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The Duration of the Inhibitory Effects with Static Stretching on Quadriceps Peak Torque Production

Siatras, Theophanis A; Mittas, Vasilios P; Mameletzi, Dimitra N; Vamvakoudis, Eystratios A

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - pp 40-46
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31815f970c
Original Research

Although several studies have investigated the acute effect of static stretching exercises, the duration of exercises that negatively affects performance has not been ascertained. This study was conducted to determine the acute effect of different static stretching durations on quadriceps isometric and isokinetic peak torque production. The 50 participants were randomly allocated into five equivalent sized groups and were asked to perform a stretching exercise of different duration (no stretch, 10-second stretch, 20-second stretch, 30-second stretch, and 60-second stretch). The knee flexion range of motion and the isometric and concentric isokinetic peak torques of the quadriceps were measured before and after a static stretching exercise in the four experimental groups. The same parameters were examined in the control group (no stretch) without stretching, before and after a 5-minute passive rest. There were no significant differences among groups before the experimentation regarding their physical characteristics and performances (P > 0.05). These results reflect the different groups' homogeneity. Significant knee joint flexibility increases (P < 0.001) and significant isometric and isokinetic peak torque reductions (P < 0.05-0.001) have been shown to occur only after 30 and 60 seconds of quadriceps static stretching. Stretching reduced isometric peak torque by 8.5% and 16.0%, respectively. Concerning isokinetic peak torque after 30 and 60 seconds of stretching, it was reduced by 5.5% vs. 11.6% at 60°/s and by 5.8% vs. 10.0% at 180°/s. We suggest that torque decrements are related to changes of muscle neuromechanical properties. It is recommended that static stretching exercises of a muscle group for more than 30 seconds of duration be avoided before performances requiring maximal strength.

Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Address correspondence to Theophanis Siatras, fsiatras@phed.auth.gr.

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association