Neural mobilization improves hamstring flexibility
Conventional ways of improving muscle flexibility have only been marginally effective. There is a need to explore new ways to maximise muscular flexibility. In an attempt to do so, this study found that neural mobilization enhances the effect of static stretching.
Many techniques have been tried and tested to improve the flexibility of the hamstrings, which is important for different populations such as dancers, athletes and gymnasts. The majority of research suggests that sustaining the muscle stretch in an elongated position for a longer time enhances muscle flexibility. However, this technique alone does not seem to provide the desirable effect. Problems with the movement of the sciatic nerve (mechanosensitivity) have been proposed as a limiting factor for hamstring flexibility, it was hypothesized that moving the sciatic nerve may improve hamstring flexibility. Thus, a comparison was made between the additional effect of two types of neural mobilization techniques (sliders and tensioners) and static stretching to static stretching alone on the hamstring flexibility.
Two types of neural mobilization techniques were used (three sets each), i.e. neural sliders and neural tensioners in Slump position. The experimental groups were assigned the neural sliding and the neural tensioning technique, respectively, whereas the third group only received static stretching exercises. It was found that hamstring flexibility increased in all three groups. However, adding neural mobilization techniques enhanced the effect of static stretching. No difference was found between the two different types of neural mobilization techniques.
This study concludes that neural mobilization techniques are a useful adjunct to static stretching, without any risk of adverse events or injuries. Athletes or trainers can consider using one or both types of neural mobilization techniques to enhance muscular flexibility. Dosage of the neural mobilization as well as the proposed working mechanism behind the increase in hamstring flexibility can be found in the full text of the article.
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> From: Sharma et al., Phys Ther Sport 17 (2016) 30-37. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.