View Full Version : Hamstrings and Gastrocs link

06-06-2004, 09:26 AM
Dear fellow biomechanists,

It has been sometime since I have posted a question or comment on this forum although I still read what the rest of you are writing each day. The following question comes from observation of my own muscles during stretching exercises and my own knowledge of anatomy (or perhaps lack thereof):

Why do I feel discomfort in my gastrocnemius muscles when I attempt a "sit and reach" (hamstrings) stretch with my ankles in a neutral position vs. when I do the same stretch with my ankles slightly planter flexed (no gastrocs discomfort)? This implies that my gastrocs are being stretched differently between the two versions of this exercise. The only joints changing their position during the actual stretching exercises are my hips (flexing). I keep my knees fully extended either way and my ankles fixed in one of two positions. As far as I know the gastrocs are not supposed to change their length at all by changes in hip position, only knee and ankle. Is there some connective tissue link between the stretch of the hamstrings and the stretch in the gastrocs not predicted by the simple 2 joint models of these muscles?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter.



Richard N. Hinrichs, Ph.D.
Dept. of Kinesiology
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 870404
Tempe, AZ 85287-0404
(1) 480-965-1624 (phone)
(1) 480-965-8108 (fax)
hinrichs@asu.edu (email)
www.public.asu.edu/~hinrichs/ (personal web page)
www.asu.edu/clas/kines/ (Dept. web page)

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