Aim Myofascial release is a manual therapeutic method aiming to relax the muscles and their surrounding fascia. The release method originally involves a therapist, moving the fascia against its surroundings primarily with tangential forces applied by their hands. More recently, a self-applied method of release has been proposed where an individual uses semi-rigid round materials in order to achieve the release effect. Many studies have shown acute effects of release on range-of-movement and particular functional performance tests along with muscle strength measurements, wherease only few investigated the agonist and the antagonist muscle in combination.
Methods 22 healthy male, aged between 18-35 volunteered for the study, with moderate or high level physical activity. Demographics, physical acitivity (international physical activity questionnaire) and life quality (Short Form-36) scores of subjects were noted and participants were divided into two groups (11, 11) randomly. First group was allocated into static stretching, and second group into self-myofascial release group. In the following week, groups interchanged (cross-over design). In both groups, volunteers first warmed-up at a stationary bicycle for 10 minutes at 65 rpm, followed by a 5 second isometric strength testing (3 repetitions) of the knee for both muscle groups performed at 60 degrees of knee flexion, with Cybex II isokinetic dynamometer. After applying the protocol consisting of 1 minute of application (stretching or release) and 30 seconds of rest for 4 cycles; subjects rested for 10 minutes followed by a second isometric strength testing. Peak torque, average torque, peak torque slope, time to half peak torque and time to peak torque was noted in order to analyse any statistically significant difference. Istanbul University, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine Ethical Committee approved the study.
Results Average torque for knee extensor mucles and peak torque slope for flexors increased significantly 10 minutes after static stretching (p < 0.05) (Table 1). Time to peak torque for extensors and average torque for flexors increased significantly 10 minutes after myofascial release (p < 0.05) (Table 2).
Conclusions Myofascial release seems to lengthen peak torque time for antagonist muscles, whereas positively effect average torque generation for 5 seconds even after 10 minutes of application. Considering the muscles that will be involved, an individual with the need of isometric contraction for a particular physical activity may benefit from myofascial release. However, it should be noted that sudden torque production seems to delay for the antagonist muscles.
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MacDonald GZ, Penney MDH, Mullaley ME, Cuconato AL, Drake CDJ, Behm DG, Button DC. An acute bout of self-myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2013 Mar;27(3), 812–821.
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