Physical therapy clinicians often provide their patients with home exercise programs to help facilitate a patient's progress toward their goals. Many times these home programs include stretching of the hamstrings muscle group. The purpose of this study was two-fold: first, to determine if a single person hamstring stretch position that utilizes the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique -of contract relax could achieve an increase of hamstring range of. motion and secondly, to compare this single person position with that of a standard two person stretch of the hamstrings muscle using the same PNF contract relax method. Our hypothesis was that a well executed single person PNF stretch would be as effective in increasing or maintaining appropriate hamstring range of motion as a two person PNF stretch.
The results showed that the three groups involved in the study (one person stretch, two person stretch, and control) all significantly improved (P < 0.05) in hamstring range of motion from the start of the study to the fourth week of the study. These results suggest that the single person stretch yields an increase in hamstring range of motion as effectively as the two person stretch which required a second individual to help complete the stretch. However, these results also indicate that the control group, without performing any stretch at all, also increased in range of motion in the hamstrings. Therefore, it is plausible that either a single person or two person CR PNF stretch could be applied to a patient treatment or home exercise, and if performed correctly, an increase in hamstring range of motion could potentially be achieved.
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