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Static Stretching Does Not Impair Performance in Active Middle-Aged Adults

Handrakis, John P; Southard, Veronica N; Abreu, Jairo M; Aloisa, Mariella; Doyen, Mellissa R; Echevarria, Licet M; Hwang, Hyun; Samuels, Christine; Venegas, Steven A; Douris, Peter C

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 3 - pp 825-830
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ad4f89
Original Research

Handrakis, JP, Southard, VN, Abreu, JM, Aloisa, M, Doyen, MR, Echevarria, LM, Hwang, H, Samuels, C, Venegas, SA, and Douris, PC. Static stretching does not impair performance in active middle-aged adults. J Strength Cond Res 24(3): 825-830, 2010-Recent investigations with young, healthy adult subjects suggest that static stretching before activity decreases performance and should, therefore, be avoided. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of an acute static stretching protocol on balance and jump/hop performance in active middle-aged adults. Ten subjects (6 men and 4 women aged 40-60 yr) from a martial arts school volunteered to take part in this research study. This was a repeated measures design. Subjects who stretched for 10 minutes using a 30-second hold during 1 session sat quietly for 10 minutes during the alternate session. Sessions were randomly assigned. The following dependent variables were compared: Dynamic Stability Index (DSI) for single-leg dynamic balance (smaller DSI = improved balance); distances for broad jump, single hop, triple hop, and crossover hop; elapsed time for a 6-m timed hop. Group means for balance were significantly different between the stretch and no-stretch conditions (3.5 ± 0.7 vs. 4.3 ± 1.4 DSI, respectively; p < 0.05). No significant differences were found between the group means of the stretch and no-stretch conditions for the dependent measures of broad jump, single hop, triple hop, crossover hop, and 6-m timed hop performance. Ten minutes of acute static stretching enhances dynamic balance and does not affect jump/hop performance in active middle-aged adults. Static stretching should be included before competition and before exercise in fitness programs of active middle-aged adults.

NYIT-School of Health Professions, Behavioral and Life Sciences, Old Westbury, New York

Address correspondence to Dr. John P. Handrakis, jhandrak@nyit.edu.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association