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Intermittent but Not Continuous Static Stretching Improves Subsequent Vertical Jump Performance in Flexibility-Trained Athletes

Bogdanis, Gregory C.1; Donti, Olyvia1; Tsolakis, Charilaos1; Smilios, Ilias2; Bishop, David J.3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 203–210
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001870
Original Research

Bogdanis, GC, Donti, O, Tsolakis, C, Smilios, I, and Bishop, DJ. Intermittent but not continuous static stretching improves subsequent vertical jump performance in flexibility-trained athletes. J Strength Cond Res 33(1): 203–210, 2019—This study examined changes in countermovement jump (CMJ) height after an intermittent or a continuous static stretching protocol of equal total duration. Sixteen male, elite-level gymnasts performed 90 seconds of intermittent (3 × 30 seconds with 30 seconds rest) or continuous stretching (90 seconds) of the quadriceps muscle. A single-leg stretching and jumping design was used, with the contralateral limb serving as a control. The same individuals performed both conditions with alternate legs in a randomized, counterbalanced order. One-leg CMJ height was measured for the stretched and the control leg after warm-up, immediately after stretching, and at regular intervals for 10 minutes after stretching. Range of motion (ROM) of the hip and knee joints was measured before, after, and 10 minutes poststretching. Compared with the control leg, intermittent stretching increased CMJ height by 8.1 ± 2.0%, 4 minutes into recovery (2.2 ± 2.0 cm, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0–3.4 cm, p = 0.001), whereas continuous stretching decreased CMJ height by 17.5 ± 3.3% immediately after (−2.9 ± 1.7 cm, 95% CI: −2.0 to −3.7 cm, p = 0.001) and by 12.0 ± 2.7% 1 minute after stretching (−2.2 ± 2.1 cm, 95% CI: −1.2 to −3.2 cm, p = 0.001). The increases in hip (2.9 and 3.6°, p = 0.001. d = 2.4) and knee joint ROM (5.1 and 6.1°, p = 0.001. d = 0.85) after the intermittent and continuous stretching protocols were not different. The opposite effects of intermittent vs. continuous stretching on subsequent CMJ performance suggests that stretching mode is an important variable when examining the acute effects of static stretching on performance in flexibility-trained athletes.

1School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece;

2School of Physical Education and Sport Science, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece; and

3Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), College of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

Address correspondence to Dr. Gregory C. Bogdanis,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.