Stretching position can affect levator scapular muscle activity, length, and cervical range of motion in people with a shortened levator scapulae

Hyo Jung Jeong, Heon Seock Cynn, Chung Hwi Yi, Jang Whon Yoon, Ji Hyun Lee, Tae Lim Yoon, Bo Been Kim

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Objectives Levator scapulae (LS) muscle stretching exercises are a common method of lengthening a shortened muscle; however, the appropriate stretching position for lengthening the LS in people with a shortened LS remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of different stretching exercise positions on the LS and introduce effective stretching exercise methods to clinicians. Participants Twenty-four university students (12 men, 12 women) with a shortened LS were recruited. Methods LS muscle activity, LS index (LSI), and cervical range of motion (ROM) were measured pre (baseline) and post three different stretching exercise positions (sitting, quadruped, and prone). Results The LSI and cervical ROM exceeded the minimal detectable change and had significant changes. The LSI was greater in the sitting position than at the baseline (p = 0.01), quadruped position (p < 0.01); the LSI in the prone position presented a higher increase than the quadruped position (p = 0.01). The cervical ROM increased in the sitting position when compared to the baseline (p < 0.01) and quadruped position (p < 0.01). Conclusions Stretching the LS in the sitting position was the most effective exercise for improving LS muscle length and cervical ROM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-19
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Therapy in Sport
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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