PainScience.com • Good advice for aches, pains & injuries

Pre-run stretch reduces explosive muscle contraction

updated

Tags: stretch, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle

One article on PainSci cites Damasceno 2014: 5 Main Reasons Athletes Stretch… All Flawed

PainSci notes on Damasceno 2014:

This test found that a nice pre-run stretch causes “a reduced capacity of the skeletal muscle to produce explosive force,” a conclusion that reproduces and builds on similar evidence. As Alex Hutchinson put it for Runner’s World, “I can’t see anything good about something that makes me go slower but feel like I’m trying harder.” Yeah, I’m with Alex: this wasn’t a huge negative effect, but absolutely in the wrong direction. I note with amazement the devotion to a popular warm-up exercise that not only doesn’t help, but actually dings performance.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

PURPOSE: Previous studies report that static stretching (SS) impairs running economy. Assuming that pacing strategy relies on rate of energy use, this study aimed to determine whether SS would modify pacing strategy and performance in a 3-km running time-trial.

METHODS: Eleven recreational distance runners performed a) a constant-speed running test without previous SS and a maximal incremental treadmill test; b) an anthropometric assessment and a constant-speed running test with previous SS; c) a 3-km time-trial familiarization on an outdoor 400-m track; d and e) two 3-km time-trials, one with SS (experimental situation) and another without (control situation) previous static stretching. The order of the sessions d and e were randomized in a counterbalanced fashion. Sit-and-reach and drop jump tests were performed before the 3-km running time-trial in the control situation and before and after stretching exercises in the SS. Running economy, stride parameters, and electromyographic activity (EMG) of vastus medialis (VM), biceps femoris (BF) and gastrocnemius medialis (GA) were measured during the constant-speed tests.

RESULTS: The overall running time did not change with condition (SS 11:35±00:31 s; control 11:28±00:41 s, p = 0.304), but the first 100 m was completed at a significantly lower velocity after SS. Surprisingly, SS did not modify the running economy, but the iEMG for the BF (+22.6%, p = 0.031), stride duration (+2.1%, p = 0.053) and range of motion (+11.1%, p = 0.0001) were significantly modified. Drop jump height decreased following SS (-9.2%, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Static stretch impaired neuromuscular function, resulting in a slow start during a 3-km running time-trial, thus demonstrating the fundamental role of the neuromuscular system in the self-selected speed during the initial phase of the race.

related content

Specifically regarding Damasceno 2014:

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: