The effects of acute self myofascial release (MFR) and stretching techniques on physical fitness parameters
The objective of this study was to assess the effects of self myofascial release (MFR) techniques and different stretching techniques on physical fitness parameters among university students. This was a prospective randomised controlled study involving 30 university students who participate in team sports. Baseline measurements were taken initially and then participants were randomly divided into four groups (control [n=10, static stretching [n=10], dynamic stretching [n=10] and self MFR [n=10]). Each group performed a 60-minute intervention. During the intervention programme the various groups took part in prescribed stretching techniques under supervision of qualified technicians for an hour. Baseline measurements were repeated, except for body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage. Repeated measures using ANOVA revealed significant differences with a number of variables: hip flexor flexibility for both legs (HFFR; p=0,043; HFFL; p=0,002), sit ups (SU; p=0,002) and deep squat (DS; p=0,006). ANCOVA measures revealed that there was significant improvement in sit ups (SU; p=0,014) and deep squats (DS; p=0,025) in the dynamic group, compared to the control group. Both MFR and dynamic stretches are beneficial in improving acute selected flexibility and strength parameters. Dynamic stretches show a more significant improvement compared to MFR in selected flexibility and strength parameters. This information is valuable to sport participants, providing information on the ideal stretching techniques to administer before events, which can lead to an enhancement in performance and reduction in the prevalence of injuries related to participating in physical activity by means of increased flexibility and/or range of motion (ROM).
Keywords: Myofascial release, stretching techniques, physical fitness
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