Hip adductor flexibility and strength is an important component of athletic performance and many activities of daily living. Little research has been done on the acute effects of a single session of stretching on hip abduction range of motion (ROM). The aim of this study was to compare 3 clinical stretching procedures against passive static stretching and control on ROM and peak isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC).
Using a randomized crossover study design, a total of 40 participants (20 male and 20 female) who had reduced hip adductor muscle length attended a familiarization session and 5 testing sessions on non-consecutive days. Following the warm-up and pre-intervention measures of ROM and MVC, participants were randomly assigned 1 of 3 clinical stretching procedures (modified lunge, multidirectional, and joint mobilization) or a static stretch or control condition. Post-intervention measures of ROM and MVC were taken immediately following completion of the assigned condition.
An ANOVA using a repeated measure design with the change score was conducted. All interventions resulted in small but statistically significant (p < 0.05) increases (1.0°-1.7°) in ROM with no inter-condition differences except one. Multidirectional stretching was greater than control (p = 0.031). This data suggest that a single session of stretching has only a minimal effect on acute changes of hip abduction ROM. Although hip abduction is a frontal plane motion, to effectively increase the extensibility of the structures that limit abduction, integrating multi-planar stretches may be indicated.