Gremion, G. (2005). Is stretching for sports performance still useful? A review of the literature. Revue Medicale de la Suisse, 1(28), 1830-1834.

Since 1980, it has been accepted that increasing flexibility of a muscle-tendon unit allows a better performance and decreases sports injuries. Stretching is regularly included in warm-up and in cooling-down. However, on these matters the literature is equivocal. Since 1990, evidence suggesting that stretching not only does not prevent injuries, but can also decrease the level of performance has increased. Some part of these contradictions can be explained by the various sports activities.

Sports requiring increased flexibility, such as gymnastics, dancing, and diving, must employ pre-exercise stretching to optimize the level of performance. On the other hand, for sports with slow stretch-shortening cycle demands, such as distance running, swimming, and cycling, there are no scientific data showing a positive effect of stretching on performance or injuries.

Implication. Stretching is necessary for sports that require extreme ranges of movement, most notably those activities that require judgments of artistry (e.g., gymnastic, dance, synchronized swimming).

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