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TIme Course of The Effects of Static Stretching on Cycling Economy

PainSci » bibliography » Wolfe et al 2011
updated
Tags: treatment, self-treatment, exercise, stretch, controversy, muscle, debunkery

One article on PainSci cites Wolfe 2011: Quite a Stretch

PainSci notes on Wolfe 2011:

The baseline performance (V02 max) of ten elite endurance cyclists was checked on three different occasions. On the second and third occasions, some of them did static stretching first (five stretches, each one held for 30 seconds four times in a row). At the five-minute mark in their workouts, their submaximal VO2 spiked a bit. That sounds good to the untrained ear, but it’s actually a bad thing, and so: “Coaches and highly trained endurance cyclists should exclude static stretching immediately prior to moderate intensity cycling as it reduces acute cycling economy.”

See Alex Hutchinson’s analysis on Sweat Science.com

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.

Stretching has been implemented as part of the warm-up before physical events and widely thought to promote increased sport performance and decreased injury risk. However, recent research has concluded that static stretching prior to many exercises inhibits acute power, strength and sprinting performance. There is little research examining the time-course of these effects on moderate intensity cycling. The purpose of this study was to examine the time-course of static stretching on cycling economy. Subjects consisted of 5 men and 5 women highly trained endurance cyclists. The first of three visits was baseline testing of their cycling VO2 max. The second and third visits were either stretching or no stretching prior to a 30-minute stationary ride at 65\% of their VO2 max. The stretching condition consisted of four, 30-second repetitions of five stretches with an average total stretching time of 16 minutes. VO2 demonstrated a significant condition by time interaction with the 5-minute time point being significantly less in the non-stretching condition (32.66 ± 5.35 ml/kg/min) than stretching (34.39 ± 5.39 ml/kg/min). No other time points were different. Our results demonstrate that static stretching yielded an acute increase in submaximal VO2, therefore, coaches and highly trained endurance cyclists should exclude static stretching immediately prior to moderate intensity cycling as it reduces acute cycling economy.

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