Nelson, A. G., & Kokkonen, J. (2001). Acute ballistic muscle stretching inhibits maximal strength performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72, 415-419.

It is currently believed by many coaches that increasing flexibility before performing will promote better performances and reduce the incidence of injury. That belief needs to be questioned in light of recent evidence.

College students (M = 11; F = 11) performed a 1-RM prone-knee flexion and 15 minutes later, a 1-RM seated knee extension on two successive days. One day's treatment was 10 minutes of quiet sitting, while the other was 20 minutes of active and passive ballistic stretching. Each S performed a sit-and-reach test before and after each treatment, the latter being performed before the two strength tests.

Stretching significantly improved the sit-and-reach test by 9%. There was no significant change in the quiet-sitting condition. However, stretching significantly reduced strength performance in both exercises when compared to the quiet-sitting condition.

Implication. Too much stretching before a strength performance can reduce that performance to a degree that is significantly more than doing no stretching at all.

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