Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Force, Balance, Reaction Time, and Movement Time

BEHM, DAVID G.; BAMBURY, ANDREW; CAHILL, FARRELL; POWER, KEVIN

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
APPLIED SCIENCES: Biodynamics
Abstract

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.

Author Information

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: dbehm@mun.ca.

Submitted for publication December 2003.

Accepted for publication April 2004.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine