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Student Work

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stretching, slow deep breathing, hamstring, hip range of motion


Restricted hip range of motion (ROM) is a common issue for both the general public due to muscle tightness associated with an increased sedentary lifestyle and individuals with diaphragmatic breathing dysfunction. There is evidence that both static stretching treatment and proper breathing mechanics, increase hip ROM, however, it is unclear whether ROM can be enhanced by combining these techniques. The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of static stretching (SS) to static stretching combined with slow deep breathing (SS+SDB) on hamstring flexibility as measured by hip flexion. Eleven healthy participants between the ages of 18-30 with no current musculoskeletal injury, or diagnosed respiratory disease, reported for two separate test days, 1 to 4 weeks apart. The SS intervention consisted of a standing one-legged hamstring stretch for 2 sets of 30 seconds bilaterally with 10 seconds rest between sets. The SS+SDB intervention consisted of the same stretching protocol as used in the SS intervention with the addition of slow deep diaphragmatic breathing at a rate of 4 seconds inhale, 2 seconds hold, 4 seconds exhale. The order of the interventions was randomly assigned. Pre-and post-intervention measurements of hip flexion were acquired through completing an active straight leg raise bilaterally with video analysis. Post-intervention left and right hip flexion was normalized to pre-intervention hip flexion, averaged by intervention, and then compared using a T-test. There was a significant increase in hip flexion for the SS+SDB when compared to SS for both the right leg (3.91% +/- 1.57 vs 9.17% +/- 1.77, p < 0.05), and left leg (2.88% +/- 1.03 vs 9.27% +/- 1.74, p < 0.05). A separate analysis was conducted comparing the different treatment effects by gender which revealed no significant differences. In conclusion, this data suggests that the addition of slow deep breathing to static stretching produces a greater increase in hip ROM when compared to static stretching alone. Therefore, when aiming to increase hip ROM through static stretching it is important to incorporate slow deep breathing.


Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies (FAHCS)


Excellence in Curricular-Embedded SRCA  Nominee

This award is conferred on a group of Sheridan students who operated as a high-achieving team, shared a unified focus and vision, and demonstrated a commitment to collaboration, equity and democratization in a curricular or non-curricular SRCA project.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Lamontagne, E. & Cottrell, T.G. (2021). A comparison of the effects of static stretching alone to static stretching plus slow deep breathing on hip flexion range of motion.