Science

Static vs. dynamic stretching

Static versus dynamic stretching is a very discussed topic. How you should stretch and what you need to observe is answered in this blog post. 

During static stretching, the stretching position is slowly performed and maintained. By slowly executing the position, muscle stretching reflexes are reduced as much as possible. Static stretching can be performed both actively and passively.

With dynamic stretching, the stretching position is alternately executed and loosened. Note that the movements are slow, controlled and with a relatively small movement amplitude. Dynamic stretching can also be performed both actively and passively.

What effects does static or dynamic stretching have on my body and my performance?

A study by Barbosa et al., (2020) has shown that static stretching results in a reduction of the eccentric peak torque. In addition, a reduced reached distance on the triple hop test was found. 

Behm et al. (2016) investigated the difference between short (< 60 seconds) and long (> 60 seconds) static stretching. They found that short static stretching before a training can reduce the risk of injury during high-intensity exercise. In addition, there is no impairment of neuromuscular activation. However, if static stretching is performed for more than 60 seconds, the situation is quite different: There is a deterioration in neuronal activation and, as a result, performance is also impaired. 

In the study by Barbosa et al., (2020) dynamic stretching performed significantly better. There was a positive effect on the range of motion and no negative influence on strength and performance was found. 

In summary, caution should be taken prescribing static stretching in training when the purpose is to improve performance. Short-duration static stretching should be included during warm-up before recreational sports activities to minimize the risk of injury. 

Otherwise, dynamic stretching can always be used as a preparation for a load or as a cool-down after a workout. 

However, there are contraindications: Avoid stretching prior to high intensity sessions to prevent damages. Caution is also advised in case of sore muscles.

Sources:

  1. Barbosa, G. M., Trajano, G. S., Dantas, G. A., Silva, B. R., & Vieira, W. H. B. (2020). Chronic Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Hamstrings Eccentric Strength and Functional Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 34(7), 2031-2039
  2. Behm, D. G., Blazevich, A. J., Kay, A. D., & McHugh, M. (2016). Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 41(1), 1-11.
  3. Chaabene, H., Behm, D. G., Negra, Y., & Granacher, U. (2019). Acute effects of static stretching on muscle strength and power: An attempt to clarify previous caveats. Frontiers in Physiology, 10, 1468.
  4. Opplert, J., & Babault, N. (2018). Acute effects of dynamic stretching on muscle flexibility and performance: an analysis of the current literature. Sports Medicine, 48(2), 299-325.

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