More Warm-Up issues with static stretching...

Here are some new reasearch findings.

Fletcher, I.M., and R. Anness. The acute effects of combined static and dynamic stretch protocols on fifty-meter sprint performance in track-and-field athletes. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(3):784–787. 2007. —The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of manipulating the static and dynamic stretch components associated with a traditional track-and-field warm-up. Eighteen experienced sprinters were randomly assigned in a repeated-measures, within-subject design study with 3 interventions: active dynamic stretch (ADS), static passive stretch combined with ADS (SADS), and static dynamic stretch combined with ADS (DADS). A standardized 800-m jogged warm-up was performed before each different stretch intervention, followed by two 50-m sprints. Results indicated that the SADS intervention yielded significantly (p 0.05) slower 50-m sprint times then either the ADS or DADS intervention. The decrease in sprint time observed after the ADS intervention compared to the DADS intervention was found to be nonsignificant (p > 0.05). The decrease in performance post–SADS intervention was attributed to a decrease in the musculotendinous unit (MTU) stiffness, possibly due to a reduction in muscle activation prior to ground contact, leading to a decrease in the MTU’s ability to store and transfer elastic energy after the use of passive static stretch techniques. The improved 50-m sprint performance associated with the ADS and DADS interventions was linked to the rehearsal of specific movement patterns, helping proprioception and preactivation, allowing a more optimum switch from eccentric to concentric muscle contraction. It was concluded that passive static stretching in a warm-up decreases sprint performance, despite being combined with dynamic stretches, when compared to a solely dynamic stretch approach.

Ogura, Y., Y. Miyahara, H. Naito, S. Katamoto, and J. Aoki. Duration of static stretching influences muscle force production in hamstring muscles. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(3):788– 792. 2007. —The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether duration of static stretching could affect the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC).Volunteer male subjects (n = 10) underwent 2 different durations of static stretching of their hamstring muscles in the dominant leg: 30 and 60 seconds. No static stretching condition was used as a control condition. Before and after each stretching trial, hamstring flexibility was measured by a sit and reach test. MVC was then measured using the maximal effort of knee flexion. The hamstring flexibility was significantly increased by 30 and 60 seconds of static stretching (control: 0.5 ± 1.1 cm; 30 seconds: 2.1 ± 1.8 cm; 60 seconds: 3.0 ± 1.6 cm); however, there was no significant difference between 30 and 60 seconds of static stretching conditions. The MVC was significantly lowered with 60 seconds of static stretching compared to the control and 30 seconds of the stretching conditions (control: 287.6 ± 24.0 N; 30 seconds: 281.8 ± 24.2 N; 60 seconds: 262.4 ± 36.2 N). However, there was no significant difference between control and 30 seconds of static stretching conditions. Therefore, it was concluded that the short duration (30 seconds) of static stretching did not have a negative effect on the muscle force production.

Vetter, R.E. Effects of six warm-up protocols on sprint and jump performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(3):819– 823. 2007. —The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 6 warm-up protocols, with and without stretches, on 2 different power maneuvers: a 30-m sprint run and a vertical countermovement jump (CJ). The 6 protocols were: (a) walk plus run (WR); (b) WR plus exercises including small jumps (EJ); © WR plus dynamic active stretch plus exercises with small jumps (DAEJ); (d) WR plus dynamic active stretch (DA); (e) WR plus static stretch plus exercises with small jumps (SSEJ); and (f) WR plus static stretch (SS). Twenty-six college-age men (n = 14) and women (n = 12) performed each of 6 randomly ordered exercise routines prior to randomly ordered sprint and vertical jump field tests; each routine and subsequent tests were performed on separate days. A 2 × 6 repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant overall linear trend (p 0.05) with a general tendency toward reduction in jump height when examined in the following analysis entry order: WR, EJ, DAEJ, DA, SSEJ, and SS. The post hoc analysis pairwise comparisons showed the WR protocol produced higher jumps than did SS (p = 0.003 0.05), and DAEJ produced higher jumps than did SS (p = 0.009 0.05). There were no significant differences among the 6 protocols on sprint run performance (p 0.05). No significant interaction occurred between gender and protocol. There were significant differences between men and women on CJ and sprint trials; as expected, in general men ran faster and jumped higher than the women did. The data indicate that a warm-up including static stretching may negatively impact jump performance, but not sprint time.

As CF has pointed out before, a few of the keys to making the static portion effective for you is limiting both the duration and the magnitude of the stretch in the warm-up.

We usually limited the time of the holds to 15-20(unless especially tight/sore in a specific area) seconds in the warm-ups and per Charlie, only atttempted to achieve normal ROMs in the w-u-reserving the attempt to improve ROMs unitl post training/competition.

In soccer practices we do something that may be called 'intermittent stretching’™. Nothing fancy, just we limit the duration of the stretches (10-15sec hold, players are too ‘anxious’ to hold them longer anyway) interspread with more dynamic work.
For example:
2 laps jog
stretch a little
Dynamic streches
stretch a little
Technique work (juggling, passing, 5v2, tag games…)
stretch a little

Altought I am more leaned toward avoiding statical stretching in warm-up (expect: for hip flexors and rotators prior dynamic work; muscles that are tight, but if this is often the case then whole training should be re-avaluated), what I noticed is that players are acustomed to stretch, and if they don’t stretch there may be some ‘grunting’ and ‘cursing’ and ‘bithing’ on me due psychological reasons. On a side note, a lot of those ‘to stretch or not to strech’ reasearch papers NEGLECT the psychological fators, that may have greater influence on the performance than 2% reduction in explosive power, IMHO!
On the other hand I have ‘issues’ with poor stretching postures like flexed spine, hyperextended spine, rotated spine, screwed knees etc. As I already mentioned I love to stretch hip flexors and hip external rotators (and maybe adductors) prior dynamic work. I avoid stretching hams and rectus femoris (two headed muscles), but players usually stretch them (with poor posture in most of the cases).
So, to solve this puzzle, I introduced ‘intermitent’ streching which allows players to fullfill their ‘psychological beliefs’ (like wearing inverted socks, or warming up on the same corner… wich we never ‘correct’) while minimizing negative effects on explosive force and power with limiting strech hold duration and stretching time.

That (i.e. what is normally done by soccer players) is what I call “useless stretching” ™.

Years after years they don’t improve flexibility or mobility, actually on top of that they barely improve on just any performance parameter, on average.

The politic of small changes is not having an impact on soccer culture, it’s time for the educated S&C coaches to work more radically.

Either that or just leave the space to reserchers to tell what is happening on the field, we’d be useless.

what about active isolated stretching (AI) ?

holding stretches for 2 sec around 8 times…


I agree 200% with you… ‘useless stretching’ ™ LOL.
There is lot of crap going on in soccer circles, and if they keep what they are doing so far they will get results they’ve been getting so far (read: stagnation and injuries). I am more leaned toward radical approach to changes, but then you get another coaches who insists on doing something (old) and they screw your approach.

As for AIS, I don’t see it as ‘ground breaking’ and it is hard to implement it into team practices. Stretch at the end, warm up at the beggining. Stretching at the end, be it AIS, PNF or #"$% I don’t care that much.

I use AIS with three teams out of five that I coach.

Results and the club/coach full trust bring the players following and more results.

I like AIS, very useful

For what?
8x2secs = 16sec of stretching. I would rather use 20sec holds. Research have showed that Total duration of stretch is the most important variable, be it 2x15, 3x10, or 15x2…
I have some video of Verstegen on AIS. I’ll take a look altough I am already familiar with the approach (activelly contract antagonist while stretching agonist with little help from outside force [rope, hands], for 2 secs, relax, return the limb to starting position and repeat).
It seems interesting and I’ll give it a try. Any good resource? I now use ‘Stretch to win’ approach (‘waveing’ with breath)

My soccer players get more flexible AND mobile throughout the year (no need to wait the end of the season actually).

The proof is in the pudding (again).

I once saw one of my players doing long holds against the wall before practice. I asked him how long he had been doing them for, he answered two seasons. I then proceeded to ask him to try a sit and reach and was 2" away from his toe tips. I did some manipulation on his facial muscle and after that he was suddenly able to go 1" over his toe tips. I told him to never do long holds before practice ever again.

Question tradition, believe intuition.

One more experience:

I don’t use specific proprioceptive exercises. Out of 8 teams I have coached (+ 4 in volleyball) I have had only one ankle problem.

Do what’s useful, not EVERYTHING you know.

Research have showed that Total duration of stretch is the most important variable, be it 2x15, 3x10, or 15x2…

If that was true in real world application then soccer players would be the most flexible of all athletes, the reality is just the opposite.

So, you’re saying you slapped him around a bit to increase his motivation? :smiley:

I think an unmotivated athlete should stay home, but someone who stays against the wall for several minutes in order to strecth is certainly motivated (just doing the wrong thing).

I did some osteopathic manouvers.

Do you work in team settings or with individual athletes? How much of them are at practices? Do you have your ‘training time’ or you must ‘sneak’ into soccer practice?

I ‘promote’ everything you said, but only when I am able to work un-interrupted and with small groups (usually the bench guys on game-match day). When there is 30 players on practice, it is little bit harder…

As for increasing flexibility… I am not that much leaned toward that goal. Do full ROM strength training (RDLs, Bulgarians) mobilize T-spine, ankles, hips (rotators, flexors) and you have it. Altought positive Thomas test would be a sign of limited flexibility…

Ostheopatic manouver? Rolling the foot on a tennis ball (ala M. Boyle?) or something else? :slight_smile:

I am really open to hear your philosophy regarding soccer and other team games preparation. Have you read my ‘manual’ regarding soccer physical preparation? If not, I would be glad to send it to ya’?

Have you read ‘Stretch to Win’ book? What do you recomend on this topic? thanks

With team sports I work with the whole teams,
from 30 players in the soccer preparation period to 12 players with volleyball.

I have my training time; professionally mind setted teams will not have their S&C coach “sneak” into practice. If you have to, you must be more clear when you bargain with the club. If they want an amateur service let them get someonelse.

I work on mobility and flexibility (love the Ts), a soccer player won’t gain mobility from strength training because is normally too restricted in the first place to do full ROM weighted exercises for the lower body.

Osteopathic… something else (no tennis ball in osteopathy).

I have not read neither “stretch to win” nor your manual.

If you can PM me a link to download your maual I will go thru it (no time to actually read anything untill mid October).

When I mentioned that activation of antagonists reduce activation (and stiffness) of agonists in one of mine short articles, Jacob Gudiol sent me the following letter:

This same mechanism is utilized in AIS stetches. It seems that this ‘autogenic/reciprocal inhibition’ is actually an increase in ‘pain tolerance’ of strethced muscle when antagonist is contracted.

Sports Med. 2006;36(11):929-39.Links
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching : mechanisms and clinical implications.
Sharman MJ, Cresswell AG, Riek S.

School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. [email][/email]

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques are commonly used in the athletic and clinical environments to enhance both active and passive range of motion (ROM) with a view to optimising motor performance and rehabilitation. PNF stretching is positioned in the literature as the most effective stretching technique when the aim is to increase ROM, particularly in respect to short-term changes in ROM. With due consideration of the heterogeneity across the applied PNF stretching research, a summary of the findings suggests that an 'active' PNF stretching technique achieves the greatest gains in ROM, e.g. utilising a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle to place the target muscle on stretch, followed by a static contraction of the target muscle. The inclusion of a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle appears to have the greatest impact on enhancing ROM. When including a static contraction of the target muscle, this needs to be held for approximately 3 seconds at no more than 20% of a maximum voluntary contraction. The greatest changes in ROM generally occur after the first repetition and in order to achieve more lasting changes in ROM, PNF stretching needs to be performed once or twice per week. The superior changes in ROM that PNF stretching often produces compared with other stretching techniques has traditionally been attributed to autogenic and/or reciprocal inhibition, although the literature does not support this hypothesis. Instead, and in the absence of a biomechanical explanation, the contemporary view proposes that PNF stretching influences the point at which stretch is perceived or tolerated. The mechanism(s) underpinning the change in stretch perception or tolerance are not known, although pain modulation has been suggested.

I am familiar that this is nitpicking, but… At least this supports the use of antagonist contraction… wheather the mechansm is reciprocal inhibition or pain/stretch tolerance threshold increase.

And here is the link to mentioned article on stretching

ive seen alot of over stretch, easy on it…


What comes to mind here is how a certain fellow named Kopernicus had the audacity to suggest that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe:

When the scientific method needs to present results in terms of psychological factors…what you really have is an education issue. And while Charlie may be right that there is a way to do stretching so as not to pay a performance penalty, there seems little if any reason to do it in the first place. If it doesn’t reduce the risk of injury and it will make you weaker if not outright slower–what you need to run fast is not flexibility but stiffness–what IS the reason to do it?

Given that the risk-reward seems to be negative for static stretching, I have indeed gone to an all-dynamic warmup (this version is for a race or when plyos are not being used):

3-6 progressively faster 100m strides (What Clyde Hart calls “ins-and-outs”) with 100m walk
Drills (A’s B-skip’s, etc., 20-30m per drill)
1X60m buildup
3 maximal voluntary contraction jumps (from Gullich & Schmidtbleicher) 30 sec recovery

The emphasis is on progressively greater ROM and RFD. This is fairly similiar to what Ato Boldon used, but no stretching at all.

Thanks for reply.

I love to use for warm-up:
General Portion

  1. Joint Roations (head, shoudlers, elbows, wrist, hips, knees, ankles)
  2. Gentle ‘mobilization’ (ankle, hip rotators/flexors, scorpions) (going trough the movement not holding)
  3. Activation & BW exercises (YT for the shoulder [retraction]; external rotators, bridge, side leg raises, straigth leg raises, scap push-ups, split squats, push-ups, SL DL, sumo, wide-outs…)

Specific Portion

  1. Dynamic movement on 10-20m distance, jog back (arm swings, leg swings, lunges, shuffles, A&B skips, buttkicks, karioka…)
  2. Progressive accelerations for 30-40m (4-6x with walk back, marching in place, STRETCHING but not to stretch but rather test the ROM and muscles), 80,85,90,95% effort


  1. Barbell or plate complexes (curl+press, overhead squat, RDL, Row, sumo)


  1. Dynamic movement on 10-20m distance, jog back (arm swings, leg swings, lunges, shuffles, A&B skips, buttkicks, karioka…) — add some duels, change of direction, more soccer specific stuff at the end
  2. Technique work or tag games

In soccer practices I usually have time only for specific portion (1&2) and I make gentle progression in dynamic movements for 7-12mins in most cases.

Svidja mi se tvoja slika, Duxx. Tesla je bio genije, i steta da na zapadu ne znaju bas za njega.

In regards to the topic, I think its counter-intuitive to static stretch before training. It makes sense to go for a jog or just something to get the blood flowing, like ride a bike, go for a brisk walk, etc.

I read in one of Lance Armstrong’s books that once he turned up to a competition late or some shit, so he didn’t have time to warm up properly. What he did was sit in his car for a while with the heating turned up high until he felt warm enough to compete! Haha. Whatever gets the job done, I suppose…

haha, just move to Queensland… all you got to do is think about training and you feel warmed up!!!
No need for 30min warm ups here, you’ll be stuffed.