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Stretching before sport.

  1. Chris Fry profile image76
    Chris Fryposted 5 years ago

    Static stretching has long been accepted as essential prior to playing sport however current research questions this notion. In terms of improving performance, static stretching has been shown to be inferior to dynamic stretching. McMillian et al. (2006) found that when performing static stretches power and agility performance were compromised. Static stretching has also been shown to reduce both lower limb power and strength (Faigenbaum et al., 2010) using the vertical jump as the measure of power, and upper body limb power and strength (Costa et al, 2009) using the bench press as the measure of strength.

    In terms of injury prevention it is evident from Small et al.'s (2008) review paper (analysed over 300 papers) that static stretching does not appear to reduce injury rates, however it is important to note that static stretching does not increase the likelihood of injury. Static stretching does increase flexibility and thus should be used in a conditioning program to improve flexibility, but should not be performed prior to exercise due to the adverse affects it has upon performance.

    Instead of static stretching dynamic stretching should be done, as it raises muscle temperature higher than static stretching and at higher muscle temperatures it has been shown that greater losses of adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine occur (Gray et al., 2008) enabling greater power production and thus performance, and at the same time a reduced injury potential. Research has also shown that performing dynamic stretching prior to sport can improve sprint times (Fletcher and Jones, 2004), agility (McMillian et al.,2006) and jumping performance (Vetter, 2007).


    Costa, E. C., Dos Santos, C. M., Prestes, J., Da Silvia, J. B. and Knackfuss, M. I. (2009). Acute effect of static stretching on the strength performance of jiu-jitsu athletes in horizontal bench press. Fitness and Performance Journal , 8 (3): 212-218.

    Faigenbaum, A. D., McFarland, J. E., Kelly, N. A., Ratamess, N. A., Kang, J. and Hoffman, J. R. (2010). Influence of recovery time on warm-up effects in male adolescent athletes. Pediatric Exercise Science, 22 (2): 266-277.

    Fletcher, I. M. and Jones, B. (2004). The effect of different warm-up stretch protocols on 20 meter sprint performance in trained rugby union players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research , 18 (4): 885-888.

    Gray, S. R., Soderlund, K. and Ferguson, R. A. (2008). ATP and phosphocreatine utilization in single human muscle fibres during the development of maximal power output at elevated muscle temperatures. Journal of Sport Sciences, 26 (7): 701-707.

    McMillian, D. J., Moore, J. H., Hatler, B. S. and Taylor, D. C. (2006). Dynamic vs. static-stretching warm-up: the effect on power and agility performance. Journal of Strength and Conditiong Research, 20 (3): 492-499.

    Small, K., McNaughton, L. and Matthews, M. (2008). A systematic review into the efficacy of static stretching as part of a warm-up for the prevention of exercise-related injury. Research in Sports Medicine , 16 (3): 213-228.

    Vetter, R. E. (2007). Effect of 6 warm-up protocols on sprint and jump performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research , 21 (3): 819-823.

  2. tomashuhart75 profile image60
    tomashuhart75posted 5 years ago

    I prescribe the use of dynamic stretching prior to exercise, static stretches after

    1. Marisa Wright profile image91
      Marisa Wrightposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Me too, I understood static stretching before exercise was really frowned on these days.

      To the OP - was that meant to be a Hub??

      1. Chris Fry profile image76
        Chris Fryposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        There are numerous hubs on here which spew factual inaccuracies regarding multiple facets of health and exercise science. If you visit my profile you can see my hub is designed to disseminate scientific writing to help people improve sporting performance, and their health and wellbeing, as too often they are mislead by other hubs/media etc.

  3. rcrm89 profile image76
    rcrm89posted 5 years ago

    I do a combination of foam rolling, static stretching and dynamic stretching during my warm-ups.

    As a student athlete who spends a significant amount of time seated each day personally I find static stretching my hip flexors/quads, groin, calves which are prone to be tight from sitting posture, beneficial.

    The duration and intensity of the static stretch are also something to keep in mind - personal I keep both low during a warm-up.

    All the studies I have read only compare dynamic stretching and static stretching in isolation not combined during a warm-up, which is what most people who include static stretching in their warm-up will do. - I would be interested to see any evidence to the contrary.

    Some performance enhancement coaches (see Joe DeFranco) suggest aggressively static stretching your hip flexors prior to vertical jump testing as it improves your gluteal activation by inhibiting the resistance of the HF which are antagonists to the hip extension (which is where a large proportion of power is generated).

    1. Chris Fry profile image76
      Chris Fryposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Stretching is indeed beneficial for posture, my hub and this forum post on the topic is only related to the negative effects of static stretching as part of a warm-up prior to sporting performance, which as you can see, is widely deemed negative within the current academic literature.

  4. The Jet profile image85
    The Jetposted 5 years ago

    Stretching is definitely vital. Now I know better after pulling a leg muscle. Yeeesh. Hurt like hell.

    1. Chris Fry profile image76
      Chris Fryposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      As you can see from the post, stretching (static at least) does not actually reduce the chances of injury.

    2. healthystream profile image60
      healthystreamposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I agree. It really hurts in the first place. If we keep it going, we would be happy to stretch as long as we want. smile

  5. s82a84 profile image61
    s82a84posted 5 years ago

    I always stretch prior to lifting weights. You need to support the joints to prevent from possible injury. I was step on treadmill for 5 min. to insure my blood can flood throughout my body.

  6. Greek One profile image80
    Greek Oneposted 5 years ago

    you are never too old to do a proper stretch..


    1. healthystream profile image60
      healthystreamposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hahaha! I give credit to this one. By the way, when I was in high school learning karate and taekwondo....stretching is what we have in the first place before taking action.

  7. Fitness Fitness profile image74
    Fitness Fitnessposted 5 years ago

    Static stretching is not at all advisable before sports and exercise. Always do your warm up properly associated with some dynamic  stretching. Do your Static Stretching after your Workout or event is over, when muscles are still warm.

  8. fit2day profile image82
    fit2dayposted 5 years ago

    I do dynamic stretching prior to sprinting and I must say I'm much faster now then in high school where I would do a light warm-up and 10 minutes worth of static stretching. I was taught back then that you had to stretch a lot to run faster, but in reality, I was doing everything to make myself slower without realizing it.