Static Stretching vs. Good Performance?

Shir Konas

Is Using Static Stretching as Part of a Warm-up Ever a Good Idea?

There has been controversy about this for a while now. In my group classes, I usually prefer to use dynamic stretching and movement practice before going into any training; The following is an article that was published on the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s newsletter – I wanted to share it with you:

Contemporary sport science literature suggests that including a static stretching regime as part of a pre-event warm-up results in reductions in sports performance capacity. Specifically it appears that static stretching can result in a reduction in force production capacity, vertical jump height, sprint time and muscle activation. While these results appear very convincing there are very limited numbers of longitudinal studies which compare the performance
of static stretching at various points throughout the training session.

The present study randomly divided 48 students aged between 13 and 15 into two groups. The first group performed only sprint training, while the second group performed sprint training with static stretching placed at the beginning and in the middle of the training session. The study lasted six weeks and flexibility and sprint tests were performed before and after the training fitness frontlines  interventions.

Results of the study confirm that stretching prior to sprinting results in a reduction in sprint times at 10 and 30 m after six weeks of training, regardless of which exercise intervention was undertaken. However, the sprint group experienced significantly less reductions in sprint performance at 5, 10, and 30 m respectively. Based upon this data it appears that including stretching in the training plan prior to and in the middle of the training session will result in a reduction in the pre-sprint stretch induced performance impairment. However, the impairment still exists and if performance is of major importance static stretching should be avoided. At this time it is not known if a longer duration of training will
result in an obviation of the decrements in performance created by pre-event stretching.

Chaouachi A, Chamari K, Wong P, Castagna C, Chaouachi M, Moussa-Chamari I, and Behm DG. “Stretch and sprint training reduces stretch induced sprint performance deficits in 13- to 15-year-old youth”.
Eur J Appl Physiol 104:515 – 522. 2008.

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