Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review
One article on PainSci cites Behm 2016: Quite a Stretch
PainSci notes on Behm 2016:
This wide-ranging review concluded that “studies indicate a 54% risk reduction in acute muscle injuries associated with stretching,” which is at odds even with previous reviews by some of the same key authors. For instance, while McHugh et al were optimistic in 2010, they based their optimism on speculation and characterized the evidence as limited, which was just six years prior, with almost no relevant new evidence in the interim. Such unjustified optimism undermines my confidence in the paper significantly.
The authors recommend: “stretching within a warm-up that includes additional poststretching dynamic activity is recommended for reducing muscle injuries and increasing joint ROM with inconsequential effects on subsequent athletic 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.
Recently, there has been a shift from static stretching (SS) or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching within a warm-up to a greater emphasis on dynamic stretching (DS). The objective of this review was to compare the effects of SS, DS, and PNF on performance, range of motion (ROM), and injury prevention. The data indicated that SS- (-3.7%), DS- (+1.3%), and PNF- (-4.4%) induced performance changes were small to moderate with testing performed immediately after stretching, possibly because of reduced muscle activation after SS and PNF. A dose-response relationship illustrated greater performance deficits with ≥60 s (-4.6%) than with <60 s (-1.1%) SS per muscle group. Conversely, SS demonstrated a moderate (2.2%) performance benefit at longer muscle lengths. Testing was performed on average 3-5 min after stretching, and most studies did not include poststretching dynamic activities; when these activities were included, no clear performance effect was observed. DS produced small-to-moderate performance improvements when completed within minutes of physical activity. SS and PNF stretching had no clear effect on all-cause or overuse injuries; no data are available for DS. All forms of training induced ROM improvements, typically lasting <30 min. Changes may result from acute reductions in muscle and tendon stiffness or from neural adaptations causing an improved stretch tolerance. Considering the small-to-moderate changes immediately after stretching and the study limitations, stretching within a warm-up that includes additional poststretching dynamic activity is recommended for reducing muscle injuries and increasing joint ROM with inconsequential effects on subsequent athletic performance.
- “Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion,” Behm et al, European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2016.
- “To stretch or not to stretch: the role of stretching in injury prevention and performance,” McHugh et al, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2010.
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:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations? Mirza 2012 J Neurosci.