BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE:
Stretching is one of the most common forms of exercise and movement. It is widely regarded as both safe and beneficial. Nearly every athlete and recreational exerciser has participated in some kind of stretching program. Previous reviews of literature have shown dynamic stretching to preferred over static stretching for warming up prior to high intensity exercise2. Despite recent trends towards favoring dynamic stretching, the evidence is conflicting regarding the short and long-term effects of static stretching and whether it truly is detrimental to performance3. Many of the studies up to this point have been methodologically flawed and leave room for further investigation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of static and dynamic stretching programs on hamstring eccentric peak torque and functional performance in healthy men.
The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial recruiting active, healthy, and injury-free men (aged 18-28) for three different groups: dynamic stretching, static stretching and control. There were three dependent variables in this study: hamstring eccentric peak torque was measured via maximal voluntary isokinetic testing, and functional performance was measured using the triple hop for distance, and the modified 20-m sprint run. All three were measured 48 hours before and 48 hours after the stretching intervention.
Both the dynamic and static stretching groups performed 3 sessions a week for 10 total sessions. The dynamic stretching consisted of 3 sets of 30 second (1 rep per second) standing straight leg kicks with 30 seconds rest. The static stretching group performed 3 sets of 30 second supine hamstring stretch holds. Participants in both groups were instructed to push the stretch until they felt a sensation of discomfort. The control group was asked to remain sedentary for the duration of the intervention.
the long-term effects of chronic static stretching are consistent with the short-term effects of acute static stretching: both result in significant reductions in maximal contractile force and power production.
Chronic static stretching significantly reduced eccentric peak torque when compared with dynamic stretching and the control. A smaller, but still significant group-time interaction was found with decreases in triple hop distance following chronic static stretching. The 20-m sprint test was