Effects of a pilates school program on hamstrings flexibility of adolescents


Exercise Science & Sports Management

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INTRODUCTION: Low levels of hamstring flexibility may trigger certain acute and chronic pathologies and injuries. Poor flexibility is observed among teenagers and several authors have recommended the use of specific programs in this population to improve flexibility levels. The Pilates Method (PM) may be an appropriate intervention to achieve this purpose and has rarely been used with this population. Objective: Study was to assess changes in the flexibility of hamstrings after running a didactic PM unit for high-school students. METHODS: This research was developed through a quasi-experimental design. The sample consisted of 66 high-school students divided into experimental group (EG=39) and control group (CG=27). The intervention was carried out 2 times a week for six weeks. Each session lasted 55 minutes divided into three parts: warm-up, main part and cool down. Hamstring flexibility was assessed using the toe-touch test. Paired Student t-test and t-test for independent samples were applied. The size of the effect (d) was determined. RESULTS: The EG showed significant provident in hamstring flexibility (+3.54±3.9cm). The effect size was low (d>d>0,2<0,53), which means that a small proportion of participants improved their results. The control group did not have significant changes after the intervention. In the experimental group, both boys (+3.38± 3.7cm) and girls (+3.85 ± 4.2cm) showed significant improvements. The effect size was low for boys (d>d>0.2<0.53), which means that a small proportion of participants improved their results, and high for girls (d>1.15) which means that a large proportion of participants improved their results. CONCLUSION: This study showed that six-weeks of Pilates training in Physical Education classes has significantly improved the hamstrings flexibility among adolescents.