Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Major

Exercise Science - PrePhysical Therapy

Research Sponsor

Rachele Kappler

First Reader

Ronald Otterstetter

Second Reader

Laura Richardson

Abstract

Health care professionals construct exercise prescriptions for clients and patients to complete on their own. Exercise specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and exercise physiologists are all considered health care professionals for this study. Furthermore, the importance of flexibility and stretching is commonly overlooked. The purpose of this research study was to compare whether or not different instructional techniques affect adherence to a stretching routine, and if followed were improvements gained in quadriceps and hamstring flexibility. Thirty-one students from The University of Akron between the ages of 18 and 37 with an average height of 66.7 inches and average weight of 163 pounds participated in the study. The ACSM recommended sit-and-reach protocol and modified Thomas test were used to measure hamstring and quadriceps flexibility prior to and following the study. Participants were asked to complete a four-week program consisting of the completion of six yoga based stretching exercises at a minimum frequency of twice per week. The demonstration group met with researchers in the exercise physiology lab at The University of Akron, the written group completed the program on their own without instruction, but aided by a brochure, and the control continued their daily lives as normal. Results revealed no significant difference between any of the three groups for improvements in hamstring flexibility as measured by the sit and reach test. Furthermore, subject adherence showed no correlation to gains in hamstring flexibility. However, when examining the mean gains within each group, the experimental group showed significant improvements (p= 0.03) in hamstring flexibility, as did the control (p= 0.05). As hypothesized, the experimental or demonstrational group showed the greatest gains in hamstring flexibility (3.07 cm), followed by the control group (2.47 cm) and written group (1.39 cm).

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