Golgi tendon organ reflex inhibition following manually applied acute static stretching

Kevin C. Miller, John A. Burne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Golgi tendon organ disinhibition may contribute to exercise-associated muscle cramp (henceforth referred to as "cramps") genesis. Static stretching pre-exercise is prescribed to prevent cramps based on the assumption golgi tendon organ inhibition remains elevated post-stretching. We determined whether stretching increased gastrocnemius golgi tendon organ inhibition and, if so, the time course of this inhibition post-stretching. Twelve participants' dominant limb medial gastrocnemius inhibition was measured before, and at 1, 5, 10, 15 and 30 min after investigators applied three, 1-min duration stretches. Participants maintained voluntary contraction intensities of 5% of their maximum while the Achilles tendon was stimulated transcutaneously 50 times. Five-hundred millisecond epochs of raw electromyographic activity were band-pass filtered, full-wave rectified and averaged. An algorithm identified inhibitory points and calculated the area, maximum and duration of inhibition. Area of inhibition (F1,14 = 1.5, P = 0.25), maximum inhibition (F1,14 = 0.2, P = 0.72) and duration of inhibition (F1,14 = 1.5, P = 0.24) were unaffected by static stretching over the 30-min post-stretching period. If pre-stretching does prevent fatigue-induced cramping, the mechanism is unlikely to involve the autoinhibition produced by the golgi tendon organ reflex. Further empirical research is needed to validate the proposed link between static stretching and cramping and then to investigate alternative mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number15
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • alpha motor neuron
  • electrical stimulation
  • muscle cramp
  • tendon afferents


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