Is Static Stretching prior to Activity Optimal?

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Athletes should not haphazardly static stretch as it is counterproductive to relax muscles that will be used in power dependent activities. A study showed how oftentimes the power has been decreased due to static stretching, but returned to baseline after ten to fifteen minutes (Kruse et al., 2015). Also, an athlete that has tightness in a certain area may benefit from static stretching that overactive site if it is followed by a dynamic warm up. The dynamic warm up could override the affects of static stretching prior to exercise. A study on female volley players found that there was an improvement in vertical jump ability after 1 minute of dynamic stretching, but a decrease in vertical jumping after 1 minute of static stretching (Kruse et al., 2015). It is not worth taking the risk of decreasing performance in an athlete when there is limited training time.

Static stretching may not have a negative effect on an activity, but it also may not improve the activity as well. A study on 12-13 year old soccer players found that static stretching did not have a negative impact on kicking accuracy performance. However, it also found that dynamic and ballistic stretching displayed better accuracy performances (Frikha et al., 2017). The timing of neural firing should also be considered when considering which type of stretching is best for an athlete. Our practice is to use myofascial release on specific areas, static stretch or active isolated stretching, and finally dynamic stretching prior to sprint or strength training. We have not noticed any decline in performance. Our thought is the dynamic warm up prior to the training is enough of a stimulus to prepare the body for movement.

Reference

 

Kruse, N., Barr, M., Gilders, R., Kushnick, M.,  & Rana, S. (2015). Effect of different stretching strategies on the kinetics of vertical jumping in female volleyball athletes. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 4, 364-370.

Frikha, M., Derbel, M., Chaari, N., Gharbi, A., & Chamari, K. Acute effect of stretching modalities on global coordination and kicking accuracy in 12–13 year-old soccer players. Human Movement Science, 54, 63-72.

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