Edwards, D. A., Huntsman, E., Marmesh, L., & Signorile, J. A. (2007). The effect of selective stretching of the agonist and antagonist muscles on power output. ACSM Annual Meeting New Orleans, Presentation Number, 1813.

This study examined the effects of selective stretching of the quadriceps, hamstring, or both muscle groups on performance during leg extension. College athletes (M = 8; F = 7) and recreationally active individuals were randomly assigned different active-assisted stretching treatments (no-stretching, agonist-only, antagonist-only, and agonist-antagonist) on four different days. Stretches were held for 45s for four repetitions. Performance tests included isokinetic knee extensions at 1.05, 3.14, and 5.24 rad/s to assess strength and power and vertical jump (measure of explosive power).

Significant differences in peak torque (PT) were found between the agonist-antagonist and the three other conditions. No significant differences in isokinetic average power were detected among stretching protocols at 1.05 rad/s. Significant differences occurred at 3.14 rad/s between the no-stretching and agonist-antagonist conditions and the no-stretching and agonist-only conditions. At 5.24 rad/s, differences were found between the no-stretching and agonist-antagonist conditions, the no-stretching and agonist-only conditions, and the antagonist-only and agonist-antagonist conditions. There were no differences in vertical jump power among the four conditions.

Implication. Acute stretching of the agonist or both the agonist and antagonist groups negatively affects power during isokinetic leg extensions, while stretching the antagonist muscles alone has no adverse effect. Vertical jump power is not affected by stretching.

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