Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance

KOKKONEN, JOKE1; NELSON, ARNOLD G.2; ELDREDGE, CAROL1; WINCHESTER, JASON B.2

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3181238a2b
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance
Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated the influence of static stretching exercises on specific exercise performances.

Methods: Thirty-eight volunteers participated in this study. The stretching group (STR) consisted of 8 males and 11 females whose activity was limited to a 10-wk, 40-min, 3-d·wk−1 static stretching routine designed to stretch all the major muscle groups in the lower extremity. The control group (CON) consisted of 8 males and 11 females who did not participate in any kind of regular exercise routine during the study. Each subject was measured before and after for flexibility, power (20-m sprint, standing long jump, vertical jump), strength (knee flexion and knee extension one-repetition maximum (1RM)), and strength endurance (number of repetitions at 60% of 1RM for both knee flexion and knee extension).

Results: STR had significant average improvements (P < 0.05) for flexibility (18.1%), standing long jump (2.3%), vertical jump (6.7%), 20-m sprint (1.3%), knee flexion 1RM (15.3%), knee extension 1RM (32.4%), knee flexion endurance (30.4%) and knee extension endurance (28.5%). The control group showed no improvement.

Conclusion: This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances. It is possible that persons who are unable to participate in traditional strength training activities may be able to experience gains through stretching, which would allow them to transition into a more traditional exercise regimen.

Author Information

1Exercise and Sport Science Department, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Laie, HI; and 2Department of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Address for correspondence: Arnold G. Nelson, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, 112 Long Field House, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; E-mail: anelso@lsu.edu.

Submitted for publication November 2006.

Accepted for publication May 2007.

©2007The American College of Sports Medicine