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Acute Effects of Antagonist Stretching on Jump Height, Torque, and Electromyography of Agonist Musculature

Sandberg, John B.1; Wagner, Dale R.1; Willardson, Jeffrey M.2; Smith, Gerald A.1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 5 - p 1249–1256
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824f2399
Original Research

Sandberg, JB, Wagner, DR, Willardson, JM, and Smith, GA. Acute effects of antagonist stretching on jump height, torque, and electromyography of agonist musculature. J Strength Cond Res 26(5): 1249–1256, 2012—Although there has been substantial research on the acute effects of static stretching on subsequent force and power development, the outcome after stretching of the antagonist musculature has not been examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of static stretching of antagonist musculature on multiple strength and power measures. Sixteen trained men were tested for vertical jump height and isokinetic peak torque production during knee extension at 60°.s−1 (SlowKE) and 300°.s−1 (FastKE). Electromyography was recorded for the vastus lateralis and the biceps femoris muscles during isokinetic knee extension. Subjects performed these tests in a randomized counterbalanced order with and without prior stretching of the antagonist musculature. Paired samples t-tests indicated significantly greater torque production during the FastKE when preceded by stretching of the antagonist musculature vs. the nonstretch trial (102.2 vs. 93.5 N.m; p = 0.032). For SlowKE, torque production was not significantly different between the trials (176.7 vs. 162.9 N.m; p = 0.086). Vertical jump height (59.8 vs. 58.6 cm; p = 0.011) and power (8571 vs. 8487 W; p = 0.005) were significantly higher after the stretching trial vs. the nonstretching trial. Electromyography responses were similar between the trials. These results suggest that static stretching of the antagonist hamstrings before high-speed isokinetic knee extension increases the torque production. Furthermore, stretching the hip flexors (emphasis on single-joint hip flexors) and dorsiflexors, the antagonists of the hip extensors and plantarflexors, may enhance jump height and power, although the effect sizes were small.

1Human Movement Science Program, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Utah State University, Logan, Utah

2Department of Kinesiology and Sports Studies, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois

Corresponding author contact information: Dale R. Wagner, PhD,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association