Effects of static stretching volume and intensity on plantar flexor explosive force production and range of motion

W Young, G Elias, J Power
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2006, 46 (3): 403-11

AIM: The aim of the study was to determine the effects of volume and intensity of static stretching in a warm-up on explosive force production and range of motion (ROM) of the plantar flexors.

METHODS: Twenty subjects performed 5 warm-ups on different days. The warm-ups contained a 5 min treadmill run and various protocols of 30 s static stretches (SS) of the plantar flexors. Stretching involved dorsi flexion just before the pain threshold, which was considered 100% intensity. The treatments that immediately followed the run were: (i) no other treatment (control); (ii) 1 min SS; (iii) 2 min SS; (iv) 4 min SS; (v) 2 min SS at 90% intensity. Ankle ROM was assessed before and after each warm-up and a concentric calf raise and drop jump (DJ) test was conducted after each warm-up.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) in peak force or rate of force production in the explosive calf raise between any of the warm-ups. However the run plus 2 min stretch and the run plus 4 min stretch protocols produced significantly lower (P < 0.05) DJ performance (jump height/ground contact time) than the run. The run plus 4 min stretch warm-up also produced a significantly lower DJ score than the run plus 1 min stretch warm-up. There were no significant differences between any of the warm-ups in ankle ROM.

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of 2-4 min of SS at 100% intensity to a run caused an impairment to fast stretch shortening cycle muscle performance. The greater impairment from the 4 min stretching condition supported a volume-effect. Two minutes of stretching at 90% intensity had no significant influence on muscle function. The addition of up to 4 min of SS to a run had no appreciable effect on ankle ROM, possibly because of the prior influence of the run.

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