does not prevent DOMS. However, the correlation analysis suggests it is possible the pre-stretch muscle contractions of the post-exercise PNF protocol may have placed a load on an already damaged muscle causing more DOMS for some participants.


Share