Athletes and exercisers tend to stretch their muscles before they train or compete. But past scientific studies have shown that this can reduce muscle force and power in the period afterwards. In fact, based on current scientific evidence, organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine and European College of Sports Sciences do not recommend static (motionless) stretching before sports or exercise.
Instead, dynamic stretching techniques – fast movements done through a large range of motion – are thought to be better. Yet, there has been concern that previous studies were not properly designed to specifically test the effects of stretching during warm-up. Investigators, in this study, therefore, asked 20 team-sport athletes to do different static and dynamic stretch routines on different days during a sports warm-up.
They then tested sprint running, jumping, and agility performances. Before the study, these athletes believed that dynamic stretching would help them perform better. But their performances were the same on each day regardless of the type of stretching used. Instead, they said they felt more prepared for exercise on days when some muscle stretching was done than when it wasn’t allowed.
Based on these results, athletes and exercisers may do whichever type of stretching they like during warm-up without worrying about whether it will affect their performance.
For more information, view the abstract