BEHM, D. G., A. BAMBURY, F. CAHILL, and K. POWER. Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Force, Balance, Reaction Time, and Movement Time. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1397–1402, 2004.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of an acute bout of lower limb static stretching on balance, proprioception, reaction, and movement time.
Methods: Sixteen subjects were tested before and after both a static stretching of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and plantar flexors or a similar duration control condition. The stretching protocol involved a 5-min cycle warm-up followed by three stretches to the point of discomfort of 45 s each with 15-s rest periods for each muscle group. Measurements included maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) force of the leg extensors, static balance using a computerized wobble board, reaction and movement time of the dominant lower limb, and the ability to match 30% and 50% MVC forces with and without visual feedback.
Results: There were no significant differences in the decrease in MVC between the stretch and control conditions or in the ability to match submaximal forces. However, there was a significant (P < 0.009) decrease in balance scores with the stretch (↓ 9.2%) compared with the control (↑ 17.3%) condition. Similarly, decreases in reaction (5.8%) and movement (5.7%) time with the control condition differed significantly (P < 0.01) from the stretch-induced increases of 4.0% and 1.9%, respectively.
Conclusion: In conclusion, it appears that an acute bout of stretching impaired the warm-up effect achieved under control conditions with balance and reaction/movement time.
School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, CANADA
Address for correspondence: David Behm, Ph.D., School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, A1C 5S7; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted for publication December 2003.
Accepted for publication April 2004.