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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Lowery 2014.

Effects of static stretching on 1-mile uphill run performance

Lowery RP, Joy JM, Brown LE, Oliveira de Souza E, Wistocki DR, Davis GS, Naimo MA, Zito GA, Wilson JM. Effects of static stretching on 1-mile uphill run performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):161–7. PubMed #23588487.
Tags: stretch, running, harms, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, muscle, pain problems

PainSci summary of Lowery 2014?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

There’s more to say about this one, and Alex Hutchinson did, but here’s the nasty nugget: pre-run stretching caused an eight percent drop in performance in a one-mile uphill run. Yikes!

original abstract

It is previously demonstrated that static stretching was associated with a decrease in running economy and distance run during a 30-minute time trial in trained runners. Recently, the detrimental effects of static stretching on economy were found to be limited to the first few minutes of an endurance bout. However, economy remains to be studied for its direct effects on performance during shorter endurance events. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of static stretching on 1-mile uphill run performance, electromyography (EMG), ground contact time (GCT), and flexibility. Ten trained male distance runners aged 24 ± 5 years with an average VO2max of 64.9 ± 6.5 mL·kg-1·min-1 were recruited. Subjects reported to the laboratory on 3 separate days interspersed by 72 hours. On day 1, anthropometrics and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max were determined on a motor-driven treadmill. On days 2 and 3, subjects performed a 5-minute treadmill warm-up and either performed a series of 6 lower-body stretches for three 30-second repetitions or sat still for 10 minutes. Time to complete a 1-mile run under stretching and nonstretching conditions took place in randomized order. For the performance run, subjects were instructed to run as fast as possible at a set incline of 5% until a distance of 1 mile was completed. Flexibility from the sit and reach test, EMG, GCT, and performance, determined by time to complete the 1-mile run, were recorded after each condition. Time to complete the run was significantly less (6:51 ± 0:28 minutes) in the nonstretching condition as compared with the stretching condition (7:04 ± 0:32 minutes). A significant condition-by-time interaction for muscle activation existed, with no change in the nonstretching condition (pre 91.3 ± 11.6 mV to post 92.2 ± 12.9 mV) but increased in the stretching condition (pre 91.0 ± 11.6 mV to post 105.3 ± 12.9 mV). A significant condition-by-time interaction for GCT was also present, with no changes in the nonstretching condition (pre 211.4 ± 20.8 ms to post 212.5 ± 21.7 ms) but increased in the stretching trial (pre 210.7 ± 19.6 ms to post 237.21 ± 22.4 ms). A significant condition-by-time interaction for flexibility was found, which was increased in the stretching condition (pre 33.1 ± 2 to post 38.8 ± 2) but unchanged in the nonstretching condition (pre 33.5 ± 2 to post 35.2 ± 2). Study findings indicate that static stretching decreases performance in short endurance bouts (∼8%) while increasing GCT and muscle activation. Coaches and athletes may be at risk for decreased performance after a static stretching bout. Therefore, static stretching should be avoided before a short endurance bout.

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