Henry, K., Nichols, D., Ford, S & Ben-Ezra, V. (2012). The effects of three different stretching routines on running economy in female distance runners. Presentation 992 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study determined the effects of three different stretching routines on running economy (VO2), lactate, and stride length in female distance runners (N = 12). Ss completed five testing sessions. A VO2peak test was administered in the first session. Sessions 2 through 5 were administered during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. The sessions began with a 10-minute warm-up on a treadmill at a self-selected speed, flexibility measures (sit and reach, ankle dorsiflexion), stretching routine, reassessment of flexibility measures, and a 10-minute run at 80% VO2peak. Stride mechanics were assessed during the final 10-minute run and blood lactate concentration was sampled at its completion. Stretching routines were randomly assigned and included: 1) a control (CON) consisting of a 10-minute sit; 2) active isolated stretching (AIS) involving two sets of 30-seconds of five stretches that were held for 1-2 seconds and repeated for the 30-second period; 3) static stretching (SS) involving two sets of 30 seconds of five stretches that were held for the 30 seconds; and 4) dynamic flexibility (DF) involving a series of 10 running specific drills repeated for two sets of 30 seconds. Differences in VO2, lactate, and stride length for each condition were analyzed.

The stretching routines did not have a significant effect on VO2, lactate, or stride length.

Implication. Stretching prior to submaximal running does not alter running performance in females.

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