Lengthening the hamstring muscles without stretching using "awareness through movement".

Finding movement

Photo: © Rosalie O'Connor 2005-2007. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission, courtesy of FGNA.

July 3, 2008 - 7:45am -- ctheuring
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Publication Type:

Journal Article




United States (2006)




BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Passive stretching is widely used to increase muscle flexibility, but it has been shown that this process does not produce long-term changes in the viscoelastic properties of muscle as originally thought. The authors tested a method of lengthening hamstring muscles called "Awareness Through Movement" (ATM) that does not use passive stretching. SUBJECTS: Thirty-three subjects who were randomly assigned to ATM and control groups met the screening criteria and completed the intervention phase of the study. METHODS: The ATM group went through a process of learning complex active movements designed to increase length in the hamstring muscles. Hamstring muscle length was measured before and after intervention using the Active Knee Extension Test. RESULTS: The ATM group gained significantly more hamstring muscle length (+7.04 degrees ) compared with the control group (+1.15 degrees ). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:: The results suggest that muscle length can be increased through a process of active movement that does not involve stretching. Further research is needed to investigate this finding.


Stephens, J., Davidson, J., Derosa, J., Kriz, M., &amp; Saltzman, N. (2006). Lengthening the hamstring muscles without stretching using &quot;awareness through movement&quot;. <em>Physical Therapy</em>, 86(12), 1641-1650.