Acute effects of stretching on the performance of athletes

The other day, spending time in front of the computer, I found an interesting topic on the Internet related to static stretching exercise before exercise.

We all know that it takes a good deal at all, as well as in training. In any case, article forced me off to brush some basis, but also to contemplate a little about their methods and selecting exercises to stretch, and in which part of the training applies to them. When talking about the part of the training primarily mean the suitability exercises in preparatory part of training, during rest intervals and at the end of training. What are the “healthy” limits when applying stretching exercises and flexibility training in sports, especially contact sports? The dates do not interfere stretching exercises with targeted training for the development of flexibility. There is a connection between these two terms, but there is a difference, predominantly in the manipulation of the components of training.

Training of flexibility we want to exert influence on increasing flexibility and range of motion in the joint bodies. But here I am talking about stretching exercises and their application in the opening-preparatory part of training, but also at its end, and that it would be advisable methods of stretching apply depending on the part of training. Before I “scrape” deeper into this topic, I would like to repeat what is flexibility and how familiar we are with it.

Flexibility is the body ability to perform movements with large amplitude. The most common definition of flexibility is the maximum range of motion in certain parts of the hinge body systems.


Flexibility athlete


Types of stretching:

  1. Static stretching – stretching to the farthest point and holding that position
  2. Dynamic stretching – the maximum amplitude of motion athlete repeatedly achieves in dynamic mode
  3. Passive stretching – stretching is done with no contribution and with the help of a stretching partner or other external force
  4. Active stretching – hold a stretching position with no assistance other than own muscle strength
  5. Local stretching – stretching in just one body part
  6. Global stretching – stretching achieved within numerous body parts
  7. PNF stretching – stretching that increases static-passive flexibility, acronym for proprioceptive Neuromuscular facilitation. Briefly, the method is performed after the isometric contraction of muscles which retains several seconds, subsequent to this stage is stretching of muscle in particular.



We are aware that flexibility has a big role in combat sports but to what extent?

In taekwondo, for example, present frequent kicks at head height, which means that the amplitude of the strokes is very large, and it requires some flexibility. On the other hand, we need to turn to the importance of the necessary stability of the hinge system. Otherwise, there is a high possibility of injury. We, therefore, must connect some flexibility with the stability of the joints. It is here that we need to find a suitable deal! In taekwondo training, there is a steady rule that after the introductory part of the training and warm-up, followed by stretching exercises, usually a static character. For this type of stretching, we can find numerous topics on the internet and get more detailed insight into the subject. Various articles mention the acute adverse effects of static stretching on the ability to generate maximum and explosive power. The focus was on the effects after application of static stretching exercises and how to manifest onto maximum power, and to perform precise explosive movement structures. Especially in Tae-Kwon-Do explosive strength is crucial, whether recreational performance or competitive activities. It is known that too much flexibility (hyper flexibility), especially in contact sports, is not desirable. Muscle-tendon system with some flexibility must ensure adequate stability of the joints. This does not mean that we should avoid stretching exercises, but should apply the appropriate type of stretching, depending on the part of the training, as well as needs of our athletes.




It is recommended to implement dynamic stretching exercises from smaller to larger amplitudes, which are similar in structure and very similar to movements that will follow in the central part of the training session. Static stretching can be used as an addition to the preparation of the training (if required by the needs of athletes), and at the end of training when exercise should be the most common global character with the aim of stabilizing kinetic chain and accelerating the recovery process. We should not stay away from new knowledge, and coaches should take that into consideration and see if they have a meaning and application in practice, or in the training system.

Also, every coach, depending on the feedback of their athletes should determine which stretch in which part of the training to be the best for his athletes. This same principle applies not only to the selection of stretching exercises, but it can be applied to the entire system of training and long-term preparation of athletes.