Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Death of Static Stretching

I will keep the one short.

Static stretching is overrated. There I said it.

Static stretching can be replaced by precise mobility work for about 95% of your needs. Remember that the brain is in charge and ALLOWS flexibility changes. For optimal changes we need to directly target the nervous system.

Why would you want to take a limb to and end range of motion and teach it to be weaker?

Everyone knows that static stretching makes a muscle WEAKER. Personally, I want mobility and STRENGTH at and END RANGE OF MOTION and this can be achieved with precise mobility work (I like Z Health).

Efficient movement and great mobility is the goal, but I don't think static stretching is the most effect tool to achieve it.

For those that want to argue using research, here you go

Decreases muscle strength/power (1, 2, 5, 9-11, 13-17, 21, 27, 30, 32, 34, 35)

Dose dependent? (22)

May be speed specific (31)

Dynamic motion is better (15, 37)

See the video at the bottom of a static hip flexor stretch (first part) then a precise mobility drills (Z Health cross body shoulder circle done in the same position) and then the "stretch" repeated.

Feel free to post your comments!

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2. Behm D. G., D. C. Button, J. C. Butt. Factors affecting force loss with prolonged stretching. Can J Appl Physiol. 26(3):261-272, 2001.

5. Church J. B., M. S. Wiggins, F. M. Moode, R. Crist. Effect of warm-up and flexibility treatments on vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res. 15(3):332-336, 2001.

9. Cornwell A., A. G. Nelson, B. Sidaway. Acute effects of stretching on the neuromechanical properties of the triceps surae muscle complex. Eur J Appl Physiol. 86(5):428-434, 2002.

10. Cramer J. T., T. J. Housh, G. O. Johnson, J. M. Miller, J. W. Coburn, T. W. Beck. Acute effects of static stretching on peak torque in women. J Strength Cond Res. 18(2):236-241, 2004.

11. Cramer J. T., T. J. Housh, J. P. Weir, G. O. Johnson, J. W. Coburn, T. W. Beck. The acute effects of static stretching on peak torque, mean power output, electromyography, and mechanomyography. Eur J Appl Physiol. 93(5-6):530-539, 2005.

13. Evetovich T. K., N. J. Nauman, D. S. Conley, J. B. Todd. Effect of static stretching of the biceps brachii on torque, electromyography, and mechanomyography during concentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res. 17(3):484-488, 2003.

14. Faigenbaum A. D., M. Bellucci, A. Bernieri, B. Bakker, K. Hoorens. Acute effects of different warm-up protocols on fitness performance in children. J Strength Cond Res. 19(2):376-381, 2005.

15. Fletcher I. M., R. Anness. The acute effects of combined static and dynamic stretch protocols on fifty-meter sprint performance in track-and-field athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 21(3):784-787, 2007.

16. Fletcher I. M., B. Jones. The effect of different warm-up stretch protocols on 20 meter sprint performance in trained rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res. 18(4):885-888, 2004.

17. Fowles J. R., D. G. Sale, J. D. MacDougall. Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantarflexors. J Appl Physiol. 89(3):1179-1188, 2000.

21. Knudson D., K. Bennett, R. Corn, D. Leick, C. Smith. Acute effects of stretching are not evident in the kinematics of the vertical jump. J Strength Cond Res. 15(1):98-101, 2001.

27. Marek S. M., J. T. Cramer, A. L. Fincher, et al. Acute Effects of Static and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power Output. J Athl Train. 40(2):94-103, 2005.

30. Nelson A. G., N. M. Driscoll, D. K. Landin, M. A. Young, I. C. Schexnayder. Acute effects of passive muscle stretching on sprint performance. J Sports Sci. 23(5):449-454, 2005.

31. Nelson A. G., I. K. Guillory, C. Cornwell, J. Kokkonen. Inhibition of maximal voluntary isokinetic torque production following stretching is velocity-specific. J Strength Cond Res. 15(2):241-246, 2001.

32. Power K., D. Behm, F. Cahill, M. Carroll, W. Young. An acute bout of static stretching: effects on force and jumping performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36(8):1389-1396, 2004.

34. Wallmann H. W., J. A. Mercer, J. W. McWhorter. Surface electromyographic assessment of the effect of static stretching of the gastrocnemius on vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res. 19(3):684-688, 2005.

35. Weir D. E., J. Tingley, G. C. Elder. Acute passive stretching alters the mechanical properties of human plantar flexors and the optimal angle for maximal voluntary contraction. Eur J Appl Physiol. 93(5-6):614-623, 2005.g