Sports Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 213–224 | Cite as

The Effects of Stretching on Strength Performance

  • Ercole C. Rubini
  • André L. L. Costa
  • Paulo S. C. GomesEmail author
Review Article


Strength and flexibility are common components of exercise programmes; however, it is not clear how best to include both of these elements in a single training programme. It is common practice among athletes, coaches and recreational exercisers to perform a stretching routine before a strength training session. Stretching exercises are regularly recommended, even in many textbooks, with the claimed purpose of preventing injury and muscle soreness, or even enhancing performance. However, as highlighted in recent review articles, this recommendation lacks scientific evidence. Thus, the purpose of the present review is to determine the acute and chronic effects of stretching on strength performance, together with the underlying mechanisms. Although most studies have found acute decreases in strength following stretching, and that such decreases seem to be more prominent the longer the stretching protocol, the number of exercises and sets, and the duration of each set have, in general, exceeded the ranges normally recommended in the literature. Consequently, the duration of the stimuli were excessively long compared with common practice, thus making evident the need for further studies. In addition, when recommending flexibility exercises, one should consider other underlying issues, such as the safety of the participants, possible increases in injury risks and the unnecessary time expenditure. Many mechanisms underlying stretching exercises still demand investigation so that links between the observed effects, their causes and the consequences may be constructed.


Maximum Voluntary Contraction Peak Torque Plantar Flexor Passive Tension Strength Performance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPQ), Ministry of Education, Brazil, for their financial support to Ercole C Rubini. The authors would also like to thank Dr Marta Inez Rodrigues Pereira for the preparation of the English version of the manuscript and Dr Ana Maria Miragaya for reviewing the English version. The authors have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Ercole C. Rubini
    • 1
    • 2
  • André L. L. Costa
    • 2
  • Paulo S. C. Gomes
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Universidade Estácio de SáRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory Crossbridges and Department of Physical Education from Universidade Gama FilhoCenter for Interdisciplinary Research in HealthRio de JaneiroBrazil

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