Dynamic stretching is not detrimental to neuromechanical and sensorimotor performance of ankle plantarflexors

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2019 Feb;29(2):200-212. doi: 10.1111/sms.13321. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


The acute effects of two dynamic stretching (DS) protocols on changes in the ankle range of motion (RoM), neuromechanical, and sensorimotor properties of the plantarflexor muscle group were examined. Eighteen participants received slow (SDS) or fast dynamic stretching (FDS) on two separate days. Outcome measures were assessed pre- and 2 minutes post-interventions, and included maximum dorsiflexion angle, maximum isometric torque at neutral ankle position, maximum concentric and eccentric torques, force matching capacity, joint position sense and medial gastrocnemius muscle and tendon strain. Possibly and likely small increases in dorsiflexion RoM were observed after SDS (mean ± 90% confidence intervals; 1.8 ± 1.2°) and FDS (2.1 ± 1.2°), respectively. Very likely moderate decreases in muscle strain after SDS (-38.0 ± 20.6%) and possibly small decrease after FDS (-13.6 ± 21.2%) were observed. SDS resulted in a likely beneficial small increase in tendon strain (25.3 ± 29.7%) and a likely beneficial moderate increase after FDS (41.4 ± 44.9%). Effects on strength were inconsistent. Possibly small effect on positional error after SDS (-27.1 ± 37.5%), but no clear effect after FDS was observed. Both DS protocols increased RoM, and this was more due to an increase in tendon elongation rather than the muscle. However, SDS showed greater improvement than FDS in both neuromechanical and sensorimotor performance, and hence, SDS can be recommended as part of warm-up in sporting contexts.

Keywords: dynamometry; muscle strain; range of motion; tendon strain; ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Torque
  • Young Adult