Article

The acute effects of different durations of static stretching on dynamic balance performance.

Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Impact Factor: 1.86). 12/2008; 23(1):141-7. DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818eb052
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different durations of static stretching on dynamic balance. Women (N = 28) were tested before and after 2 stretching interventions and a control condition on 3 separate days, at least 48 hours apart. The stretching sessions involved a cycle ergometer warm-up at 70 rpm and 70 W followed by passive stretching of the lower-body muscles. Each stretching position was held at a point of mild discomfort and repeated 3 times with 15 seconds between stretches. In the 2 stretching protocols, the positions were maintained for 15 or 45 seconds. The control condition involved the same cycle ergometer warm-up, with a 26-minute rest period between pre- and posttests. Balance was assessed using the Biodex Balance System. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used with the effects of study condition (control, 15 seconds, 45 seconds) and time (pre-, postscores). Post hoc paired t-tests were used when appropriate to determine possible statistical significance between pre- and posttest scores. Analyses indicated no significant main effects for either study condition or time. However, there was a significant condition x time interaction (p < 0.05). Post hoc analyses indicated that the 15-second condition produced a significant improvement in the balance scores (p < 0.01), with no significant effects with the control condition or the 45-second treatment. The results of this study reveal that a stretching protocol of 45-second hold durations does not adversely affect balance when using the current stabilometry testing procedure. Furthermore, a stretching intervention with 15-second hold durations may improve balance performance by decreasing postural instability. Strength and conditioning professionals concerned with reported performance limitations associated with static stretching should consider applying shorter-duration stretching protocols when aiming to improve balance performance.

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