Does Static Stretching Hurt Force Production?

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Does Static Stretching Hurt Force Production?

Should I stretch prior to exercise?

There are plenty of conflicting claims regarding the topic of static stretching and it’s affects on power, speed, strength and force production.  In recent years, the age-old mantra of “stretch, stretch and stretch some more” has been legitimately challenged.  Numerous studies and athlete experience brought to surface the idea that too much stretching can actually decrease the muscle’s ability to generate force.  While this is generally accepted, the exact amount of time needed before this dreaded decrease occurs has not been all that clear.

Recently the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), compiled the results of 106 different studies on the matter*.  These studies were broken down into different categories of stretching times: less than 30 seconds, 30-45 seconds, 1-2 minutes and greater than 2 minutes of continuous static stretching.  Upon complete evaluation, it was determined that:

-Less than 45 seconds of continuous static stretching does not negatively impact strength, speed or power.

-Greater than 1 Minute of continuous static stretching does negatively impact strength, speed and power.

So what does this mean?

Static stretching is an important and effective way to help establish proper joint range of motion  and muscle lengths prior to training and exercise.  Therefore, keep static stretching in your warm-up routine, but just keep the maximum time under 1 minute.

 

*Effect of Acute Static Stretching on Maximal Performance: A Systematic Review. Kay AD, Blazevich AJ, Medicing and Science in Sports and Exercise 44(1): 154-164, 2012.

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