Static Stretching Reduces Motoneuron Excitability: The Potential Role of Neuromodulation

Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2021 Apr 1;49(2):126-132. doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000243.


Prolonged static muscle stretching transiently reduces maximal muscle force, and this force loss has a strong neural component. In this review, we discuss the evidence suggesting that stretching reduces the motoneuron's ability to amplify excitatory drive. We propose a hypothetical model in which stretching causes physiological relaxation, reducing the brainstem-derived neuromodulatory drive necessary to maximize motoneuron discharge rates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises*
  • Muscles