JC's Musings

Kohnstamm Phenomenon

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Do you know the Kohnstamm phenomenon (KP)? I bet you do! You know when you stand in a door and you position your arms against the door jambs and then push into the jambs for about 30-60 seconds. What happens when you step out? The arms raise in most people and this is similar for a lot of muscles. That is the KP, a strong sustained isometric contraction, resulting in an after-contraction in the same muscle. Explanations for this phenomenon are given in an article by Havas et al. (2017) https://lnkd.in/gKtEcr5

A great party trick, but so what? Brad Thorpe and I briefly talked about this phenomenon and I was left wondering if there was any clinical or practical significance to the KP. PNF stretching comes to mind as one pseudo-application of this. Have any of you been using it in a facilitatory or inhibitory manner to increase/decrease neural excitability e.g. inhibiting antagonist excitability so as agonist net force is enhanced? I’m sure some trainers, physiotherapists or clinicians can provide insight and examples here.