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While looking for research on a slightly different subject, I came across this study, which shows a fairly significant amount of improvement in untrained individuals engaging in a chronic (long term) stretching program.

STR had significant average improvements (P < 0.05) for flexibility (18.1%), standing long jump (2.3%), vertical jump (6.7%), 20-m sprint (1.3%), knee flexion 1RM (15.3%), knee extension 1RM (32.4%), knee flexion endurance (30.4%) and knee extension endurance (28.5%). The control group showed no improvement.

However, it can be argued that for an untrained individual, any kind of muscle stress (Which stretching is), would produce improvements. I was unable to find any studies looking at performance improvements in already trained individuals. There are many that study the effects of acute (short term) static and PNF stretching before performance (Which has been shown to negatively affect power output), however.

Is there a study or other evidence that a long term stretching program provides performance benefits in a trained individual?

  • Just realized you posted this I was referencing this as if you just edited it +1 btw love the topic. It's nice seeing a post that isn't about a 6-pack once in a while... – Mike-DHSc Dec 5 '17 at 23:31
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It seems inherently strange that stretching may offer no proven benefit.

Unless something has drastically changed since PT school, the research I've seen and what the professional consensuses seems to be support is mixed.


  • One big issue in PT performance based studies has always been sample size. So that alone make's it difficult to generalize any findings.

  • As you we're referencing above, It makes sense that PNF could temporarily alter the muscle-length relationship, however it seems unlikely to be enough to have any real effect on performance.

  • Possibly chronic pre-performance stretching could have some effect if the muscle lengthens above the optimal length-tension relationship (so obviously less overlapping cross bridges, decreased power).

  • However I do agree with you John but I could see issues being more-so from the contacting muscle, not muscle being stretched as the researches seemed to propose.

  • I can remember how tiring PNF stretching was with some of the techniques (contract-relax, hold-relax both can be surprisingly tiring as it's done in sets of ~30 secs). I could see this altering P-Cr or Glycogen levels which would have an obvious link to performance.

  • Anyway here's some related research:


PNF Studies


  • This research seems to be a complete joke. Imagine a gymnast or a martial artist not stretching. – VSO Dec 6 '17 at 19:31
  • strengthandconditioningresearch.com/2013/11/18/stretching NIH is new to the whole research game I've heard ;) ...... Honestly research is all over the place regarding stretching protocols. However, refuting 6 studies with some kind of recommendation or at least an opposing study supporting what you're saying would be useful..... – Mike-DHSc Dec 12 '17 at 20:39

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