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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 119, Issue 9, pp 1943–1949 | Cite as

Unilateral hamstrings static stretching can impair the affected and contralateral knee extension force but improve unilateral drop jump height

  • Sarah L. Caldwell
  • Reagan L. S. Bilodeau
  • Megan J. Cox
  • Dakota Peddle
  • Tyler Cavanaugh
  • James D. Young
  • David G. BehmEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Prolonged static stretching (SS) in isolation (no dynamic warm-up) can impair muscle performance. There are conflicting reports whether impairments are present in antagonist and contralateral muscles. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of unilateral hamstrings SS on ipsilateral stretched and contralateral limbs’ strength and jump power.

Methods

The SS (four repetitions of 30-s) and control sessions involved unilateral testing of the stretched leg and contralateral leg for knee extension (KE) maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) force and electromyography (EMG), drop jump (DJ) height and contact time at 1-min post-stretching.

Results

There were significant KE MVIC force impairments for both the SS (p = 0.006, d = 0.3, − 8.1%) and contralateral (p = 0.02, d = 0.20, − 4.2%) leg. With normalized data, there was a near-significant (p = 0.1), small magnitude (d = 0.29), greater force impairment with the ipsilateral (93.0 ± 12.8% of pre-test) versus the contralateral (96.2 ± 9.1% of pre-test) KE MVIC force. DJ height significantly improved for the stretched leg (p = 0.03, d = 0.18, + 9.2%) with near-significant, improvements for the contralateral leg (p = 0.06, d = 0.22, + 12.1%). For the stretched leg, DJ contact time was significantly (p = 0.04, d = 0.18, + 3.4%) prolonged, but there was no significant change with the contralateral leg.

Conclusions

Unilateral hamstrings SS induced strength deficits in the ipsilateral and contralateral knee extension MVIC and a prolongation of the stretched leg DJ contact period. In anticipation of maximal force outputs, prolonged SS in isolation (no dynamic warm-up included) can have negative consequences on antagonist and contralateral muscle performance.

Keywords

Flexibility Strength Power Range of motion Crossover 

Abbreviations

EMG

Electromyography

MVIC

Maximal voluntary isometric contraction

PAR-Q

Physical Activity Participation Questionnaire

RMS

Root mean square

ROM

Range of motion

RPM

Revolutions per minute

SS

Static stretching

Notes

Author contribution

Data collection, analysis, interpretation and review of manuscript: SLC, RLSB, MJC, DP, TC, JDY. Supervisor, statistical analysis, interpretation, write the original version of the manuscript: DB.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest with the contents of this.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Kinetics and RecreationMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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