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The objectives of this study were to examine whether a static stretching (SS) routine decreased isometric force, muscle activation, and jump power while improving range of motion (ROM). Second, the study attempted to compare the duration of the dependent variable changes with the duration of the change in ROM. Twelve participants were tested pre- and post- (POST, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min) SS of the quadriceps and plantar flexors (PF) or a similar period of no stretch (control). Measurements during isometric contractions included maximal voluntary force (MVC), evoked contractile properties (peak twitch and tetanus), surface integrated electromyographic (iEMG) activity of the agonist and antagonistic muscle groups, and muscle inactivation as measured by the interpolated twitch technique (ITT). Vertical jump (VJ) measurements included unilateral concentric-only (no countermovement) jump height as well as drop jump height and contact time. ROM associated with seated hip flexion, prone hip extension, and plantar flexion-dorsiflexion was also recorded. After SS, there were significant overall 9.5% and 5.4% decrements in the torque or force of the quadriceps for MVC and ITT, respectively. Force remained significantly decreased for 120 min (10.4%), paralleling significant percentage increases (6%) in sit and reach ROM (120 min). After SS, there were no significant changes in jump performance or PF measures. The parallel duration of changes in ROM and quadriceps isometric force might suggest an association between stretch-induced changes in muscle compliance and isometric force output.
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APPLIED SCIENCES
Biodynamics
An Acute Bout of Static Stretching: Effects
on Force and Jumping Performance
KEVIN POWER
1
, DAVID BEHM
1
, FARRELL CAHILL
1
, MICHAEL CARROLL
1
, and WARREN YOUNG
2
1
School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, CANADA; and
2
School of
Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
ABSTRACT
POWER, K., D. BEHM, F. CAHILL, M. CARROLL, and W. YOUNG. An Acute Bout of Static Stretching: Effects on Force and
Jumping Performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1389–1396, 2004. Introduction/Purpose: The objectives of this
study were to examine whether a static stretching (SS) routine decreased isometric force, muscle activation, and jump power while
improving range of motion (ROM). Second, the study attempted to compare the duration of the dependent variable changes with the
duration of the change in ROM. Methods: Twelve participants were tested pre- and post- (POST, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min) SS of the
quadriceps and plantar flexors (PF) or a similar period of no stretch (control). Measurements during isometric contractions included
maximal voluntary force (MVC), evoked contractile properties (peak twitch and tetanus), surface integrated electromyographic (iEMG)
activity of the agonist and antagonistic muscle groups, and muscle inactivation as measured by the interpolated twitch technique (ITT).
Vertical jump (VJ) measurements included unilateral concentric-only (no countermovement) jump height as well as drop jump height
and contact time. ROM associated with seated hip flexion, prone hip extension, and plantar flexion-dorsiflexion was also recorded.
Results: After SS, there were significant overall 9.5% and 5.4% decrements in the torque or force of the quadriceps for MVC and ITT,
respectively. Force remained significantly decreased for 120 min (10.4%), paralleling significant percentage increases (6%) in sit and
reach ROM (120 min). After SS, there were no significant changes in jump performance or PF measures. Conclusion: The parallel
duration of changes in ROM and quadriceps isometric force might suggest an association between stretch-induced changes in muscle
compliance and isometric force output. Key Words: ACTIVATION, PLANTAR FLEXORS, POWER, QUADRICEPS, RANGE OF
MOTION
It is generally accepted and recommended to perform
stretching routines after a light aerobic activity as part of
a preexercise warm-up (33). Stretching has been dem-
onstrated as an effective means to increase range of motion
(ROM) about the joint (3) and is commonly utilized by
athletes to decrease muscle soreness (14), reduce (24) or
prevent (26) the risk of injury resulting from tight muscu-
lature, and rehabilitation after injury (17). In recent years,
however, the proposed benefits of stretching before exercise
have undergone considerable scrutiny. Although there have
been reports of injury risk reduction due to stretching (13),
it was concluded in a review by Shrier (25) that stretching
is unlikely to prevent injury. In addition, recent studies have
shown that various stretching routines are sufficient to in-
duce strength (2,4,12,18,19,23) and power deficits (31)
ranging from approximately 5 to 30% (33) for up to 1 h
poststretch (12) and have been suggested to be joint-angle
(20) and velocity specific (21).
Recommendations to abandon preexercise static stretch-
ing seem premature, however, in light of the fact that the
majority of stretching protocols utilized to investigate force
decrements were prolonged and not representative of com-
monly employed stretching routines. For example, Behm et
al. (4) used five different static stretches (SS) for the quad-
riceps over a 20-min time frame whereas Fowles et al. (12)
stretched the plantar flexors (PF) for a total of 30 min.
Furthermore, not all sporting activities are negatively im-
pacted by prior stretching. Wilson and colleagues (30) con-
cluded that a more compliant series elastic component in-
creased the ability to store and release elastic energy during
the rebound bench press lift. Although static stretching may
be an efficient method for increasing ROM (27), the afore-
mentioned research (2,4,12,18,19,23,31,33) highlights po-
tential risks to performance. Thus, if preexercise static
stretching were deemed necessary for sporting activities
involving maximal force and power, it would seem benefi-
Address for correspondence: David Behm, School of Human Kinetics and
Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL A1C
5S7, Canada; E-mail: dbehm@mun.ca.
Submitted for publication August 2003.
Accepted for publication March 2004.
0195-9131/04/3608-1389
MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE
®
Copyright © 2004 by the American College of Sports Medicine
DOI: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000135775.51937.53
1389
cial to determine the duration of possible stretch-induced
decrements. Impairment timelines could then be employed
as a means to formulate recommendations as to when pre-
exercise stretching should be performed. For example, if the
negative effects of stretching have subsided within 60 min
of stretching but ROM remains increased for 120 min, then
one could speculate that the athlete could stretch 60 min
preexercise without any adverse effects.
Consequently, the objective of this study was twofold in
nature: 1) to determine whether a more moderate volume of
static stretching was still sufficient to decrease isometric
force and power output and 2) to establish a force and power
output deficit timeline if decrements were observed. Based
on the existing literature, it was hypothesized that an acute
bout of SS would adversely affect isometric force and jump
performance while increasing ROM.
METHODOLOGY
Subjects
Twelve male volunteers (2044 yr, 181.6 cm 14.8,
87.3 kg 15.2) were recruited from the university popu-
lation. Participants were verbally informed of the proce-
dures, and read and signed a consent form and a physical
activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) before participa-
tion. The Memorial University of Newfoundland Human
Investigation Committee approved the study.
General Study Design
Participants acted as their own control group. The study
consisted of five testing days. Day 1 was used for participant
familiarization with the testing procedures (i.e., vertical
jump techniques, isometric muscle contractions, electrical
stimulus). During the familiarization period, subjects per-
formed a minimum of three trials each for all tests (i.e.,
maximum voluntary contraction, concentric-only jump,
drop jump, stretching). The order of testing on testing days
25 was randomized to test the plantar flexors (PF) or the
quadriceps muscle group (i.e., day 1: control: no stretching
with testing of quadriceps; day 2: experimental: stretching
with testing of PF; day 3: experimental: stretching with
testing of quadriceps; and day 4: control: no stretching with
testing of PF). Quadriceps and PF testing was conducted on
separate days because the number of voluntary and evoked
contractions involved and the two separate devices needed
for testing the two muscle groups, in addition to the jump
measures, would have resulted in an excessively prolonged
testing session. The testing days were interspersed with a
minimum of 24-h rest. For a schematic representation of the
methodology refer to Figure 1.
Warm-up
Participants performed a 5 min submaximal warm-up on
a cycle ergometer. The participants were instructed to cycle
at 70 rpm with a resistance of 1 kp to increase muscle
temperature, although this was not directly measured. All
participants developed a light sweating response, indicating
a small increase in core temperature.
Intervention
Three muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstrings, and PF) of
the dominant leg (leg used to kick a soccer ball) received
two successive SS each consisting of three repetitions each.
Based on previous research that has recommended 30 s or
greater duration of stretching (3,9), each stretch was held for
45 s followed by a 15-s relaxation period for a total stretch-
ing period of 270 s per muscle. The order in which the
muscle groups were stretched was randomized. All stretches
were held at the position to the onset of pain. This position
was described to the participants as stretching the muscle to
the greatest voluntary length beyond which the participant
felt injury might occur. Stretches included the standing
straight knee and standing bent knee (PF), the modified
hurdler and supine hip flexion (hamstrings), and the prone
buttocks kick and kneeling buttocks kick (quadriceps). The
tester assisted with the supine hip flexion, prone buttocks
kick, and kneeling buttocks kick.
Stretches
Standing straight knee. The participant leaned
against a wall bending the front leg at the knee (90°) and
FIGURE 1—Methodological overview: a schematic representation of
the methodology employed. The force and power measurements are
indicated via bold and italic lettering respectively. Randomized vari-
ables are indicated by brackets.
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keeping the other leg fully extended behind the body. The
heel of the back leg remained in contact with the floor. The
participant would then dorsiflex the ankle of the extended
back leg until reaching the point of pain.
Standing bent knee. Similar to standing straight knee
except the knee of the leg to be stretched was placed in a
bent position.
Modified hurdler. The participant started in a seated
position on a mat. The nonstretched leg was externally
rotated at the hip and flexed at the knee with the sole of the
foot in contact with the inside of the opposite thigh. With the
leg to be stretched fully extended, the participant then
leaned forward (hip flexion) to stretch the lower back and
hamstrings of the extended leg.
Supine hip flexion. With the participant lying supine
on the floor, the tester held the leg to be stretched by the
ankle and knee (to ensure full extension) and pushed the leg
back toward the participants upper torso (hip flexion). The
nonstretched leg was fully extended and in contact with the
floor and supported in that position by the tester.
Prone buttocks kick. With the participant lying prone
on the floor, the nonstretched leg was fully extended while
the leg to be stretched was flexed at the knee. The tester held
the leg to be stretched by the ankle and pushed the ankle
back toward the buttocks (actively increased knee flexion).
Kneeling buttocks kick. With the torso upright, par-
ticipants kneeled on a mat with one hip flexed and one hip
extended and both knees flexed at 90°. The leg to be
stretched was held by the ankle and pushed toward the
buttocks (actively increased knee flexion).
Experimental Setup
Knee extensors. Participants were seated on a bench
with their hips and knees flexed at 90°. Restraints were
placed over the quadriceps, across the hips, and around the
chest to ensure consistency of joint angles (90°at hip and
knee). The lower limb was inserted into a padded strap at the
ankle and attached by a high tension wire to a Wheatstone
bridge configuration strain gauge (Omega Engineering Inc.
LCCA 250, Don Mills, ON). Bipolar surface stimulating
electrodes were secured over the inguinal space, superficial
to the femoral nerve as well as the distal portion of the
quadriceps immediately superior to the patella. Surface elec-
tromyography (EMG) recording electrodes (MediTrace Pel-
let Ag/AgCl electrodes, Graphic Controls Ltd., Buffalo,
NY) were placed collar to collar (dimensions 3 2 cm)
over the mid-belly of the vastus lateralis and long head of
the biceps femoris. Ground electrodes were secured on the
tibia and fibular head.
Plantar flexors. Participants were seated in a straight
back chair with hips and knees at 90°. Contractions were
performed or elicited with their leg secured in a modified
boot apparatus (12) with their ankles at 10°of dorsiflexion;
the optimal angle for plantar flexion force production (12).
Bipolar surface stimulating electrodes were secured over the
popliteal space and immediately superior to the gastrocne-
mius-soleus intersection. Surface EMG recording electrodes
(same as previous) were placed over the soleus at the gas-
trocnemius-soleus intersection and over the mid-belly of the
tibialis anterior. Ground electrodes were secured on the
tibial shaft.
Electrode measurement and preparation. Thor-
ough skin preparation for all recording electrodes included
removal of body hair and dead epithelial cells with a razor
and abrasive (sand) paper around the designated areas, re-
spectively. This preparation was followed by cleansing of
the designated areas with an isopropyl alcohol swab. EMG
activity was amplified (1000), filtered (101000 Hz),
rectified (Biopac Systems Inc., Holliston, MA), monitored,
and stored on computer (HP Pavilion N5310). The inte-
grated electromyographic (iEMG) activity was measured
over a 1-s duration beginning at 250 ms after the first
stimulus during the interpolated twitch technique (ITT).
Stimulating electrodes, 45 cm in width, were con-
structed in the laboratory from aluminum foil, and paper
coated with conduction gel (Signa Creme, Parker Labora-
tories, Fairfield NJ) and immersed in a saline solution. The
electrode length was sufficient to wrap the width of the
muscle belly. The electrodes were placed in approximately
the same position for each participant.
Force measurement. All voluntary and evoked torques
were detected by strain gauges, amplified (Biopac Systems
Inc., DA 100: analog-digital converter MP100WSW, Holliston,
MA) and monitored on a computer (HP Pavilion N5310).
Data were stored at a sampling rate of 2000 Hz and analyzed
with a commercially designed software program (Acq-
Knowledge III, Biopac Systems Inc.).
Evoked contractile properties. Peak twitch torques
were evoked with electrodes connected to a high-voltage
stimulator (Digitimer Stimulator Model DS7H, Hertford-
shire, UK). The amperage (10 mA-1A) and duration (50
s)
of a 100150 V square wave pulse was progressively in-
creased until a maximum twitch torque was achieved. The
average of three trials was used to measure twitch amplitude
(PT). Tetanic stimulation (100 Hz) was administered at the
same stimulus intensity as the twitch for a 300-ms duration.
Interpolated twitch technique (ITT). The ITT was
administered, with two evoked doublets superimposed at
1.5-s intervals on two maximal voluntary contractions
(MVC) to estimate an average superimposed signal (5)
(Fig. 2). Furthermore, a potentiated doublet was recorded
1.5 s after the voluntary contractions. Superimposed dou-
blets rather than twitches were utilized to increase the sig-
nal-noise ratio. An IT-doublet ratio was calculated compar-
ing the amplitudes of the superimposed stimulation with the
postcontraction stimulation to estimate the extent of inacti-
vation during a voluntary contraction (interpolated doublet
amplitude/potentiated doublet amplitude 100 percent-
age of muscle inactivation). A ratio estimating muscle in-
activation rather than activation was calculated, because the
superimposed or interpolated force evoked upon the volun-
tary contraction activates those muscle fibers not acti-
vatedor left inactivatedby the voluntary command. Rest
periods of 2 min were provided between contractions. A
minimum of two MVC using the ITT were performed dur-
STRETCHING AND PERFORMANCE Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
1391
ing the pretest unless there was greater than a 5% difference
in force that resulted in a third MVC with ITT. Only one
MVC with the ITT was performed during each posttest to
reduce the effects of fatigue.
Vertical jumping tests. All jumps were performed
unilaterally with the dominant leg on a contact mat (Inner-
vations, Muncie, IN) and analyzed using a commercially
available software program (Kinematics Measurement Sys-
tems, Innervations). Measurement variable for the concen-
tric-only jump (CJ) was jump height, whereas the drop jump
(DJ) variables included contact time and jump height. A
minimum of two CJ and DJ were performed during the
pretest unless there was greater than a 5% difference in jump
height, which resulted in a third jump. Only two CJ and DJ
each were performed during each posttest to reduce the
effects of fatigue. A countermovement jump was contem-
plated and trial tested, but the consistency or reliability of
the ROM was difficult to maintain. A comparison of CJ and
DJ provided a comparison of vertical jumps emphasizing
impulse versus the stretch-shortening cycle, respectively.
Concentric jump (CJ). The participants initially stood
on the contact mat with knee flexed to 90°. The participant
then held the position for a 2-s period at which time they
were instructed to jump as high and fast as possible. Par-
ticipants left the mat with the knee and ankle fully extended
and landed in a similarly extended position to ensure that
accurate flight time was recorded. The CJ eliminated any
active prestretch of the musculature and thus only utilized a
concentric contraction. The nondominant leg was flexed at
the knee and maintained in a neutral position throughout the
jump to mitigate any potential momentum transfer.
Drop jump (DJ). The participants performed a DJ from
a 30-cm-high platform. Based on previous studies (31,33),
this jump distance was felt to be sufficiently high to stress
the stretch-shortening cycle and yet allow the participants to
emphasize a short transition or contact time. The partici-
pants were instructed to place their hands on the hips and
step off the platform with the leading leg straight to avoid
any initial upward propulsion ensuring a drop height of 30
cm. They were instructed to jump for maximal height and
minimum ground contact time. The participants were again
instructed to leave the mat with knees and ankles fully
extended and to land in a similarly extended position to
ensure the validity of the test as the software assumes flight
time up and down are equal.
Range of motion (ROM). ROM of the hip flexors, hip
extensors, and plantar flexors of the dominant leg were
measured. Hip extensor ROM was determined using the sit
and reach test (7). Participants sat upright on the floor with
their legs extended and feet dorsiflexed and placed against
a measurement box. The individual then endeavored to
reach forward with their arms extended toward or past their
feet as far as possible. The distance in centimeters from or
past the participants feet was documented. Hip flexor ROM
had the participants lying prone on the floor. With their
anterior superior iliac spine in contact with the floor, the
individual attempted to lift their leg as far as possible off the
floor. The height of the knee was measured from the ground
in cm (8). The hip flexor ROM test differed from the other
ROM measures in that it was not gravity assisted and
necessitated active contractions of the hip extensor muscu-
lature. While seated with legs above the floor hanging
freely, plantar flexor ROM was measured with a goniometer
from the position of full dorsiflexion to full plantar flexion
(8). One lever of the goniometer was land marked on the
proximal fibular head while the pivot was placed on the
lateral malleolus. The other lever was positioned on the fifth
metatarsal bone, and its position was used to determine the
degrees of movement. Three trials of each stretch were
performed pre- and posttests.
Statistical Analysis
Data were analyzed with a 2 (TREATMENT: experimen-
tal and control) 6 (TIME: PRE, POST, 30, 60, 90, 120
FIGURE 3Effect of static stretching on quadriceps MVC: columns
represent the maximal voluntary contractions of the dominant quad-
riceps for the stretch and control conditions. Asterisks indicate signif-
icant differences (P<0.05) between stretch and control conditions.
Vertical bars represent the SE.
FIGURE 2Interpolated twitch technique: an interpolated doublet
ratio was used to estimate the extent of muscle inactivation during a
MVC. % Inactivation was calculated by dividing the superimposed
stimuli (SI) during the MVC by the postcontraction potentiated twitch
(PT). MVC was calculated by a peak-to-peak measurement (the dif-
ference between baseline and the highest point of voluntary force
recorded) (5).
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Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine http://www.acsm-msse.org
min) ANOVA with repeated measures. Participants acted as
their own controls. F-ratios were considered significant at P
0.05. If significant interactions were present, a LSD post hoc
analysis was conducted. Day-to-day reliability measures of the
tests were conducted with a two way mixed (95% confidence
intervals) intraclass correlation coefficient (SPSS software).
Descriptive statistics include means and SE.
RESULTS
Isometric MVC. SS resulted in a significant (P0.05)
9.5% decrease in MVC force of the quadriceps (data collapsed
over testing sessions). MVC force was significantly decreased
for the 120-min testing duration (8.4%10.4%), thus establish-
ing a force deficit timeline (Fig. 3). MVC did not change
significantly in the control condition or with the PF.
Inactivation (ITT). SS resulted in a significant overall
5.4% increase in the inactivation of the quadriceps (P
0.05) (Fig. 4). There was no interaction effect between
condition and time and thus a timeline associated with
increased inactivation could not be established. Inactivation
did not change significantly in the control condition or with
the PF.
Electromyography. After the pretest, there was a non-
significant decrease in quadriceps EMG activity of 15.1%
and 16.5% immediately and 120 min poststretch, respec-
tively. The PF, however, demonstrated a nonsignificant
increase of 6.5% immediately poststretch with a 13.5%
decrease at 120 min (nonsignificant).
Evoked contractile properties. In comparison with
the pretest quadriceps peak twitch forces, there was a non-
significant increase of 0.5% immediately poststretch and a
nonsignificant decrease of 2.1% at 120 min posttest. Quad-
riceps tetanic forces decreased by 1.4% and 0.5% immedi-
ately and 120 min posttest, respectively (nonsignificant). PF
twitch forces maintained an approximately 5% nonsignifi-
cant decrement throughout the poststretch testing period.
Tetanic PF forces decreased 3.8% and 0.6% immediately
and 120 min poststretch, respectively (nonsignificant).
Jump performances. In reference to the pretest, DJ
contact times had nonsignificant decreases ranging from 2.6%
to 10.1% over the 2 h poststretch testing period. Similarly, DJ
heights decreased 5.1% to 6.5% over the posttesting period
(nonsignificant). CJ height showed nonsignificant decreases
between 2% and 5.4% over the testing period.
Range of motion (ROM). With data collapsed (stretch-
ing days combined) SS resulted in a significant increase in
sit and reach ROM (P0.05) lasting 120 min (Fig. 5).
When compared with the control condition, ROM increased
by 10% (POST), 8% (30 min), 7% (60 min), 6% (90 min),
and 6% (120 min) poststretch. Sit and reach ROM did not
change significantly in the control condition. There were no
significant differences in ROM during hip extension or
plantar flexion between conditions.
Reliability. Intraclass correlation coefficient (reliability)
measures ranged from 0.850.97 for voluntary isometric
measures, 0.790.93 for vertical jump (VJ) measures, 0.72
0.75 for evoked contractile properties, and 0.850.98 for
ROM measures.
DISCUSSION
The most significant findings in this study were that the SS
routine resulted in 1) significant 9.5% and 5.4% average dec-
rements in quadriceps MVC and ITT, respectively, with MVC
force remaining significantly decreased at 120 min (10.4%), 2)
significantly increased hip extensor ROM for 120 min (6%),
and 3) no significant effect on jump performance variables.
The decreased force and activation of various muscle groups
after bouts of SS is consistent with other research (4,12). The
fundamental difference between the aforementioned studies
and the present study however is the duration of the applied SS.
Whereas the total SS duration in the present study was 4.5 min
per muscle group, Behm et al. (4) stretched the quadriceps for
15 min over a 20-min time frame whereas Fowles et al. (12)
stretched the PF for a total of 30 min. Thus, even a more
moderate duration of SS can result in quadriceps isometric
force and activation decrements.
FIGURE 4Effect of static stretching on quadriceps percent inacti-
vation: columns represent the percent inactivation of the dominant
quadriceps for the stretch and control conditions. Vertical bars repre-
sent the SE.
FIGURE 5Effect of static stretching on hamstrings flexibility: col-
umns represent range of motion (sit and reach test) of the hamstrings
for the stretch and control conditions. Asterisks indicate significant
differences (P<0.05) between stretch and control conditions. Vertical
bars represent the SE.
STRETCHING AND PERFORMANCE Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
1393
Force and activation. The decrease in MVC force was
associated with a significant overall decrease in ITT, indi-
cating the possibility of a neurological deficit. Whereas
quadriceps EMG activity was also decreased with the
stretching routine, the greater variability of the signal nul-
lified any statistical significance. This neurological deficit
was further supported by the absence of significant changes
in PT or tetanus forces, which if decreased would indicate a
peripheral impairment. However, the lack of a statistically
significant interaction between changes in ITT and testing
time would not permit a conclusive indication of the dura-
tion of the neurological deficit. It is unlikely that the neu-
rological deficit was a significant contributor for the entire
two-h testing period. Fowles et al. (12) reported a 20%
decrease in force 5 min after stretching, which was accom-
panied by a significant 13% decrease in activation as mea-
sured by the ITT and a nonsignificant 15% decrease in EMG
activity. In their discussion, they reviewed a number of
factors such as autogenic inhibition and Type III (mechano-
receptor) and IV (nociceptor) afferents that could have con-
tributed to the poststretch inactivation. However, as pointed
out by Fowles et al. (12), Golgi tendon organ discharge
rarely persists during maintained stretch and the inhibitory
effects are transitory (1). They also commented that the
discomfort and pressure would be present only during the
stretch, with these inhibitory components absent 510 min
after the stretching protocol, making it unlikely that inhibi-
tion induced by mechanoreceptors or nociceptors provided
substantial inhibition during the testing period (12).
Some of the stretches used in the current study placed the
knee in a position of maximal or near maximal flexion,
which may have produced a significant amount of intra-
articular knee pressure (15). Increases in intra-articular pres-
sure have been reported to result in decreases in muscle
activation (11). Whereas there was no measure of damage to
the connective tissue in this study, the stress placed on the
tissues around the knee may have caused a transient inhib-
itory effect on the quadriceps.
There was no significant force or activation decrement
detected with the PF. In contrast to the tibia, the foot is
composed of multiple bones that could help dissipate some
of the torque effects. In addition, the SS employed for the PF
were performed solely by the participant whereas the re-
searcher assisted the stretches for the quadriceps. Thus,
although the participants were told to stretch to the point of
pain, the tester was unable to determine the relative tension
placed on the PF.
If stretching can induce activation impairments (4,12), a
more pliable muscle may experience less severe stress from
the stretching protocol. Because the PF have been docu-
mented to possess a higher percentage of slow-twitch fibers
than the quadriceps (16), differences between the PF and
quadriceps may have also resulted from differing fiber com-
positions. As stated in a review by Smith (26), it has been
suggested that slow-twitch fibers are more pliable than
fast-twitch fibers. Furthermore, the bent knee testing posi-
tion may not have placed the more fast-twitch predominant
gastrocnemius (16) at an optimal length, obscuring any
significant changes.
Avela et al. (2) investigated the effects of passive stretch-
ing of the triceps surae muscle on reflex sensitivity, provid-
ing a potential mechanism for decreased MVC force. After
1 h of stretching, there were significant decreases in MVC
(23.2%), EMG (19.9%), stretch reflex peak-to-peak ampli-
tude (84.8%), and the ratio of H-reflex to muscle compound
action potential (M-wave) (43.8%). They suggested that the
decrease in H-reflex amplitude resulted from a reduction in
excitatory drive from the Ia afferents onto the
-MN, pos-
sibly due to decreased resting discharge of the muscle spin-
dles via increased compliance of the MTU.
Behm et al. (4) demonstrated that SS of the quadriceps
decreased twitch force by 11.7%, indicating increased MTU
compliance. They concluded, however, that the lack of
change in tetanic force coupled with the decrease in muscle
activation levels suggested that the force decrease following
stretching was more neurological than mechanical in nature.
Similarly, Fowles et al. (12) reported a 10% decrease in PT
after SS of the PF coupled with a decrease in ITT. They
stated that even though full activation of the PF (ITT) was
evident by 15 min of recovery, MVC remained decreased
for up to 1 h poststretch. Thus, they suggested that the early
phase of decreased MVC resulted from impaired activation
and contractile force and by impaired contractile force for
the force deficit duration (1 h). As ROM returns to pre-
stretch values, it would be postulated that MTU compliance
would also return to normal,thus mitigating any decrease
in force resulting from increased MTU compliance. This
mechanism was unable to be determined in the present study
however as the protocol lasted 120 min during which force
decreases and increased ROM were still present. Kokkonen
et al. (19) also concluded that force loss might have been a
result of decreased MTU stiffness when they reported sig-
nificant decreases in knee flexion (7.3%) and extension
(8.1%) 1 repetition maximum forces after a SS protocol that
was accompanied by significant increases in sit and reach
ROM (16%).
It would be contentious to postulate that the prolonged
isometric force impairments in the present study are solely
related to neurological deficits. The stretch-induced isomet-
ric force decrement is more likely due to a combination of
factors. Stretch-induced changes in muscle compliance or
stiffness that endured over the 120-min testing period could
have resulted in alterations to the force length relationship of
the muscle also contributing to changes in force output.
Improved performance with a rigid MTU has been demon-
strated to be favorable during isometric and concentric con-
tractions (29). Wilson et al. (29) reported that MTU stiffness
was significantly related to isometric and concentric perfor-
mance (r 0.57 and 0.78, respectively). They suggested that
a stiffer MTU augments force production via an improved
force-velocity and length-tension relationship. A stiffer MTU
would be more effective during the initial transmission of
force, thus increasing rate of force development.
Jumping performance. A seemingly perplexing re-
sult of the current study was that in light of decreased force
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and activation of the quadriceps following SS, VJ variables
remained unaffected. Performances of power-related activ-
ities such as jumping are probably more reflective of
changes in athletic performance than isometric MVC. Re-
searchers have investigated the effects of dynamic stretch-
ing (DS) (22), SS (10,18,31), and proprioceptive neuromus-
cular facilitation (PNF) stretching (10,31) on jumping
performance yielding mixed results. Church et al. (10) in-
vestigated varying warm-up procedures on VJ performance
and demonstrated that PNF stretching significantly de-
creased VJ performance while SS had no effect. Corre-
spondingly, a statistically nonsignificant decrease in VJ
performance (3%) after SS was also found by Knudson et al.
(18), who concluded that there was no difference in the
biomechanics of the VJ performance that would suggest a
more compliant MTU.
A recent study by Young and Behm (32) investigated the
effects of submaximal running (4 min), SS (four stretches),
and practice jumps (four squat jumps and four drop jumps)
on jumping performance in an attempt to elucidate an op-
timal warm-up procedure. They concluded that SS produced
a negative effect on CJ performance. It is also of interest that
the SS method applied had a relatively low volume com-
posed of two SS each for the PF and quadriceps, consisting
of two repetitions of 30 s per each stretch. In support of
these findings, Young and Elliott (31) demonstrated that SS
significantly decreased DJ performance and suggested that
the negative influence of SS might result from increased
compliance of the MTU, which may be important for fast
stretch shortening cycle (SSC) movements. Belli and Bosco
(6) suggested that the work performed during SSC move-
ments would be enhanced by a stiffer MTU during hopping
movements. If MTU stiffness decreases after stretching, this
may help explain the decreased jump height in other studies
(10,31).
In opposition to jump performance benefits derived from
MTU stiffness, Wilson et al. (29) concluded that increased
compliance of the MTU was beneficial. They had partici-
pants perform flexibility training for 8 wk resulting in in-
creased ROM and decreased series elastic component (SEC)
stiffness. Participants showed increases in loads lifted with
the rebound bench press (5.4%) and purely concentric bench
press (4.5%), although only the former attained statistical
significance. Corresponding with additional research (30), it
was suggested that a more compliant SEC increased the
ability to store and release elastic energy during the rebound
bench press lift. The possibility of a positive association
between force output and SEC compliance is further sup-
ported by Walshe and Wilson (28). They compared MTU
stiffness and the ability to perform SSC DJs from various
heights. Results indicated that stiff participants were signif-
icantly disadvantaged at higher drop heights (DJ80 cm and
DJ100 cm) than their more compliant counterparts. They
postulated that the stiffer MTU would have a decreased
ability to mitigate the high loads placed on it, thus stimu-
lating increased inhibition during the DJ via the Golgi
tendon organs. This inhibition would override the facilita-
tion effect of the stretch reflex resulting from a bias toward
a protective mechanism (28) when high levels of force are
placed on the muscle. This finding may help explain the lack
of difference in VJ variables evident in the present study. VJ
testing is usually performed using a bilateral model
(28,31,33). In the current study, however, participants
stretched and performed VJ unilaterally. Thus, the DJ height
of 30 cm in the current study performed unilaterally would
exert significantly greater loads than bilaterally. Similar to
the effect found with high drop jumps (28), a more com-
pliant MTU might be more beneficial with unilateral jumps
from 30 cm. Perhaps the use of a lower jump height or a
bilateral jump which may benefit from a stiffer MTU may
have resulted in deficits similar to the MVC.
Range of motion. In the present study, there was no
significant increase in the ROM of the hip flexors although
sit and reach ROM increased significantly immediately
poststretch (10%) and remained increased for 120 min (6%).
The lack of change in hip flexor ROM could be attributed to
the fact that it involved active contraction of the hip exten-
sors. If the SS routine caused a similar decrease in hip
extensor force as it did in the hip flexors (quadriceps), it is
possible that the hip extensors would be unable to fully
support or raise the weight of the stretched leg to a position
of maximal hip extension. Whereas the sit and reach mea-
sures the ROM of the hip extensors, similar studies have
used the sit and reach as an indicator of increased ROM of
muscle groups other than the hip extensors (19).
CONCLUSION
SS of the quadriceps resulted in a significant decrease in
MVC force output paralleled by significantly increased sit
and reach ROM (both lasting 120 min) whereas jumping
performance was unaffected. Mechanisms responsible are
hypothesized to be an interaction of neurological and me-
chanical factors.
These findings suggest that SS may impair isometric
force production for up to 120 min. Thus, for activities
involving maximal force output, it is suggested that SS such
as the methods utilized in the current study be avoided at
least 120 min preperformance. However, jumping activities
involving higher reaction forces, which may benefit from a
more compliant MTU may be able to successfully incorpo-
rate stretching before the activity.
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... SS can cause sagging by inducing stretching of the musculotendinous unit (MTU), resulting in increased electromechanical delays that affect force transfer and may reduce elastic energy [33]. In addition, Power et al. [34] also found that SS increased tendon compliance, thereby reducing force production. ...
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BACKGROUND: The effects of a long-term static stretching program on physical performance parameters have not been elucidated completely, although the effects on muscle flexibility have a consensus. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the effect of a long-term static stretching program on physical performance and muscle properties. METHODS: Participants performed a 2-min static stretching for the ankle joint 5 times per week for 4 weeks. Physical performance and muscle properties was measured before and after the static stretching program. RESULTS: Results showed that range of motion (ROM), dynamic postural stability, and muscle hardness were positively changed, whereas other variables i.e. maximal isometric plantar flexion moment, jump heights, muscle-tendon junction displacement and its angle, were not. CONCLUSIONS: Four-week of SS program may improve ROM, dynamic postural stability, and muscle hardness without decreasing physical performance.
... : ↑ post-0' in CON (+6,2%), SD 3x10s (+3,5%) und SD 3x20s (+11,8%); PF= Peak Force; PT= Peak Torque; post-x'= Testwerte nach x Minuten nach der Internvention Bei sechs von den 14 Studien zeigte sich kein statistisch signifikanter Unterschied zwischen pSD-Interventionen und den Kontrollsituationen direkt nach der Intervention(Brandenburg et al., 2007;Kruse et al., 2013Kruse et al., , 2015Place et al., 2013;Power et al., 2004;Unick et al., 2005).Acht der 14 Studien fanden eine verringerte Leistungsfähigkeit direkt nach SD(Fowles et al., 2000;McBride et al., 2007;Mizuno et al., 2013;Paula et al., 2012;Reid et al., 2018;Sağiroğlu et al., 2017;Trajano et al., 2014) in isometrischen MVC-Testungen und Sprungleistungen. Zu keiner vollständigen Rückkehr des Leistungsverlustes kam es auch nach einem maximalen Zeitraum der Wiederbefundung nach 60 Minuten für isometrische Plantarflexion (Fowles et al., 2000), nach 16 Minuten für isometrische Knieextension (McBride et al., 2007), nach 10 Minuten für Sprungkraft und isometrische Knieextension (Reid et al., 2018) und nach 15 Minuten für CMJ SH (Sağiroğlu et al., 2017). ...
Thesis
Kurzzusammenfassung Ziele: Statisches Dehnen unterlag immer wieder starken Schwankungen in der Popularität. Im Raum stehen und standen die Fragen nach den Auswirkungen auf Verletzungsrisiko und Leistung. In der vorliegenden Arbeit wird darauf eingegangen, welche Auswirkung statisches Dehnen direkt vor sportlicher Leistungserbringung im Bereich Kraft, Schnellkraft und Schnelligkeit hat. Methoden: Diese Arbeit wurde nach den PRISMA-Regeln für systematische Reviews erstellt. Randomisierte kontrollierte Studien in englischer und deutscher Sprache wurden über die Datenbanken PubMed, Sportdiscus und Cochrane CENTRAL gesucht und nach vordefinierten Inklusionskriterien ausgewählt. Die Ergebnisse wurden nach Dehnmethode, Belastungsparameter der Intervention und nach Outcome-Parametern im Bereich Kraft, Schnellkraft und Schnelligkeit aufgeschlüsselt und analysiert. Ergebnisse: Es konnten 88 Studien identifiziert werden, die den Einschlusskriterien genügen. Die Qualität der Studien wurde nach der PEDro-Skala bewertet. Die meisten Studien erreichten einen Gesamtscore von 4/10 Punkten. Die Dehninterventionen in den Primärstudien können als sehr heterogen beschrieben werden. Insgesamt zeigt sich, dass statisches Dehnen einen kurzfristigen adversen Effekt auf sportliche Leistungsfähigkeit haben kann (bis zu-15 %). Längere Dehnung, multiple Serien und kürzere Abstände zwischen Dehnung und Leistungserbringung verstärken diesen Effekt. Kürzere Dehnung (10s-30s), einzelne Serien, aktive Pausen bis zur Testung (≥ 10min) sowie Voraktivierungen negieren den negativen Effekt. Zusammengefasst kann statisches Dehnen vor komplexen Bewegungsaufgaben eingesetzt werden, wenn weitere Aufwärmstrategien vor der Leistungserbringung folgen. Bei hochspezifischen, singulären sportlichen Aufgaben, wie häufig in der Leichtathletik oder im Kraftsport, sollte wenn möglich auf statisches Dehnen kurz vorher verzichtet werden. Die Entscheidung für oder gegen Dehnen sollte auf individueller Ebene und auf Ebene der Sportartenanalyse getroffen werden. Abstract Aims: There is an ongoing debate about the use of static stretching before sports and exercise. Part of the debate is if static stretching could potentially change the risk of injury and performance in a relevant way. This thesis looks at the direct, acute effects of static stretching on sports performance concerning strength, explosiveness, and speed. Methods: This systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA statement. Only randomized, controlled studies got included in English and German language and searched via PubMed, Sportdiscus and Cochrane CENTRAL. The predefined inclusion criteria were used to identify the studies. The results were analyzed separately for stretching methods, loading and outcome parameters within strength, explosiveness, and speed. Results: 88 studies got included. The quality of the studies was analyzed using the PEDro scale. Most investigations hit a score of 4/10 possible points. The stretching interventions can be described as heterogenous. In summary, static stretching may provide short term adverse effects on performance (up to-15 %). Longer stretches, multiple series and a short timeframe between the stretching and testing increases this effect. Brief stretching interventions (10s-30s), single-sets, active rest (≥ 10min) and preactivation can nullify the adverse effects. It can be concluded that short passive stretching can be implemented prior to complex sporting tasks if additional warm-up strategies are. For specific sporting tasks, like in track and field or strength-sports, passive stretching should be avoided right before the tasks. The decision around the use of passive stretching should be made on an individual and sport-specific basis.
... This method has been the subject of several studies that investigated its influence on injury prevention 9 , rehabilitation 10 , range of motion 11 , flexibility 12 , strength training volume 13 , muscle activation 14, and physical performance 15,16 . Regarding the performance of tasks that predominantly require the muscular system, the SS effects on power 17 dynamic strength 18 , isometric strength 19 , and isokinetic torque 20 were studied. ...
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It has been suggested in the lay literature that static stretching and/or warm-up will prevent the occurrence of Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effects of static stretching and/or warm-up on the level of pain associated with DOMS. Sixty-two healthy male and female volunteers were randomly assigned to four groups: (a) subjects who statically stretched the quadriceps muscle group before a step, (b) subjects who only performed a stepping warm-up, (c) subjects who both stretched and performed a stepping warm-up prior to a step test, and (d) subjects who only performed a step test. The step test (Asmussen, 1956) required subjects to do concentric work with their right leg and eccentric work with their left leg to voluntary exhaustion. Subjects rated their muscle soreness on a ratio scale from zero to six at 24-hour intervals for 5 days following the step test. A 4x2x2 ANOVA with repeated measures on legs and Duncan's New Multiple Range post-hoc test found no difference in peak muscle soreness among the groups doing the step test or for gender (p greater than .05). There was the expected significant difference in peak muscle soreness between eccentrically and concentrically worked legs, with the eccentrically worked leg experiencing greater muscle soreness. We concluded that static stretching and/or warm-up does not prevent DOMS resulting from exhaustive exercise.
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Musculotendinous injuries are responsible for a significant proportion of injuries incurred by athletes. Many of these injuries are preventable. Importantly, musculotendinous injuries have a high incidence of recurrence. Thus, muscle injury prevention is advocated by coaches and trainers. Yet, most of the recommendations for muscle injury prevention are attempted by athletes and taught by coaches without supporting scientific evidence. This paper reviews the mechanics of muscular injury, associated and predisposing factors, and methods of prevention with a review of the supporting research and rationale for these methods with an emphasis on warm-up, stretching and strengthening. Muscles that are capable of producing a greater force, a faster contraction speed and subjected to a greater stretch are more likely to become injured. Many factors have been associated with muscular injury. From current research, some conclusions and recommendations for muscle injury prevention can be made. Overall and muscular conditioning and nutrition are important. Proper training and balanced strengthening are key factors in prevention of musculotendinous injuries as well. Warm-up and stretching are essential to preventing muscle injuries by increasing the elasticity of muscles and smoothing muscular contractions. Improper or excessive stretching and warming up can, however, predispose to muscle injury. Much research is still needed in this important aspect of sports medicine.