A single 30-s stretch is sufficient to inhibit maximal voluntary strength

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2009 Jun;80(2):257-61. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2009.10599560.


While it has been well established that an acute stretching program can inhibit maximal muscle performance, the amount of stretching needed to produce the deleterious response is unknown. Therefore this study examined the dose-response relationship between acute stretching and strength inhibition. Eighteen college students performed a one repetition maximum (1-RM) test of knee-flexion following 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 30-s bouts of hamstring stretching held at the limit of toleration. All seven dose variations were done by each subject, with each variation done on a separate day. One week separated each test, and the order of the stretch variations was balanced across the seven testing days. Stretching significantly (p < .05) reduced 1-RM after one 30-s stretch (5.4%), and continued to decrease 1-RM up to and including six 30-s stretches (12.4%). A single 30-s stretch, if held at the limit of toleration, is sufficient to cause an inhibition in a person's 1-RM. Additional bouts of stretching will further decrease the 1-RM, suggesting that multiple mechanisms may be involved in stretch-induced strength inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Young Adult