Effect of static stretching on prevention of injuries for military recruits

Mil Med. 2003 Jun;168(6):442-6.


This prospective study was designed to evaluate whether static stretching can prevent training-related injuries in Japan Ground Self-Defense Force military recruits. A total of 901 recruits between 1996 and 1998 were divided into two groups. Of which, 518 recruits were assigned to the stretching group and practiced static stretching before and after each physical training session. The control subjects (383 recruits in the nonstretching group) did not stretch statically prior to exercise. The static stretching consisted of 18 exercises. We collected injury data from medical records and assessed the incidence and the location of injury. The total injury rate was almost the same between two groups; however, the incidences of muscle/tendon injury and low back pain were significantly lower in the stretching group (p < 0.05). Static stretching decreased the incidence of muscle-related injuries but did not prevent bone or joint injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome