Kokkonen, J., Nelson, A. G., Eldredge, C., & Winchester, J. B. (2007). Chronic static stretching improves exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39, 1825-1831.

This study investigated the influence of static stretching exercises on leg flexibility, strength, explosive sprint, and jumping performances. Volunteer Ss were divided into a stretching group (M = 8; F = 11) that had activity restricted to 40 minutes of stretching three days per week for 10 weeks. The static stretching routine stretched all the major muscle groups in the lower extremities. A control group (M = 8; F = 11) did not participate in any kind of regular exercise routine. Ss were measured before and after for flexibility, power (20-m sprint, standing long jump, vertical jump), strength (knee flexion and knee extension at 1 RM), and strength endurance (number of repetitions at 60% of 1 RM for both knee flexion and knee extension).

Stretching produced significant average improvements for flexibility (18.1%), standing long jump (2.3%), vertical jump (6.7%), 20-m sprint (1.3%), knee flexion 1RM (15.3%), knee extension 1 RM (32.4%), knee flexion endurance (30.4%), and knee extension endurance (28.5%). The control group showed no improvement.

Implication. In a non-athletic volunteer group, concerted static stretching exercises improve specific strength and power exercise performances. Stretching of this nature could serve as a valuable adjunct to traditional fitness programs.

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