The influence of sports massage on flexibility and sporting performance
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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when examining the critical factors that contribute to high level athletic performance, flexibility is one of the key items. The use of sports massage both as a modality for increasing flexibility and an aid to physical performance has been well practised amongst athletes and coaches alike. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of sports massage on hamstring flexibilþ and atliletic performance. The only unreliable physiological test which rejected the null hypothesis (p<'05) was the active knee extension test. It was hypothesised in the main study that there would be a significant increase (p<.05) in hamstring flexibility (deg) and 20 m sprint time (s) but a statistically significant decrease (p<.05) in vertical jump height (m) between test days for the massage group. In addition it was hypothesised that there would be no significant differences (p>.05) in measures for the control group' The test battery took place on day one and day four which involved:l.active knee extension test (deg) 2. vertical jump test (m) over a force platform (Kistler), and 3. 20 meter sprint test (s) using electrical timing gates @leiko). Paired samples t-tests were used to evaluate whether changes in performance were significantþ different (p<'05)' Ten subjects volunteered to participate in the study. Five were randomly assigned to the massage group and five were assigned to the control goup' On day one and five, all subjects \¡/ere exposed to the test battery; in additior¡ the massage gloup received sports massage to the hamstrings everyday from day one to four. The control goup received no treatment and continued with their regular regime' The main study results showed that the massage group had a significant (p<.05) increase in angular displacement (deg) of the left knee but a significant decrease in vertical velocity at take-off (-'t-t) and vertical jump height (m). The control groups showed no significant differences (p>.05) over the entire test battery. The results indicate that sports massage is an effective modality for increasing hamstring flexibility but a poor modality for increasing explosive power and speed at the lower extremities. Further research is required to support these findings.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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