For years pre-exercise stretching was done holding tissue in a static position before exercise or competition. Research over recent years has shown that static stretching reduces strength, speed, and power if performed immediately before exercise. An article in Journal of Movement Studies by Cornwell et al states that static stretching can have a negative impact on activities requiring maximal effort or maximal muscle output. They found that static stretching resulted in decreased height for maximum vertical jump and that activities that require a high power output will benefit from more of an active and dynamic warm up. Fletcher and Jones discussed in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that they found rugby players who performed passive static stretch and active static stretch ran a 20-m sprint slower than when the same players performed active dynamic stretching. There have been many studies showing these results but not all studies report the negative outcomes. At this point in medical and fitness science we recommend dynamic warm ups prior to play and static stretching after play for maximum benefit and preventive effects.

Patrick Weaver DPT

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