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Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility and Performance: An Analysis of the Current Literature

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Stretching has long been used in many physical activities to increase range of motion (ROM) around a joint. Stretching also has other acute effects on the neuromuscular system. For instance, significant reductions in maximal voluntary strength, muscle power or evoked contractile properties have been recorded immediately after a single bout of static stretching, raising interest in other stretching modalities. Thus, the effects of dynamic stretching on subsequent muscular performance have been questioned. This review aimed to investigate performance and physiological alterations following dynamic stretching. There is a substantial amount of evidence pointing out the positive effects on ROM and subsequent performance (force, power, sprint and jump). The larger ROM would be mainly attributable to reduced stiffness of the muscle-tendon unit, while the improved muscular performance to temperature and potentiation-related mechanisms caused by the voluntary contraction associated with dynamic stretching. Therefore, if the goal of a warm-up is to increase joint ROM and to enhance muscle force and/or power, dynamic stretching seems to be a suitable alternative to static stretching. Nevertheless, numerous studies reporting no alteration or even performance impairment have highlighted possible mitigating factors (such as stretch duration, amplitude or velocity). Accordingly, ballistic stretching, a form of dynamic stretching with greater velocities, would be less beneficial than controlled dynamic stretching. Notwithstanding, the literature shows that inconsistent description of stretch procedures has been an important deterrent to reaching a clear consensus. In this review, we highlight the need for future studies reporting homogeneous, clearly described stretching protocols, and propose a clarified stretching terminology and methodology.
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility
and Performance: An Analysis of the Current Literature
Jules Opplert
1,2
Nicolas Babault
1,2
Springer International Publishing AG 2017
Abstract Stretching has long been used in many physical
activities to increase range of motion (ROM) around a
joint. Stretching also has other acute effects on the neu-
romuscular system. For instance, significant reductions in
maximal voluntary strength, muscle power or evoked
contractile properties have been recorded immediately after
a single bout of static stretching, raising interest in other
stretching modalities. Thus, the effects of dynamic
stretching on subsequent muscular performance have been
questioned. This review aimed to investigate performance
and physiological alterations following dynamic stretching.
There is a substantial amount of evidence pointing out the
positive effects on ROM and subsequent performance
(force, power, sprint and jump). The larger ROM would be
mainly attributable to reduced stiffness of the muscle–
tendon unit, while the improved muscular performance to
temperature and potentiation-related mechanisms caused
by the voluntary contraction associated with dynamic
stretching. Therefore, if the goal of a warm-up is to
increase joint ROM and to enhance muscle force and/or
power, dynamic stretching seems to be a suitable alterna-
tive to static stretching. Nevertheless, numerous studies
reporting no alteration or even performance impairment
have highlighted possible mitigating factors (such as
stretch duration, amplitude or velocity). Accordingly,
ballistic stretching, a form of dynamic stretching with
greater velocities, would be less beneficial than controlled
dynamic stretching. Notwithstanding, the literature shows
that inconsistent description of stretch procedures has been
an important deterrent to reaching a clear consensus. In this
review, we highlight the need for future studies reporting
homogeneous, clearly described stretching protocols, and
propose a clarified stretching terminology and
methodology.
Abbreviations
BS Ballistic stretching
CMJ Countermovement jump
DE Dynamic exercise
DJ Drop jump
DS Dynamic stretching
DWU Dynamic warm-up
EMG Electromyography
FDE Fast dynamic exercise
ISOK Isokinetic dynamometer
MTU Muscle–tendon unit
NS No stretching
PAP Post-activation potentiation
PNF Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
PT Peak torque
RM Repetition maximum
ROM Range of motion
RSA Repeated sprint ability
SDE Slow dynamic exercise
SS Static stretching
&Jules Opplert
opplert.jules@gmail.com
1
INSERM CAPS, UMR 1093, Faculte
´des Sciences du Sport,
Universite
´de Bourgogne-Franche-Comte
´, BP 27877, 21078
Dijon Cedex, France
2
Centre d’Expertise de la Performance, Faculte
´des Sciences
du Sport, Universite
´de Bourgogne-Franche-Comte
´,
BP 27877, 21078 Dijon Cedex, France
123
Sports Med
DOI 10.1007/s40279-017-0797-9
Key Points
Acute effects of dynamic stretching on flexibility and
muscular performance have been widely studied, but
there is little knowledge regarding the underlying
mechanisms.
Despite inconsistent description of stretch
procedures in the literature, dynamic stretching
seems to be a suitable alternative to static stretching
as part of a warm-up.
Future studies should use common terminology and
methodological rules to reach a clear consensus on
the effects induced by dynamic stretching.
1 Introduction
Warm-up prior to an athletic event is considered essential
to optimise performance [1]. Traditionally, it is composed
of different activities including a bout of static stretching
[2]. This usually involves moving a limb to its end range of
motion (ROM) and holding this stretched position for
several seconds [2]. Static stretching has largely been
demonstrated to be an effective method to increase ROM
around a joint [25]. The so-defined increased flexibility
has primarily been attributed to decreased stiffness of the
muscle–tendon unit (MTU) [68] as well as increased
tolerance to stretch [9]. Nevertheless, studies have often
demonstrated that this stretching modality could induce
acute detrimental effects. Significant reductions in maxi-
mal voluntary strength, muscle power or evoked contractile
properties (here called muscular performance) were
recorded immediately after a single bout of static stretching
[5,8,1029]. They could originate from various neural and
peripheral mechanisms, and more particularly from mus-
culotendinous stiffness reductions [8,16,3037]. Thus, the
literature asserts that static stretching should be used
carefully, or even avoided during warm-up to prevent
subsequent potentially deleterious effects on muscular
performance. Interest has also focused on the effect of
other stretching modalities such as dynamic stretching.
Recent studies have found a considerable amount of
evidence showing that an acute bout of dynamic stretching
can enhance ROM about a joint, leading to recommenda-
tions for dynamic stretching as a pre-performance routine
rather than static stretching [4,3852]. Among these
studies, some have indicated that dynamic stretching pro-
vides similar or greater acute increases in flexibility than
static stretching [4,40,45,46,48,49]. Moreover, numer-
ous studies have demonstrated an acute increase in power,
sprint or jump performance after dynamic stretches [4,39,
5162]. This stretch modality has been shown to be more
efficient than no-stretch [45,56,59,60,6372] and than
static stretching for muscular performance [45,51,56,63,
6688]. Nevertheless, there are also reports in the literature
about impaired performance following dynamic stretching
[41,42,47,57,86,89,90]. It appeared that the magnitude
of the stretch-induced effects could be attributed to several
factors such as muscle group, stretching duration, stretch-
ing intensity or contraction type and velocity [12,91].
While static stretch-induced effects on muscular perfor-
mance and their underlying mechanisms have been rigor-
ously studied, results are still unclear for dynamic
stretching. Indeed, the reasons behind muscular perfor-
mance improvements after dynamic stretching still need to
be elucidated. Voluntary contractions are often put forward
as contributive, but methodological difficulties and termi-
nological issues remain a problem.
In the literature, studies dealing with dynamic stretching
effects on performance do not provide a clear consensus.
Authors use a variety of terms describing many different
stretching designs (e.g. dynamic, ballistic, applied on sin-
gle or multiple joints while walking, moving or staying
stationary, etc.). Moreover, the literature is often incon-
sistent in the description of stretch procedures. For
instance, dynamic stretching is often confused with bal-
listic stretching. Both stretching methods consist of per-
forming movements through the full ROM by contracting
agonist muscles, which allows the antagonist muscle group
to elongate, without a held end position. However, dynamic
stretching is performed in a controlled manner, whilst
ballistic stretching is a rapid and uncontrolled movement
that could include bouncing (Table 1). Despite this dif-
ference, Carvalho et al. [79] used the term ‘dynamic’ for
their protocol during which subjects were instructed to bob
(referring to a bouncing movement) joints in 1:1-s cycles,
yet Bacurau et al. [38] referred to this same stretch pro-
cedure as ‘ballistic’. Elsewhere, dynamic and ballistic
stretching findings are often pooled to examine their effects
on muscular performance (especially Behm and Chaouachi
[12]). However, if the two stretching protocols are con-
sidered separately, the effect on subsequent performance is
not the same. Indeed, throughout the literature, studies
considering ballistic stretching generally report neutral or
negative effects on performance [47,79,86,88,92], whilst
dynamic stretching studies show neutral or positive effects
[53,54,56,57]. Accordingly, ballistic stretches are rec-
ommended less because they are less beneficial due to the
greater tension created within the muscle [93]. Ballistic
stretching could create uncontrolled forces exceeding
muscle extensibility [94].
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
To make sound recommendations about the use of
dynamic stretching as a possible alternative to static
stretching in warm-up, this review attempts to investigate
negative, null and positive muscular performance respon-
ses to dynamic stretching and provide some clarity
regarding conflicting findings. A distinction between
dynamic and ballistic stretching will be made in order to
establish a clear consensus about their effects on subse-
quent muscular performance and underlying mechanisms.
Also, we will try to come up with a consensus of definitions
that researchers can use.
2 Materials and Methods
2.1 Search Strategy
This review integrated studies that examined the acute
effects of dynamic stretching on subsequent flexibility and
muscular performance. An electronic literature search was
performed independently by the two authors using the
PubMed database. The following terms were used in ‘all
fields’ (dynamic stretching OR ballistic stretching OR
dynamic warm-up) while the terms, patient, injury, disease
and animal were excluded (using NOT). Figure 1shows a
flowchart illustrating the search strategy. Articles were
screened first by title and by abstract using the inclusion
criteria described below. Then, the full text was retrieved
for all potentially relevant full-text articles and assessed for
eligibility. Additional manual searches, including reference
lists of selected studies were performed using PubMed,
ResearchGate, ScienceDirect and Google Scholar data-
bases. The search ended on 2 March 2017.
2.2 Study Selection and Inclusion Criteria
To examine the effects of an acute dynamic and ballistic
stretch intervention on subsequent muscular performance
and the stretch-related neural and peripheral mecha-
nisms, the following inclusion criteria were used: (1)
studies must have been written in English and published
as an article in a peer-reviewed journal or conference
proceeding; (2) studies must concern healthy and active
human subjects without any musculoskeletal disease; (3)
studies must compare at least two acute interventions
(intervention-based studies examining pre- and post-
stretch data were also included), (4) in a random order;
(5) results must include functional performance (e.g.
vertical jump, sprint, agility, running economy, activity
specific movement and others), biomechanical (e.g.
ROM, torque, muscular contractile properties, stiffness
and others) and/or physiological [e.g. electromyography
(EMG) activity, temperature, muscular reflex activity
and others] measures. Studies were excluded according
to the following criteria: (1) interventions were not
applied in a random order; (2) results were not compared
with pre-data of dynamic stretching, static stretching or
no-stretching condition; (3) results did not include
functional performance or biomechanical or physiologi-
cal measures.
Effect size, which is a standardised value that permits
the determination of the magnitude of the differences
between groups or experimental conditions [98], was cal-
culated for each study that provided absolute mean data
and standard deviations. Cohen assigned descriptors to the
effect sizes such that effect sizes less than 0.4 represented a
small magnitude of change while 0.41–0.7 and [0.7
Table 1 Examples of descriptive characteristics of dynamic and ballistic stretching
References Dynamic Ballistic
[43]() through range of motion by contracting the agonist
muscles, which allows the antagonist muscles to relax and
elongate ()
[93]() through the full ROM at a controlled, slow tempo. All
movements are performed slowly and deliberately
() is a bouncing, rhythmic motion and uses the momentum of a
swinging body segment to vigorously lengthen the muscle
[94]() is usually associated with bobbing, bouncing, rebounding, and
rhythmic motion. It imposes passive momentum that exceeds
static ROM ()
[95]() is the act of moving a joint through its entire range of
motion in a quick manner with little resistance
() is a rapid, bouncing movement () through the range of
motion until the muscles are stretched to their limits. ()is
performed at high speeds, making it difficult to control the rate
and degree of stretch as well as the amount of force being applied
[96]() involves repetitive bouncing movements in the muscle’s
lengthened position
[97]() by contracting antagonist muscle group(s) of target
muscle group(s) without bouncing ()
ROM range of motion
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
represented moderate and large magnitudes of change,
respectively.
3 Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching
The increase of joint ROM is a main goal of stretching in
sports medicine and exercise. There is considerable evi-
dence that an acute bout of dynamic stretching can
enhance ROM around a joint [4,3848,5052,68,80,
99103] (Table 2). Some studies showed that dynamic
stretching provided a similar or greater acute increase in
flexibility compared with static stretching [4,40,45,46,
48,49,68,99,100,102,103]. On the other hand, others
showed that static stretch was more efficient than dynamic
stretch for ROM improvements [38,42,44,80,104].
These conflicting results could be ascribed to the different
natures of stretching, which that renders comparisons
difficult. Indeed, as compared with static stretching, less
time is spent in a lengthened position during dynamic
stretching. The viscoelastic stress relaxation that occurs
when the muscle tissue is kept stretched in a fixed posi-
tion during static stretching [105,106] may be a factor in
the difference in stretch-induced effects on flexibility. It
seems to be attributable to increased tendon elasticity and
decreased muscle viscosity, which produce decreased
passive torque and increased ROM [107]. In contrast,
because muscles are contracting actively and repeatedly
to stretch muscles, dynamic stretching may help in the
warm-up process by increasing muscle temperature [54,
56,108,109]. It has been proposed that an increase in
temperature may decrease the viscous resistance of mus-
cles [110] and by consequence enhance tissue extensi-
bility. Moreover, the greater angular displacement during
dynamic stretching could contribute to the possible
greater ROM enhancement as compared with the ROM
certain authors have observed with static stretching [40].
Again, the distinction between dynamic and ballistic
stretching must be made. Indeed, it has been reported that
ballistic stretching, involving an uncontrolled and
bouncing movement, may cause facilitation of the stretch
reflex and thus induce contraction in the stretched muscle.
As a consequence, ballistic stretching may be disadvan-
tageous for improving ROM [111,112]. Further studies
are needed to explain these conflicting findings and to
determine whether the use of dynamic rather than static or
ballistic stretching for the warm-up would tend to be
more appropriate to enhance flexibility.
In contrast to static stretching, dynamic stretching is
nowadays recommended as a pre-performance routine
because of the demonstrated acute increase in power, sprint
or jump performance [4,39,5162]. Dynamic stretching
Fig. 1 Flowchart illustrating the search strategy
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 Acute effects of dynamic and ballistic stretching on subsequent muscular performance
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Aguilar et al.
[102]
45 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, hip
adductors, hip abductors,
plantar flexors
DWU \ROM 10 yard (5
reps) 920
exercises
NR Hamstring
flexibility
?35.98% 0.71 \0.0001
Quadriceps
flexibility
?0.55% 0.08 [0.05
Hip flexor
flexibility
?6.95% 0.27 [0.05
Rectus
femoris
flexibility
?4.57% 0.25 [0.05
Eccentric
quadriceps
PT
?10.43% 0.39 0.012
Concentric
quadriceps
PT
No change: ?6.48% 0.38 [0.05
Eccentric
hamstrings
PT
No change: ?3.1% 0.19 [0.05
Concentric
hamstrings
PT
No change: ?6.72% 0.36 [0.05
Vertical jump
height
No change: ?6.64% 0.1 [0.05
Vertical jump
power
No change: ?1.82% 0.06 [0.05
Alemdaroglu
et al. [88]
12 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, plantar flexors
BS ROM 30-s 94
sets 95
stretches
1:1-s 10-m sprint
time
?1.08% 0.29 \0.05
20-m sprint
time
?0.6% 0.1 \0.05
Amiri-
Khorasani
et al. [40]
18 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, adductors,
gastrocnemius
DS ROM 15-s 95
stretches
1:1-s Total dynamic
ROM
DS [NS: NR NR \0.01
Amiri-
Khorasani
et al. [83]
20 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, hip
adductors, gastrocnemius
DS ROM 15 reps 96
stretches
1:1-s
59slow,
59moderate and
59as quickly as
possible
Acceleration
time (10 m)
DS \SS: NR NR \0.053
Speed time
(20 m)
DS \SS: NR NR \0.037
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Ayala et al.
[119]
49 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteus, psoas, adductors
DS ROM 15-reps 92
sets 95
stretches
1:1-s
Controlled speed
Eccentric knee
flexors PT
1.04 rad/s: DS
(?2.6%) =NS
0.11 [0.05
3.14 rad/s: DS
(-0.5%) =NS
0.05 [0.05
Eccentric knee
flexors work
1.04 rad/s: DS
(?3.2%) =NS
0.11 [0.05
3.14 rad/s: DS
(?4.4%) =NS
0.17 [0.05
Ayala et al.
[87]
12 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, hip
adductors, hip abductors,
plantar flexors
DE ROM 3 sets 96
exercises (6-8-
min)
Controlled manner
Low to high intensity
CMJ height DE [SS: ?2.8% 0.35 \0.05
20-m sprint
time
DE \SS: -3.9% 1.06 \0.05
Serve speed DE \SS: ?4.0% 1.03 \0.05
Serve
accuracy
DE [SS: ?11.0% 0.83 \0.05
Bacurau et al.
[38]
14 Quadriceps, hamstrings BS NA 30-s 93
sets 96
stretches (20-
min)
1:1-s 1RM No change: -2.2% NR [0.05
Hip joint
ROM
?9.4% 0.97 \0.001
Hamstring
flexibility
?8.91% 0.62 \0.001
Barroso et al.
[101]
12 Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus
maximum
BS NR 30-s 93
sets 93
stretches
1:1-s Hamstrings
flexibility
?2.9% NR \0.05
Leg-press
1RM
BS (-2.39%) =NS 0.14 \0.05
Number of
repetitions
(80% 1RM)
BS (-17.78%) \NS 1.4 0.001
Total volume
(80% 1RM)
BS (-17.93%) \NS 0.79 \0.001
Beedle et al.
[124]
51 Chest, shoulder, triceps,
quadriceps, hamstrings
DS ROM 15 reps (30-
s) 93 sets 92
stretches
1:1-s Bench press
1RM
DS =NS: -0.66% NR [0.05
Leg press
1RM
DS =NS: ?0.48% NR [0.05
Behm et al.
[100]
10 Quadriceps, hamstrings, plantar
flexors
DE ROM 30-s (8 rep) 93
exercises
NR Hamstrings
flexibility
?5.7% NR 0.004
CMJ height DE [NS: ?7.9% NR \0.0001
Bradley et al.
[113]
18 Quadriceps, hamstrings, plantar
flexors
BS
(passively)
ROM 30-s 94
sets 95
stretches (10-
min)
1:1-s Vertical jump
height
No change: -2.7% NR [0.05
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Byrne et al.
[59]
29 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
flexors, hip extensors,
adductors
DE NR 30-s 910
exercises
NR 20-m sprint
time
DE \NS: -2.2% 0.66 0.001
Carvalho
et al. [79]
16 Quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps
surae
DS ROM 30-s 93
sets 93
stretches (5-
min)
1:1-s CMJ height DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
SJ height DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Chatzopoulos
et al. [65]
31 Front deltoid, side deltoid,
pectoral, triceps, back,
quadriceps, hamstrings,
adductors, calves
DE NR 18-m 98
exercises (7-
min)
NR Balance (s) DE [NS: ?12.3% 0.4 \0.05
Agility time DE [NS: ?3.54% 0.54 \0.05
Movement
time
DE [NS: ?5.97% 0.46 \0.05
Reaction time DE (-0.53%) =NS 0.03 [0.05
Chatzopoulos
et al. [122]
27 Deltoid, pectoral, triceps,
quandriceps, hamstrings,
adductors, gastrocnemius
DE NR 18-m 97
exercises (5-
min)
NR Reaction time DE =NS: 0% 0.0 [0.05
Movement
time
DE =NS: -2.73% 0.18 [0.05
Change of
direction
speed
DE =NS: 0% 0.0 [0.05
Christensen
et al. [115]
68 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
adductors, calves
DE NR 5 reps 92
sets 98
exercises
NR CMJ height DE (?0.1%) =NS NR [0.05
Clark et al.
[121]
21 Calves DS NR 20-m 93 sets NR CMJ peak
power
No changes: NR NR 0.424
Costa et al.
[89]
21 Quadriceps, hamstrings DS NR 30-s 94
sets 94
stretches
(16.1 ±2.6-
min)
Controlled movement Concentric
quadriceps
PT
60/s: No change:
-1.64%
0.06 [0.05
0.02 [0.05
Concentric
hamstrings
PT
180/s: No change:
-0.54%
0.44 \0.05
0.48 \0.05
Eccentric
hamstrings
PT
60/s: -10.0% 0.69 \0.05
180/s: -10.6% 0.67 \0.05
60/s: -16.04%
180/s: -13.7%
Curry et al.
[46]
24 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemius,
soleus
DE ROM 10 reps 92
sets 99
exercises (10-
min)
Controlled movement ROM
quadriceps
?6.03% 0.46 \0.05
CMJ height No change: ?1.89% 0.13 [0.05
Time to peak
force
No change: 27.27% 0.59 [0.05
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Dalrymple
et al. [117]
12 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, plantar flexors
DE ROM 18-m 92
sets 94
exercises
NR Vertical jump
height
DE =NS: NR NR [0.05
Duncan and
Woodfield
[68]
50 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors
DE NR 18-m 92
sets 98
exercises (10-
min)
Low to moderate
intensity
CMJ height DE [NS: ?2.82% 0.2 \0.05
Hamstrings
flexibility
DE (?2.07%) =NS 0.08 [0.05
Fattahi-
Bafgui and
Amiri-
Khorasani
[85]
20 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemius
DS
DE
ROM 15 reps 96
stretches
10-m 96
exercises
1:1-s
59slow,
59moderate and
59as quickly as
possible
Vertical jump
height
DS [SS: NR NR \0.002
DE =DS and SS: NR NR [0.05
Fattahi-
Bafgui and
Amiri-
Khorasani
[70]
15 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemius
DS ROM 15 reps 96
stretches
1:1-s
59slow,
59moderate and
59as quickly as
possible
Height jump DS [NS: ?2.52% 0.28 \0.05
Agility time DS \NS: -1.71% 0.39 \0.05
Fletcher and
Jones [55]
97 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemiis,
solei
DS
DE
ROM 20 reps 95
stretches
20 reps 95
exercises
Controlled movement 20-m sprint
time
DS: No change:
-0.92%
0.14 [0.05
DE: -1.85% 0.31 \0.05
Fletcher and
Monte-
Colombo
[72]
27 Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus
maximus, hip flexors,
adductors, abductors,
gastrocnemius, solei
DE \ROM 12 reps 92
sets 98
exercises
NR CMJ height DE =NS: ?1.89% 0.19 [0.05
20-m sprint
time
DE \NS: -2.99% 0.69 \0.05
Balsom agility
(s)
DE \NS: -2.5% 0.59 \0.05
Fletcher [54] 24 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors, plantar flexors
DE NR 10 reps 92
sets 95
exercises
SDE: 50 beats/min
FDE: 100 beats/min
SJ height SDE: No change:
?0.21%
0.01 [0.05
FDE: ?3.15% 0.17 \0.05
CMJ height
DJ height
SDE: No change:
-0.21%
0.01 [0.05
FDE: ?4.17% 0.24 \0.05
SDE: No change:
?0.61%
0.04 [0.05
FDE: ?6.17% 0.37 \0.05
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Franco et al.
[84]
15 Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves DS NR 15 reps 93
sets 93
stretches
59slowly and
10 9as fast as
possible
Mean power
(Wingate)
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Time to peak
power
(Wingate)
DS [NS: NR NR \0.001
Peak power
(Wingate)
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Gelen et al.
[64]
26 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
rotators, adductors, calves
DE NR 15-m 912
exercises (10-
min)
In rhythm, slowly or
as fast as possible
30-m sprint
time
DE \NS: -4.1% 0.95 \0.03
Slalom
dribbling
time
DE \NS: -5.1% 1.20 \0.01
Penalty kick
speed
DE [NS: ?3.3% 1.25 \0.03
Haddad et al.
[67]
16 Quadriceps, hamstrings,hip
flexors, adductors, plantar
flexors
DS NR 30-s 92
sets 95
stretches
NR 5 jump test DS [NS: ?1.6% 0.4 0.000
10-m sprint
time
DS \NS: -2.1% 0.76 0.000
20-m sprint
time
DS \NS: -1.0% 0.55 0.000
30-m sprint
time
DS \NS: -1.1% 0.7 0.000
RSA (s) DS (-0.22%) =NS 0.11 [0.05
Hayes and
Walker
[103]
7 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors, calves
DS ROM 30-s 95
stretches
Controlled velocity Hamstring
flexibility
?:NR NR \0.05
Running
economy
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Herda et al.
[109]
14 Hamstrings DS NR 30-s 94
sets 93
stretches
(9.1 ±0.3 min)
Slow and controlled
manner
PT No change: NR NR [0.05
Herda et al.
[41]
14 Hamstrings DS (ISOK) ROM 30-s 94 sets Self-selected pace PT (65)-9.67% 0.32 0.007
PT (80)?13.34% 0.47 0.003
Passive ROM ?: NR NR 0.003
Hough et al.
[53]
11 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, plantar
flexors
DS NR 30-s 95
stretches (7-
min)
1:1-s
59slowly and
10 9as quickly as
possible
CMJ height ?4.9% NR \0.05
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Jaggers et al.
[95]
10 Quadriceps, hamstrings, spinal
erectors, sartorius, hip flexors,
hip extensors, hip adductors,
gastrocnemius
BS
DE
ROM 15 reps 92
sets 95
stretches
30-s 92
sets 95
exercises
126 beats/min
59slowly and
10 9as quickly as
possible
CMJ height BS (?3.04%) =NS 0.16 0.37
DE (?7.03%) =NS 0.36 0.13
Maximal
power
BS (?3.33%) =NS 0.15 0.56
DE (?4.04%) =NS 0.18 0.07
Maximal force BS (?2.25%) =NS 0.07 0.77
DE (?9.38%) =NS 0.3 0.52
Kendall [120] 10 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, hip
adductors, hip abductors,
plantar flexors
DE NR 20-m 911
exercises
NR Wingate
anaerobic
peak power
DE =NS: ?6.45% 0.37 NR
Mean
anaerobic
power
DE =NS: NR NR 0.08
Power drop DE =NS: NR NR 0.07
Fatigue index DE =NS: NR NR 0.53
Konrad et al.
[49]
24 Plantar flexors BS (ISOK) ROM 30-s 94 sets 1:1-s ROM ?4.36% 0.25 0.04
Passive
resistive
torque
-11.56 0.37 0.00
Kruse et al.
[60]
11 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors, abductors,
obliques, plantar flexors
DE NR 30-s (20 m) 914
exercises (7-
min)
NR CMJ height DE [NS: ?6.75 1.15 0.001
Leone et al.
[61]
30 Pectoralis major, triceps brachii DS ROM 10 reps 93-
s92 stretches
Controlled slow-
moderate
Bench press
maximal
isometric
peak force
?3.6% 0.19 \0.05
Bench press
time to
maximal
isometric
force
No change: ?4.69% 0.14 [0.05
Bench press
rate of force
production
No change: ?6.86% 0.2 [0.05
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Little and
William
[63]
18 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemius
DE ROM 30-s 95
exercises (6.2-
min)
1:1-s Vertical jump
height
DE =NS: NR NR 0.074
Agility time DE [NS: NR NR 0.001
10 m
acceleration
time
DE \NS: NR NR 0.011
20 m velocity DE [NS: NR NR \0.0005
Manoel et al.
[74]
12 Quadriceps DS NR 30-s 93 sets As quick as possible Knee
extension
power (60/
s)
?8.9% 1.51 \0.05
Knee
extension
power (180/
s)
?6.3% 1.05 \0.05
McMillian
et al. [66]
30 Trunk flexors/extensors, back
and abdominal muscles,
quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
posteriors, calves,
DWU NR 10 reps or 20–25-
m915
exercises
Slow to moderate
cadence
T-drill run
time
DWU \NS: -2.15% 0.26 \0.01
Medicine ball
throw
DWU [NS: ?3.27% 0.11 \0.01
5-step jump DWU [NS: ?5.47% 0.46 \0.01
Mizuno et al.
[128]
12 Medial gastrocnemius DS (ISOK) NR 30-s (15
reps) 94 sets
60 batt/min ROM ?21.6% 1.77 0.005
PT (end of
ROM)
DS [NS: NR NR 0.032
PT (during the
final 13of
ROM)
DS [NS: NR NR 0.042
Mizuno et al.
[52]
15 Plantar flexors DS (ISOK) ROM DS1: 15 reps (30-
s) 91 set
DS4: 15 reps (30-
s) 94 sets
DS7: 15 reps (30-
s) 97 sets
60 batt/min ROM DS1: No change: NR NR 0.442
DS4: ?: NR NR 0.007
DS7: ?: NR NR 0.002
End ROM
passive
torque
DS1: No change: NR NR [0.05
DS4: No change: NR NR [0.05
DS7: No change: NR NR [0.05
Morrin et al.
[80]
10 Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus
maximus, gastrocnemius
DS 60-s 93
stretches
1:1-s
Moderate intensity
pace
Hamstrings
ROM
DS \NS: NR NR [0.05
Vertical jump
height
DS (?8.86%) =NS 0.81 [0.05
Balance (cm
2
)DS(-33.63%) =NS 0.62 [0.05
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Murphy et al.
[99]
42 Pectoralis major, deltoids,
latissimus dorsi, hamstrings,
quadriceps, gluteus maximus,
hip flexors, calves
DS \ROM 10 reps (20-
s) 912
stretches
1:1-s
59Slowly and 10 x
as quickly as
possible
Vertical jump
height
No change: ?1.96% 0.14 [0.017
ROM hip No change: ?5.67% 0.42 [0.017
ROM knee No change: ?0.19% 0.04 [0.017
Hamstrings
flexibility
?7.72% 0.18 0.011
Needham
et al. [81]
22 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, gastrocnemius
DE NR 18-m 92
sets 96
exercises
Moderate to high
intensity
Vertical jump
height
DE [SS: ?4.44% NR \0.05
10-m sprint
time
DE \SS: -2.2% NR \0.05
20-m sprint
time
DE \SS: -1.0% NR \0.05
Nelson and
Kokkonen
[47]
22 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, adductors, plantar
flexors
BS ROM 15-s 93 sets
unassisted 95
stretches
15-s 93 sets
assisted 95
stretches
1:1-s Hamstrings
flexibility
?8.3% 3.17 \0.05
Knee-flexion
1RM
BS \NS: -7.23% 1.13 \0.05
Knee-
extension
1RM
BS \NS: -5.23% 0.81 \0.05
Pagaduan
et al. [118]
29 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors, abductors,
obliques, plantar flexors
DE NR 20-s 92
sets 97
exercises (7-
min)
NR CMJ height DE (?2.81) =NS 0.24 [0.05
Pappas et al.
[62]
14 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, plantar flexors
DS NR 80-s 94
stretches (6-
min)
1:1-s Vertical
ground
reaction
force
?1.7% 0.14 \0.05
Fligth time ?5.8% 0.3 \0.05
Step length ?2.2% 0.33 \0.05
Contact time No change: ?0.33% 0.0 [0.05
Paradisis et al.
[42]
48 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, plantar flexors
DS NR 40-s 94
stretches
1:1-s 20-m sprint
time
?0.8% 0.1 \0.05
CMJ height -2.2% 0.1 \0.05
Hamstrings
flexibility
?6.5% 0.14 \0.05
Pearce et al.
[73]
13 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors, plantar flexors
DE ROM 10 reps or
10-m 91–2
sets 97
exercises
NR Vertical jump
height
No change: ?3% NR 0.25
Vertical jump
peak power
No change: ?0.7% NR 0.32
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Perrier et al.
[45]
21 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, hip flexors,
adductors, piriformis, gluteal,
obliques, calves
DWU NR 18.3-
m92911
exercises
(9.1 ±0.3 min)
Increasing intensity
(mean =5.2 ±1.2
on the Borg CR10
scale)
CMJ height DWU [NS: ?3.72% 0.24 0.005
Hamstrings
flexibility
DWU [NS: ?9.64% 0.41 \0.001
Reaction time DWU
(-0.98%) =NS
0.08 0.08
Ryan et al.
[39]
26 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, hip
adductors, abductors, plantar
flexors
DE ROM DE1: 11
exercises (6-
min)
DE2: 2 sets 911
exercises (12-
min)
Controlled movement
Low, moderate and
high intensity
CMJ height DE1: ?6.2% 0.41 \0.001
DE2: ?5,6% 0.37 \0.001
CMJ velocity DE1: ?6,1% 0.58 \0.001
DE2: ?4,8% 0.45 \0.001
Hamstring
flexibility
DE1: ?10.7% 0.4 \0.001
DE2: ?8.2% 0.35 \0.001
Muscular
endurance
DE1 =NS: NR NR [0.05
DE2 \NS: -15.6% NR 0.01
Sa
´et al. [86] 9 Knee extensors, knee flexors,
hip adductors, plantar flexors
BS NR 1-min 93
sets 94
stretches
1:1-s Total number
of reps leg
press
BS \NS: -14.11% NR 0.014
Total number
of reps leg
curl
BS \NS: -20.97 NR 0.002
Total number
of reps in
session
BS \NS: -10.19 NR 0.002
Samuel et al.
[90]
24 Quadriceps, hamstrings BS ROM 30-s 93
sets 92
stretches
60 batt/min Vertical jump
height
BS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Vertical jump
power
BS \NS: -2.4% NR \0.05
Quadriceps
torque
BS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Hamstrings
torque
BS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Samukawa
et al. [43]
20 Plantar flexors DS NR 30-reps 95 sets 1:1-s ROM ?32.16% 0.78 \0.0001
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Sekir et al.
[58]
10 Quadriceps, hamstrings DS ROM 15-reps 92
sets 94
stretches
(6 ±1 min)
1:1-s
59slowly and
10 9as quickly as
possible
Concentric
quadriceps
PT
60/s: ?8.41% 1.12 \0.001
180/s: ?11.81% 1.5 \0.01
Eccentric
quadriceps
PT
60/s: ?14.5% 1.95 \0.001
180/s: ?15.04% 2.11 \0.001
Concentric
hamstrings
PT
60/s: ?6.8% 1.11 \0.05
180/s: No change:
?6.42%
1.07 \0.05
Eccentric
hamstrings
PT
60/s: ?14.11% 1.7 \0.001
180/s: ?14.47% 1.58 \0.001
Siatras et al.
[116]
11 Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves,
tibialis anterior
DS ROM 30-s 92
stretches
As fast as possible 0–15-m speed
vaulting
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
0–5-m speed
vaulting
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
5–10-m speed
vaulting
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
10–15-m
speed
vaulting
DS =NS: NR NR [0.05
Su et al. [51] 30 Quadriceps, hamstrings DE ROM 15 reps (30-
s) 93 sets 92
exercises
Controlled movement Quadriceps
flexibility
?2.22% 0.46 \0.05
Hamstring
flexibility
?5.91% 1.10 \0.05
Knee
extension
peak torque
?4.51% 0.45 \0.05
Knee flexion
peak torque
No change: ?1.37% 0.14 [0.05
Taylor et al.
[82]
13 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors,
adductors, abductors,
obliques, plantar flexors
DWU ROM 5–10 reps or
10–30-m 916
exercises
Gradually progressing
in intensity
Vertical jump
height
DWU [SS: ?4.2% 0.4 \0.05
20-m sprint
time
DWU \SS: -1.4% 0.34 \0.05
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Torres et al.
[114]
11 Sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis
major and minor, trapezius,
latissimus dorsi, deltoids,
rhomboids, teres major and
minor, subscapularis, biceps
brachii, brachialis,
brachioradialis, triceps,
serratus, obliques, intercostals,
quadratus lumborum, erector
spinae
DS NR 30-reps 97
stretches
NR 30% 1RM
bench throw
power
DS (?0.12) =NS 0.008 [0.05
30% 1RM
bench throw
force
DS (-3.6) =NS 0.3 [0.05
30% 1RM
bench throw
velocity
DS (?0.55) =NS 0.09 [0.05
30% 1RM
bench throw
displacement
DS (?2.2) =NS 0.17 [0.05
Turki et al.
[57]
16 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteals, adductors,
gastrocnemius
DE ROM DE1: 14 reps
(20 m) 95
exercises 91
DE2: 14 reps
(20 m) 95
exercises 92
DE3: 14 reps
(20 m) 95
exercises 93
Actively, rapidly 10-m sprint
time
DE1: No change: NR NR [0.05
DE2: No change: NR NR [0.05
DE3: No change: NR NR [0.05
20-m sprint
time
DE1: -2.6% 1.17 0.001
DE2: -2.6% 0.91 0.001
DE3: ?2.6% 1.27 0.001
Unick et al.
[92]
16 Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves BS NR 15-s 93
sets 94
stretches
1:1-s CMJ height No change: -2.63% 0.18 [0.05
DJ height No change: -1.39% 0.1 [0.05
Van Gelder
and Bartz
[69]
60 Erector spinae,romboids, pelvic,
quadriceps, hamstrings,
iliopsoas, gluteals, hip flexors,
hip adductors, hip abductors,
gastrocnemius, soleus
DE ROM 4–20 reps 91
set 914
exercises
Controlled movement Agility run
time
DE \NS: -4.31% 0.83 0.026
Vetter [123] 26 Quadriceps, hamstrings,
gluteus, calves
DS NR 8 reps 94
stretches
Slowly 30-m sprint
time
DS =NS: ?0.41% 0.03 [0.05
CMJ height DS =NS: -0.47% 0.06 [0.05
Wallmann
et al. [29]
25 Ilio-psoas DS
BS
NR 15-s 92 sets
15-s 92 sets
NR 40-yard sprint
time
No change: ?0.86% 0.1 0.022
No change: -0.34% 0.04 0.217
Werstein and
Lund [71]
15 Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus
maximus, gastrocnemeus
DS NR 10 reps 93
sets 94
stretches
NR Contact time DS =NS: NR NR [0.0167
Flight time DS [NS: NR NR \0.0167
Reactive
strength
index
DS [NS: NR NR \0.0167
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
Table 2 continued
References nMuscles stretched Stretch
protocol
Amplitude Volume Velocity/frequency Performance Outcome and
percentage change
Effect
size
Pvalue
Wiemann and
Hahn [4]
69 Hamstrings BS NR 15-s 93
sets 93
stretches
Rhythmically ROM ?7.46% 0.69 \0.01
End ROM
torque
?13.6 0.54 \0.05
Passive
muscle
stretching
tension
No change: -0.43% 0.01 [0.05
Yamaguchi an
Ishii [56]
11 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, plantar
flexors
DS NR 15-reps 95
stretches
1:1-s
59Slowly and
10 9as quickly as
possible
Leg extension
power
?9.13% 1.47 \0.01
Yamaguchi
et al. [129]
7 Hip extensors, hip flexors, leg
extensors, leg flexors, plantar
flexors
DS NR 10 reps 91
set 95
stretches (6-min
37 ±12-s)
30 beats/min
As quick as possible
Time to
exhaustion
DS [NS: ?15.43% 1.56 \0.01
Total distance DS [NS: ?15.84% 1.55 \0.01
Zourdos et al.
[50]
14 Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip
extensors, hip flexors, calves
DE NR 4 reps 92
sets 910
exercises (15-
min)
NR Hamstring
flexibility
?14.09% 0.63 \0.05
Resting VO
2
?26.19 1.15 \0.05
Caloric
expenditure
DE [NS: ?4.17% 0.4 \0.05
Distance run DE \NS: -3.17% 0.2 [0.05
The outcomes and percentage changes were expressed relative to the control condition (/NS: % changes) or to the pre-stretching values (% changes). Comparisons with static stretching were not
considered, except when control condition or pre-stretching values were lacking. DE was used when dynamic stretching was performed while walking. DWU was used when dynamic stretching
was accompanied by other warm-up activities
NR not reported, NS no stretching, BS ballistic stretching, DS dynamic stretching, DE dynamic exercise, DWU dynamic warm-up, FDE fast dynamic exercise, SDE slow dynamic exercise, SS
static stretching, ROM range of motion, ISOK isokinetic dynamometer, CMJ countermovement jump, DJ drop jump, PT peak torque, RM repetition maximum, RSA repeated sprint ability
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
has also been shown to be more efficient than no-stretch
[45,56,60,6372] and than static stretching [45,51,56,
63,6688]. While dynamic stretching predominantly leads
to performance improvements, many studies showed no
effects [4,29,38,44,46,49,61,72,73,79,80,84,88,90,
92,95,99,109,113124] or even an impaired performance
[41,42,47,57,86,8890]. Table 2illustrates studies
outlining dynamic stretch-induced effects on force, power,
jump height, sprint or agility and others such as balance,
VO
2
, etc.
Most studies have demonstrated significant enhance-
ments of force and power [41,51,52,56,58,61,62,66,71,
125] or no adverse effects [4,38,61,84,89,95,101,102,
109,114,119,120,124] with dynamic stretching. To our
knowledge, four studies have reported significant decre-
ments in force and power [41,47,86,89,90]. In the first
study [47], force decreases could be explained by the fact
that subjects performed unassisted and assisted stretches. In
the second study [41], strength was measured after
dynamic stretches in isometric conditions while enhance-
ments were generally obtained during dynamic tasks. Then,
Costa et al. [89] performed controlled repetitions of
dynamic stretching whereas Sekir et al. [58] and Yam-
aguchi et al. [56] stretched ‘as quickly and powerfully as
possible’. Finally, Samuel et al. [90] and Sa
´et al. [86] used
ballistic stretching, which may be less recommended than
dynamic stretching. Although there is strong evidence
regarding the positive or neutral effects of dynamic
stretching on force and power, most of studies presented
small or moderate effect sizes [41,51,61,62,66,89,95,
101,102,114,119].
Regarding jump height, similar conclusions were
reported. Studies generally registered increases [39,45,53,
54,66,70,81,82] or no effects [46,54,72,79,80,90,92,
95,99,102,113,115,118,121,123] while only one study
reported impairment of jump height after dynamic
stretching [42]. Nevertheless, these changes were not dif-
ferent from the control condition without stretching. Again,
many of these studies presented small effect sizes [45,46,
54,66,70,72,82,92,99,102,118,123].
During sprint running, velocity or agility, most studies
reported performance enhancements [39,44,55,57,59,
6466,69,70,72,8183] or no adverse effects [29,116,
122,123]. Nevertheless, some have reported an impairment
of the 20-m sprint velocity [42,57,88]. This could be
partly due to the use of ballistic stretching [88] and the
fatigue induced by the longer duration of dynamic
stretching [57]. Nowadays and in accordance with the lit-
erature, dynamic stretching appears to be more appropriate
than static stretching for subsequent performance. How-
ever, most of these studies have reported small effect sizes,
which raises the need for further studies with larger sample
sizes or more homogeneous groups of participants.
Moreover, some mitigating factors such as stretching
duration, amplitude or velocity may influence the stretch-
induced effects. In Sect. 4, we consider these aspects to
bring out the stretch effects on subsequent performance and
the underlying physiological mechanisms.
4 Dynamic Stretching Variables
4.1 Effect of Stretching Duration
The magnitude of the stretch-induced effects can be
attributed to several factors such as specific characteristics
of stretching interventions [12]. For example, it is well
established that static stretching-induced force decreases
are dependent on stretch durations; the longer the stretch
duration, the greater the force reductions [12,15]. Con-
cerning dynamic stretching, findings seem to be similar.
Behm and Chaouachi [12] demonstrated greater percent
enhancement in force and isokinetic power with dynamic
stretching lasting longer than 90 s (7.3 ±5.3%) as com-
pared with shorter stretch durations (0.5 ±2.3%) [38,58,
64,90,92,95,113115,124,126]. Nonetheless, studies
with short dynamic stretch durations demonstrated positive
effects on performance [54,56,100]. For instance, Yam-
aguchi et al. [56] used one set of 30-s dynamic stretching
per muscle group and found a *10% increased leg
extension power (ES =1.47, large effect). On the other
hand, with longer stretch duration, Ryan et al. [39] sug-
gested that two dynamic stretching routines lasting
approximately 6 and 12 min resulted in similar improve-
ments in vertical jump height (ES =0.41, moderate effect
and 0.37, small effect, respectively) and velocity
(ES =0.58 and 0.45, moderate effects, respectively).
Similarly, Mizuno et al. [52] reported no change in end
ROM passive torque after one, four and seven sets of
dynamic stretching. Also, Turki et al. [57] reported a
similar 20-m sprint time decrease (enhanced sprint per-
formance) after one and two sets of 14 repetitions of
dynamic stretching per muscular group (ES =1.17 and
0.91, large effects, respectively). These studies suggest that
the stretch duration effect is not so obvious. Nevertheless,
while one and two sets of dynamic stretching have shown
similar significant enhancements in 20-m sprint velocity,
three sets have induced a significant reduction (ES =1.27,
large effect) [57]. Similarly, Sekir et al. [58] reported
increases in concentric (ES =1.11, large effect) and
eccentric (ES =1.7, large effect) hamstring peak torque
after 6 ±1 min of dynamic stretching while Costa et al.
[89] found decreases with a much greater duration of
16.1 ±2.6 min (ES =0.44 and 0.69, moderate effects, for
concentric and eccentric, respectively). This might be due
to progressive fatigue, which could temporally overcome
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
positive stretch-induced effects [57]. Accordingly, dynamic
stretch duration does not seem to influence the subsequent
muscular performance, for as long as fatigue stays
insignificant. Future studies are needed to determine the
optimal stretch duration producing positive effects on
subsequent muscular performance without any fatigue
production.
Methodologically, the units used to quantify stretch
volume have varied greatly, e.g. duration in seconds [38,
79,92], repetition number [58,109,114] or distance in
meters [45,64,66]. Jaggers et al. [95] even compared two
sets of 30-s ballistic stretching and two sets of 15-repetition
dynamic stretching. Such non-homogeneous descriptions
do not allow a clear understanding of the dose–response
effects. The total duration of the stretching protocol,
including multiple muscular groups, has also been reported
[39,45,46,66]. This hampers any comparison with studies
expressing stretch duration per muscular group [4143]. To
facilitate inter-study comparisons, authors should report
findings in terms of frequency (number of movements per
second) and stretch duration per muscle group expressed in
seconds, a unit commonly used in static and proprioceptive
neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching procedures.
4.2 Effect of Stretching Amplitude
The amplitude of stretching, which may be related to
ROM, has also been shown to influence the magnitude of
static stretch-induced effects [12,28]. No study examined
the effects of dynamic stretching amplitude on subsequent
muscular performance. Although some studies do not
specify this variable [4,29,38,42,43,45,50,53,54,56,
5860,62,6468,71,74,81,84,86,89,92,101,109,
114,115,118,120122,128,129], most studies per-
formed stretching through the full active ROM. Among
them, a distinction could be made between dynamic and
ballistic stretch modalities. As a result of the inherent
uncontrolled movement, one can argue that ballistic
stretching allows moving the joint through a larger ROM
than dynamic stretching. Indeed, it creates forces within
muscles that can exceed the muscle extensibility and
induce a greater tension in the muscle [9396]. Moreover,
the muscle, which is not held at the higher tension, does
not have enough time to reduce tension or increase length
[130,131]. Given that, it has been suggested that ballistic
stretching may be more harmful than other stretching
techniques and has a greater likelihood of causing strain
injuries [96,111,130,131]. This distinction between
these two types of stretching may help in understanding
some apparent conflicting results. Indeed, studies using
ballistic stretching mostly reported neutral [4,29,38,90,
92,95,101,113] or negative effects [47,86,88,90,101]
on subsequent muscular performance while dynamic
stretching mostly produced positive effects. To avoid any
misinterpretations, studies need to clearly describe their
stretching protocols and more particularly stretch
amplitude.
4.3 Effect of Stretching Velocity
The effects of stretching velocity on subsequent perfor-
mance have not been fully examined. Indeed, to our
knowledge, only one study compared two different
dynamic stretch velocities [54]. Authors have shown that
the faster velocity of stretching (100 beatsmin
-1
) resulted
in higher vertical jump height than the slower velocity
(50 beatsmin
-1
). The literature seems to be consistent
with these observations. Fast stretching velocities (stret-
ched muscles ‘quickly’ or ‘as quickly as possible’) mainly
demonstrated an enhancement of muscular performance
[53,54,56,58,64,74]. In contrast, studies that used slow
and moderate speed or did not set the velocity more likely
showed neutral or negative effects [38,4143,46,47,54,
55,61,79,86,92,109,113,123,124]. For instance,
Hough et al. [53] reported an increase in countermove-
ment jump (CMJ) height after dynamic stretching per-
formed slowly and then as quickly as possible, contrary to
Morrin et al. [80] who did not find any positive effect of
dynamic stretching carried out at a moderate intensity
pace (ES =0.81, large effect). Moreover, a recent review
[97] suggested that the rate of change in explosive per-
formance is significantly greater with faster dynamic
stretching. It has been hypothesized that a fast stretching
velocity would induce increased heart rate and core
temperature [56]. However, in a recent study [54], core
temperature was not significantly altered with the differ-
ent velocities. The significant increase in jump perfor-
mance with the faster stretching velocity was probably
linked to a greater increase in EMG magnitude. The
authors supposed that the faster stretch condition, which
involves a faster stretch-shortening cycle, evoked seg-
mental reflexes potentiating the subsequent muscle acti-
vation and by consequence the subsequent power
production [54].
In addition, methodologically, many studies attempted
to define the velocity using approximate terms such as
‘rhythmically’, ‘at a slow to moderate cadence’, ‘slowly
and quickly’ or ‘as quick as possible’ [4,39,41,64,66,
74]. However, these terms do not provide enough
description to understand how stretch is performed. A
stretching description should also include the modality
used, i.e., whether it is performed in uncontrolled versus
controlled conditions (ballistic or not, respectively).
Indeed, uncontrolled movements imply stretching as fast as
possible. Although difficult, we suggest that the stretching
description must take into account the type (dynamic or
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
ballistic, controlled or uncontrolled movement, with
bouncing or without bouncing), the velocity (slow, mod-
erate, quick speed or as fast as possible) and the frequency
(number of movements per second) of stretch.
4.4 Standing Versus Walking Stretching
Dynamic stretching may be performed standing upright, or
during dynamic tasks (e.g. walking, high knees, backward
reach run, straight leg skipping, running cycles, bilateral
hops, etc.). Indeed, some authors defined dynamic exer-
cises (DE) as activities that consist of performing the same
movement as the dynamic stretching but walking [85].
Additionally, dynamic warm-up (DWU) includes single
joint dynamic stretching (like flexion and extension of the
hip), often paired with multiple joint dynamic stretches
(like squat or lunge), running drills [66], agility and plyo-
metric activities, and specific motor pattern movements
[102]. Standing upright stretching has shown neutral [29,
55,61,79,80,84,89,92,99,114,116,119,121,123,124]
or positive [52,53,56,61,62,67,70,71,74] effects on
subsequent performance. While walking, dynamic stretch-
ing has mainly demonstrated positive effects [39,45,50,
55,57,59,60,63,64,68,69,72,87,100]. For instance,
Paradisis et al. [42] have shown an increase in 20-m sprint
time after 40 s of dynamic stretching per muscular group
with a frequency of 1 Hz (ES =0.1, small effect). In
contrast, Little and William [63] reported an increase in
20-m sprint velocity after a similar stretch duration and
frequency (i.e. 30 s per muscular group with a frequency of
1 Hz) but while walking. Additionally, Fletcher et al. [55]
compared standing versus walking stretching [55]. They
reported that dynamic stretching while walking positively
affected sprint performance compared to standing stretch.
This may be linked to the rehearsal of movement in a more
specific pattern (see below) [55]. Indeed, proprioception
and pre-activation, which are required in sprinting to help
the rapid transition from eccentric to concentric contrac-
tion, may be invoked during walking [76]. Performing
dynamic stretching while walking could help rehearsal of
specific movement patterns allowing muscles to be excited
earlier and faster, therefore producing more power and
decreasing sprint time [55]. Another possibility is that
during plyometric exercises like walking or during
dynamic stretching, a rapid stretch would stimulate the
muscle spindles causing an increase in the muscle’s reflex
activity and thus a potentiated activity of the agonist
muscle [95]. Finally, it could be attributed to temperature-
and/or nervous-related mechanisms. In fact, physiological
mechanisms by which dynamic stretching enhance mus-
cular performance may be exacerbated when stretches are
performed during dynamic tasks.
4.5 Effect of the Studied Population
The magnitude of the stretch-induced effects may be
attributed to stretch characteristics but also to the studied
population. Indeed, different factors (such as sex, age,
physical training level, flexibility level, muscle group or
training modality) may affect musculotendinous stiffness
or viscoelastic properties [12]. For instance, some studies
have reported differences in the viscoelastic properties of
muscle and tendon structures between men and women
[132,133] and with age [134]. For instance, authors
reported no change in jump performance and an enhance-
ment in balance after 90 s of static stretching in middle-
aged active adults, while decrements are usually observed
in younger populations [135]. In addition, it has been
suggested that trained athletes are less susceptible to
stretching-induced changes than untrained athletes [92,
136,137]. Moreover, it has been shown that the acute
effects of stretching on torque production were dependent
on the individual’s flexibility [138]. Indeed, the authors
reported lower torque decreases in more flexible individ-
uals. Quite similarly, some studies have suggested that
stretching effects are dependent on the intrinsic stiffness of
the MTU, which is muscle-specific [139,140]. Indeed,
stretching effects would mainly occur in stiff tissues. In the
same way, Lima et al. [141] suggested that ballistic
stretching may have a positive warm-up effect on muscular
endurance in flexible populations, as they found a decrease
in muscular fatigue in ballet dancers but not in resistance-
trained women. With the exception of this last-cited study,
the influence of these different factors on the stretch-in-
duced effect has mostly been investigated with static
stretching. Although we expected similar behaviours with
dynamic stretching, further studies should focus on this
point.
5 Physiological Mechanisms
Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching is nowadays
recommended as a pre-performance routine. However,
there is little knowledge regarding the underlying mecha-
nisms of stretch-induced performance enhancement.
Mechanisms have been hypothesised to be neural and
peripheral in nature.
5.1 Heart Rate, Muscle and Core Temperature
Muscular performance improvements after a single bout of
dynamic stretching are likely attributed to the associated
voluntary contractions. Because muscles are contracting
actively and rhythmically to stretch, dynamic stretching
may help in the warm-up process, increasing heart rate and
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
also core and muscle temperature [54,56,72,108,109].
Studies have shown significant increases in heart rate after
dynamic stretching compared to static or no-stretch con-
ditions [54,72,108]. For instance, Fletcher and Monte-
Colombo [108] reported that heart rate after dynamic
stretching (158 ±15 beatsmin
-1
) was significantly higher
(P\0.001) than after no stretching
(130 ±12 beatsmin
-1
) and static stretching
(92 ±14 beatsmin
-1
). They also measured core temper-
ature, and reported that dynamic stretching induced the
greatest temperature rise (?0.18 and ?0.19 C) com-
pared to no-stretch and static stretching, respectively.
Nevertheless, core temperature was recorded at the tym-
panum. Therefore measurements were lower than could be
expected and accuracy can be questioned as compared with
rectal, oesophagus or muscular measurements [1,142].
Thus, to strengthen the clinical significance of such find-
ings, further experiments should determine the effects of
dynamic stretching on muscular temperature. Moreover, it
would be interesting to examine the specific effects of
dynamic stretching parameters (i.e. type, duration and
velocity) on these temperature-related mechanisms.
5.2 Muscle–Tendon Unit (MTU) Stiffness
One other possible effect of the increased muscular tem-
perature is a decrease in the viscosity [1,143], lowering
resistance to stretch and increasing joint ROM [107]. Thus,
we could expect a decrease in MTU stiffness. The literature
has focused on dynamic stretching effects resulting from
temperature-related mechanisms, but the effects on
mechanical properties and more particularly on MTU
stiffness need to be investigated further. Unlike static
stretching, and due to few studies, the effects of dynamic
stretching on MTU stiffness remain unclear. Some authors
[54,108] have used an estimation of stiffness from total
knee movement during vertical jumps (as suggested by
Knudson et al. [127]). Indeed, if stretching decreases
stiffness of the effector muscles, lower knee flexion angles
could be expected, i.e. a larger ROM. Fletcher et al. [54,
108] reported that knee ROM was significantly greater in
countermovement jump and drop jump for the dynamic
stretching as compared with no-stretch.
Furthermore, passive MTU stiffness has been widely
determined from the relationship between joint angle and
passive torque [134,144146]. Herda et al. [41] quantified
passive muscle stiffness using a fourth-order polynomial
regression model that was fitted to the passive torque–angle
curves for each participant. Results reported that passive
resistive torque and passive stiffness decreased following
2 min of dynamic stretching. These changes indicated
modifications in the viscoelastic properties of the MTU and
the authors suggested that viscosity could be specifically
affected. Similarly, Nordez et al. [147] have reported that
viscosity plays a major role in passive stiffness changes
during cyclic stretching protocols and proposed it may be
likely due to the rearrangement/slipping of collagen fibres.
Imaging techniques such as ultrasonography provide
information on changes in muscle fascicle length and
tendinous tissue behaviour [34,35,49,139,148,149] that
can be used to directly measure changes in MTU, muscle
or tendon stiffness. Recently, some authors used this
technique to assess stiffness changes after dynamic [52,
128] and ballistic [49] stretching. The first two studies did
not reveal any change in the passive mechanical properties
of the MTU: MTU stiffness, passive resistive torque and
displacement of the muscle–tendon junction were unaf-
fected by four sets [52] and seven sets [128] of 30-s
dynamic stretching. Inversely, 4 930-s of ballistic
stretching was sufficient to decrease MTU stiffness, muscle
stiffness and passive resistive torque [49]. Dynamic and
ballistic stretching seem to differently affect the passive
mechanical properties of the MTU as a result of the dif-
ferent ROM achieved during stretching. Indeed, the larger
ROM achieved during ballistic stretching likely induces
greater decreases in MTU stiffness. Moreover, the decrease
in stiffness may be linked to the higher intensity movement
in the ballistic stretch, potentially causing a greater
increase in muscle temperature. It has been proposed that
an increase in temperature may decrease the viscous
resistance of muscles [110] and by consequence reduce
passive resistive torque and MTU stiffness. Nevertheless,
additional studies are clearly needed to discriminate the
effects of dynamic and ballistic stretching on MTU stiff-
ness, and specifically on contractile and non-contractile
elements.
5.3 Post-activation Potentiation
As hypothesised by previous authors, dynamic stretching
might also produce post-activation potentiation (PAP) [53,
78,81,114,150]—a transient improvement of muscular
contractility following a conditioning voluntary contraction
[151]. While it has been hypothesised that dynamic
stretching could induce PAP, it is more likely associated
with high force activities [152]. Also, it would be linked to
the degree of muscular recruitment of the conditioning
contraction [152]. According to Henneman’s size principle
[153], it has been suggested that heavier loadings, resulting
in superior activation of type II muscle fibre motor units,
induce more favourable PAP adaptations than lighter
loadings [152]. However, some studies suggested that
ballistic contractions may provide an effective stimulus for
PAP [152,154]. Indeed, Baudry and Duchateau [154]
reported a ballistic contraction-induced twitch potentiation
related to a greater number of motor unit involvement
J. Opplert, N. Babault
123
compared with sustained submaximal contraction per-
formed at similar intensity. If PAP is dependent on the
degree of muscular recruitment, this would partly explain
why faster dynamic stretching could induce increases in
jump performance as compared to slow dynamic stretching
[54]. The principal mechanism of PAP is a higher rate of
cross-bidge formation [154,155], which relies on the
phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains that
render actin-myosin interaction more sensitive to Ca
2?
release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum [151,156,157]. It
would shorten the time to peak torque and increase the rate
of torque development, increasing muscular force, power
and speed in subsequent performance [150,151]. For
instance, Yamaguchi et al. [158] reported a decrease in
time to peak torque and an increase in the rate of torque
development subsequent to dynamic stretching. They
concluded from their results that PAP might occur.
According to the literature, voluntary contractions associ-
ated with dynamic stretching would induce such potentia-
tion; this is currently considered as one of the most relevant
explanations of stretch-induced alterations. Some authors
suggested that PAP after dynamic stretching could also
originate from an enhanced excitation of the neuromuscu-
lar system [54]. Indeed, an increase in EMG has previously
been registered after dynamic stretching [54]. Such a
hypothesis was developed in a recent review [152]. Nev-
ertheless, to our knowledge, no study has specifically
measured the PAP phenomenon after a single bout of
dynamic stretching. Further investigations are needed to
assess the real impact of dynamic stretching on potentia-
tion-related mechanisms.
5.4 Rehearsal of Movement
The other possibility for the positive changes in perfor-
mance observed after a bout of dynamic stretches may be
the rehearsal of movement in a specific pattern [55,63,76].
Fletcher and Jones’ study [55] among rugby union players
speculated that improvements in explosive activities (20-m
sprints) were related to increased muscular coordination
following a dynamic stretching routine. Indeed, they sug-
gested that the rehearsal of specific movement patterns
through dynamic active stretching may increase coordina-
tion, which allows the muscle to transition more quickly
from the eccentric to the concentric phase of contraction,
required to generate running speed. Moreover, performing
dynamic stretching while walking could help rehearsal of
specific movement patterns allowing proprioception and
preactivation, which are required in sprinting or jumping
[55,76]. Another possibility is that dynamic stretching
stimulates the muscle spindles similar to plyometric
training, causing an increase in muscle reflex activity and
thus potentiated activity of the stretched muscle [95]. This
increase in potentiation should result in increased force and
vertical jump height, partly explaining the dynamic stretch-
induced effects. However, this mechanism has not been
fully explored and needs to be investigated further.
5.5 Neural Adaptations
Stretch-induced effects may also be attributed to neural
factors such as motor unit activation or reflex sensitivity
[53,54,56,78]. In the literature, the increase in elec-
tromyography after dynamic stretching suggests that neu-
romuscular mechanisms were also responsible for the
subsequent enhanced muscular performance [53,54,58,
109], especially following fast dynamic stretches [54].
Indeed, Fletcher [54] has demonstrated an increase in EMG
in a fast dynamic stretching intervention
(100 beatsmin
-1
), and no changes in slow dynamic
stretching intervention (50 beatsmin
-1
). Such EMG aug-
mentation may represent greater motor-unit activation [53,
54,109] through neuromuscular propagation [53] and/or
increased motor-unit recruitment and synchronization
[159]. Authors have suggested that this likely enhancement
of neuromuscular function would result from higher core
and muscular temperature [58,78,108,150]. Indeed, ele-
vated core and muscle temperature, induced by the con-
tractions of dynamic stretching, may increase nerve
conduction velocity and the sensitivity of nerve receptors.
Improvement in neuromuscular performance after
dynamic stretching has also been associated with changes
in reflex sensitivity [54,95,109]. Contrary to static
stretching, fast lengthening would not decrease reflex
activity of stretched muscles, but instead would increase
spinal reflex activity [112]. H-reflex is widely used to study
changes in the reflex excitability of groups of muscle fibres
and could reflect spinal and alpha-motoneuron excitability
[160]. Vujnovich and Dawson [161] compared the effects
of static stretching and static stretching immediately fol-
lowed by ballistic stretching on changes in the H-reflex.
These authors reported that static followed by ballistic
stretching demonstrated greater decline in H-reflex ampli-
tude than static stretching only. This decline reflected an
inhibition of the alpha-motoneuron pool during ballistic
muscle stretching. They suggested it might implicate a
significant inhibitory contribution from Golgi tendon
organs. These receptors are relatively insensitive to pas-
sive, slow velocity length changes of muscle [162], but
respond mainly to rapid and large-amplitude stretch and to
the end-range forces applied, by decreasing the motoneu-
ron excitability [163,164]. Presynaptic inhibition mediated
by muscle spindle type Ia afferents discharging during
ballistic stretch [164] is also a candidate for inhibition of
the alpha-motoneuron. Conversely, Clark et al. [121]
reported a significant decrease in presynaptic inhibition
Dynamic Stretching and Subsequent Performance
123
after dynamic stretching and no change after static
stretching. They hypothesised that the rapid elongation and
contraction of the muscle fibres, which are not present in
static stretching, may explain this decrease. Nevertheless,
in view of the lack of studies on this topic, further inves-
tigations are needed to explore the changes in spinal
excitability after dynamic and ballistic stretching. An
alternative hypothesis is that the changes in EMG activity
would originate from changes in supraspinal drive. Several
authors have suggested that input from stretch sensitive
afferents might modulate corticospinal excitability [165].
Indeed, muscle lengthening has been shown to reduce
corticospinal excitability [164,165], in contrast to muscle
shortening that would potentiate motor-evoked potential
amplitudes [165]. However, the effects of dynamic
stretching (repetitive and rapid lengthening) on cortical
excitability have never been studied.
6 Limitations
When assessing the literature, it is sometimes difficult to
make pertinent comparisons between studies. Indeed, lack
of sufficient information concerning certain factors such as
sex, muscle group, control during stretching (frequency or
ROM achieved during stretching), or stretching and warm-
up procedures, together with an inconsistent nomenclature
describing the type of stretch used, hampers interpretation
of data in the literature. The difference between dynamic
stretching and ballistic stretching is not always taken into
account, and dynamic stretching versus dynamic activities
is not well defined in many studies. Some studies are not
clear in the description of their experimental protocols, and
do not control with accuracy stretch interventions. More-
over, methodological problems remain a deterrent to
determining underlying mechanisms. Indeed, dynamic
stretching is necessarily a high velocity activity incom-
patible with assessment techniques such as ultrasonography
or nerve stimulation.
7 Conclusion and Recommendations
There is a strong body of evidence supporting the positive or
neutral effects of dynamic stretching on subsequent mus-
cular performance. The few studies reporting impaired per-
formance highlighted possible mitigating factors. Ballistic
stretching would be less beneficial than dynamic stretching,
because of the larger end ROM and rebound. High velocity
stretching seems to positively affect subsequent muscular
performance. Moreover, effects on performance may be
amplified when stretches are performed while walking.
Unlike what might have been expected, stretching duration
does not seem to affect subsequent muscular performance, at
least until fatigue becomes too important. Taking these
mitigating factors into account, dynamic stretching repre-
sents a more efficient modality than static stretching to be
employed prior to subsequent muscular performance, and
especially prior to explosive or high-speed activities.
Mechanisms by which it may improve muscular perfor-
mance are still unclear. However, it has been hypothesised
that it could be mainly attributed to associated voluntary
contractions and thus to temperature and potentiation-related
mechanisms. MTU stiffness might be impaired, explaining
in part the potentially improved ROM after dynamic
stretching, but seems not to be primarily responsible for
stretch-induced performance enhancement. Nevertheless,
only a limited number of studies have explored physiological
mechanisms and further studies are needed. Finally, to
achieve a clear consensus on the dynamic stretch-induced
effects, studies should use common terminology and
methodological rules. We recommend distinguishing
dynamic stretching, which involves controlled movements
without bouncing, from ballistic stretching, which is char-
acterised by uncontrolled and bouncing movements. In
addition, we propose that dynamic stretching performed
while moving (i.e. walking) be termed dynamic exercise, and
that dynamic stretching paired with other activities or mul-
tiple joint dynamic stretches be defined as dynamic warm-up.
In addition to the type of stretching, the description should
include stretch duration per muscular group (in seconds),
stretch frequency (number of movements per second),
stretch velocity (slow, moderate, quick speed or as fast as
possible) and stretch amplitude (in full or in percentage of the
active range of motion).
Acknowledgements The authors gratefully acknowledge Dr. Gerald
G. Pope for carefully reviewing the manuscript and for correcting the
English.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Funding No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation
of this review.
Conflict of interest Jules Opplert and Nicolas Babault have no
conflicts of interest to declare.
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