Behm, D. G., Button, D. C., & Butt, J. C. (2001). Factors affecting force loss with prolonged stretching. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 26, 262-272.

This study evaluated the phenomenon of force loss after prolonged static and passive stretching. Ss (N = 12) were tested before and 5-10 minutes after 20 minutes of static or passive stretching of the quadriceps. Six of the twelve Ss also performed a no-stretching (control) condition.

Following stretching, maximal voluntary contraction force decreased by 12%, while muscle activation increased by 2.8% and inactivation increased by 20.2%. It was suggested that strength loss after stretching is affected more by muscle inactivation than changes in muscle elasticity.

Implication. Too much stretching decreases force production. The value of stretching before athletic performances, particularly those involving strength or the production of large forces, should be questioned.

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