Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline December 2014




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Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline

December 2014

Volume 17 Number 6










J
Editor-in-Chief

Tommy Boone, PhD, MBA



Review Board

Todd Astorino, PhD

Julien Baker, PhD

Steve Brock, PhD

Lance Dalleck, PhD

Eric Goulet, PhD

Robert Gotshall, PhD

Alexander Hutchison, PhD

M. Knight-Maloney, PhD

Len Kravitz, PhD

James Laskin, PhD

Yit Aun Lim, PhD

Lonnie Lowery, PhD

Derek Marks, PhD

Cristine Mermier, PhD

Robert Robergs, PhD

Chantal Vella, PhD

Dale Wagner, PhD

Frank Wyatt, PhD

Ben Zhou, PhD




Official Research Journal of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists


ISSN 1097-9751


Official Research Journal of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists
ISSN 1097-9751
EPonline

Acute Effects of Passive Stretching on Muscle Power Performance

Felipe Sampaio-Jorge1,2, Luiz Felipe C. Rangel1, Henrique R. Mota1, Anderson P. Morales1,2, Leonardo Costa1, Gabriela M.O. Coelho1,3,4, Beatriz G. Ribeiro1


1Laboratory Research and Innovation in Sports Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/Macaé, RJ, Brazil; 2Laboratory of Movement Analysis, Higher Institutes of Education of CENSA, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil; 3Estácio de Sá University, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; 4Arthur Sá Earp Neto College, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil



ABSTRACT


Sampaio-Jorge F, Rangel LFC, Mota HR, Morales AP, Costa L, Coelho GMO, Ribeiro BG. Acute Effects of Passive Stretching on Muscle Power Performance. JEPonline 2014;17(6):81-89. The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of a 60-sec passive stretching (PS) session on vertical jumps height (VJH), muscle power (MP), flight time (FT), and Subjective Sensation of Pain Threshold (SSPT). A randomized crossover trial was used with 6 male athletes of the National Basketball League NBB from Macaé-RJ team (age: 25.6 ± 4.2 yrs, body mass: 101.9 ± 13.2 kg, height: 197 ± 6 cm, body mass index: 26.3 ± 6.1 kg·m-2). They were divided into 2 groups: Control Group (CG) and the Stretching Group (SG). The athletes performed 3 Vertical Jumps with a 5-sec interval, using the Counter Movement Jump (CMJ) technique in the pre- and post-sessions with and without PS, respectively. There were significant reductions (P<0.05) in all variables between pre- and post-moments in VJH (CG -0.24 ± 1.99%) vs. (SG -3.71 ± 1.51%); MP (CG -0.15 ± 1.14%) vs. (SG -1.94 ± 0.63%); FT (CG -0.12 ± 0.98%) vs. (SG -1.88 ± 0.77%). The findings indicate that the PS session in high-performance athletes resulted in a negative effect on SSPT that had negative effects on the variables of muscle power.
Key Words: Basketball, Vertical Jump, Stretching, Muscle Power



INTRODUCTION
The world of sport science has played a pivotal role in answering many questions about the health benefits of regular exercise and athletic performance. But, there are still many unanswered questions that are not likely to be answered until decades into the future. One of these issues of great practical importance is whether the use of stretching actually benefits athletic performance. A second unanswered issue is whether stretching decreases the athletes’ risk of injury.
Shrier (24) concluded that while an acute bout of stretching does not improve force or jump height, regular stretching does improve force, jump height, and speed. There are many unanswered questions about the stretching, running economy, and various positive and negative effects associated with acute and chronic stretching that could interfere with the athletes’ performance (5-7,10).
Egan and colleagues (12) reported no stretching-related changes in peak torque (PT) or mean power output (MP) from pre- to post-stretching for any of the testing intervals (post-5, post-15, post-30, and post-45 min). Their findings indicate that the static stretching had no impact on PT or MP during maximal, voluntary concentric isokinetic muscle actions in collegiate women's basketball players. Overall, they concluded that trained athletes may be less susceptible to the stretching-induced force deficit than untrained, non-athletes (12,27).
In a meta-analytical review, Simic et al. (25) concluded that static stretching (SS), which is a term often used interchangeably with passive stretching (PS), before exercise has significant and practically relevant negative acute effects on maximal strength and explosive performance with as yet unclear results regarding muscle power. They did conclude that there are benefits relative to muscle strains, particularly when PS is incorporated into a more comprehensive pre-exercise warm-up.
Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of a 60-sec passive stretching (PS) session on vertical jumps height (VJH), muscle power (MP), flight Time (FT), and Subjective Sensation of Pain Threshold (SSPT) in professional athletes of the National Basketball League.

METHODS


Subjects

A randomized crossover trial was conducted (washout period of 3 days) with 6 male athletes of the National Basketball League (NBB-Brazil) from the Macaé-RJ team (Table 1). The subjects were divided into 2 groups: Control Group (CG) and Stretching Group (SG). To determine the athletes’ weight and height, the Tanita scale (mod. BC-533) was used with a graduation of 100 gm and a portable stadiometer (Alturexata) with a precision of 0.1 cm, respectively. All measurements were performed on-site in the Municipal Gymnasium from Macaé.
The subjects abstained from physical activity, alcohol use, and any substance with caffeine during the 24 hrs preceding the evaluations. The subjects were in the pre-season period with no recent history of orthopedic injury or any other contraindication to physical exercise. All subjects received detailed instructions of the procedures used in the research.


Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for the Control Group (CG) and Stretching Group (SG).




CG

(N = 6)


SG

(N = 6)


Age (yrs)

25.6 ± 4.2

25.6 ± 4.2

Height (cm)

197 ± 6

197 ± 6

Body Mass (kg)

101.9 ± 13.2

101.9 ± 13.2

BMI (kg·m-2)

26.3 ± 6.1

26.3 ± 6.1

Mean ± SD

Procedures

Vertical Jump Test: The subjects performed 3 VJ in the jump platform System Optical (Cefise®, São Paulo, Brazil) with a 5 sec interval between each jump, using the Counter Movement Jump (CMJ) technique in the pre- and post-sessions of CG and SG with heating on and stretching, respectively. Vertical Jump Test with Heating (CG): The subjects performed 3 VJ with a 5 sec interval between each jump, using the CMJ with the heat on for 5 min. Vertical Jump Test with Stretching (SG): The subjects performed three different lower limbs stretching techniques on Subjective Sensation of Pain Threshold (SSPT): 1- hamstring and calf stretch (60 sec), 2- Quadriceps stretch (60 sec for each leg), 3- gluteus maximus stretch (60 sec for each leg) (Figure 1) after they performed 3 VJ with a 5 sec interval between each jump, using the CMJ.



Figure 1. (A) The hamstrings stretch was performed with the subject in the sitting position with the legs straight and together while the arms remained straight with the hands grasping the feet forcing them into dorsiflexion. (B) The quadriceps stretch was performed while the subject was lying in a side position with the right lower limb hyperextend at the hip and flexed at the knee. (C) The gluteus maximus stretch was performed while in the supine position with hip and knee flexion of one lower limb with the other placed in flexion with the foot on the knee of the first lower limb to force the hips to flex with rotation of the thigh.

Statistical Analyses

The data were normalized in relation to the pre-stretching period in order to determine the influence of stretching on vertical jump performance in percentage data. The data were then displayed as mean ± standard deviation from which the inferential one way ANOVA test and the Tukey post hoc test were applied. The significance level was set at P≤0.05 for all analyses.


RESULTS

Following the statistical analysis of the VJH, it was determined that there was a significant decrease in the subjects’ maximum height achieved in the SG of 3.71 ± 1.51% versus the baseline measurement (P<0.05). There was also a significant decrease in performance when compared the SG to the CG (P<0.05). There was no decrease in the VJH of the CG (-0.24 ± 1.99%) when compared to baseline (P>0.05) (Figure 2).






Figure 2. Effect of Passive Stretching on Vertical Jump Height (VJH). *There was a decrease in the VJH of the SG compared to baseline and the CG (P<0.05). No differences were found between the CG and the baseline (P>0.05).
The CG showed no statistical difference in MP from baseline (CG -0.15 ± 1.14%) (P>0.05) while the SG did demonstrate a significant decrease in power of 1.94 ± 0.63% compared to the baseline measure (P<0.05). When comparing the CG with the SG, a lower performance in the SG (P<0.05) was also recorded (Figure 3).


Figure 3. The Effects of Passive Stretching on Muscle Power (MP). *There was a reduction in the MP of the SG compared with the CG and baseline (P<0.05). There was no change in the MP of the CG compared to the baseline moment (P>0.05).
There was a significant decrease in FT in the SG (P<0.05) of 1.88 ± 0.77% compared to the time observed at baseline. A shorter time of flight was also observed when the SG was compared with the CG (P<0.05). No significant difference (P>0.05) FT was found in the CG (-0.12 ± 0.98%) (refer to Figure 4).

Figure 4. The Effects of Passive Stretching on the Flight Time (FT). *Indicates significant decrease in FT in the SG compared to baseline and the CG (P<0.05). There was no difference in FT in the CG compared to the baseline measure (P>0.05).
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of a 60-sec passive stretching (PS) per muscle group for a total of 5 min on vertical jumps height (VJH), muscle power (MP), flight Time (FT), and Subjective Sensation of Pain Threshold (SSPT). Although the athletes were already familiar with the stretching routine, the PS interfered with the subjects’ muscle power in the vertical jumps. There was a statistically significant decrease in performance in VJH, MP, and FT in the basketball athletes.
These results are in agreement with the findings of Vetter (28) who used 60 sec of PS to evaluate the deleterious effects on VJH. On the other hand, there are studies that used 45 sec (15,18,27), 60 sec (21) and 90 sec (4,16,23) of static stretching (i.e., a term also used for passive stretching, PS) and found no interference on the subjects’ VJH.
A literature review regarding the effects of stretching on muscle strength performance pointed out that when there is a decrease in strength after PS, there is a greater muscle elasticity that leads to a lower resistance to stretching (8,14,17,22). The same authors also emphasize that this fact may limit the otherwise natural interaction of the cross bridges and, therefore, result in a decrease in the capacity of the muscles to produce strength and power.
Edman and Tsuchiya (11) concluded that during the passive stretch exercise the most influenced structure is the elastic titin and that the properties of tendon compliance and all other elastic structures were less changed than this protein. Titin is a giant sarcomeric protein that extends from the Z line to the M line. Due to its location within the sarcomere, it is an important biomechanical sensor with a key role in maintaining the structural integrity of the sarcomere. Titin functions as a "bidirectional spring" that governs the length of the sarcomere. It performs appropriate adjustments of passive tension where the length varies (13). This point of view coincides with other studies that speak to titin as the main structure responsible for muscle elasticity (1,26). In addition, when investigating this issue, Avela et al. (1) reported the hypothesis that increased compliance caused by the stretching would be responsible for the decrease in response caused by muscle spindles, and subsequently a lower activity of α motor neurons.
Understandably, such an outcome complicates the decision to stretch prior to exercise even though it is believed to help in preventing an injury to the musculoskeletal system. Yet, it is more than reasonable to conclude that muscle strength is reduced for 1 hr after PS, given the compromise in the muscles’ ability to produce force. In agreement, Cramer et al. (9) reported on the acute effects of static stretching on peak torque in women. They found a decrease in knee extensor concentric peak torque at both low (60·sec-1) and high (240·sec-1) angular velocities after active and passive static stretches.
For athletes who participate in sports that require muscle strength and power, the use of PS (i.e., static stretching) prior to an athletic activity may produce a significant but temporary reduction in maximal strength and force performance. However, since warming up is an important component in the preparation for training and competition, light aerobic activity and specific exercises for each sport is indicated in order to safely prepare athletes for sports performance with less risk of related injuries.
Also, dynamic stretching (also referred to as Ballistic stretching) may be an excellent substitute for PS, especially since it might be less likely to decrease strength and performance while producing similar results in flexibility improvement (3). But, here again, other studies (2,20) indicate that dynamic stretching is not as effective in increasing static flexibility as static stretching within a single session of warming up.

CONCLUSIONS

It was possible to conclude that the sessions of PS in high-performance athletes in SSPT produced negative effects on variables of muscle power. Therefore, it is suggested that the practice of stretching should not be used prior to activities of muscle strength and power in athletes. More studies should be conducted of different intensities of stretching such as sub-threshold static stretching and stretching at a discomfort threshold with the use of different techniques of VJ (drop jump and the squat jump) in order to verify the influence in the VJH performance. Also, it is suggested that shorter durations than 60 seconds should be used in all PS exercises.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors would like to thank the Macaé Basketball Association Team, IMMT/Macaé, FESPORTUR/Macaé and FAPERJ.


Address for correspondence: Beatriz G. Ribeiro, PhD, Laboratory Research and Innovation in Sports Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - Macaé Campus, RJ, Brazil. 159, Alcides da Conceição, Granja dos Cavaleiros, Macaé, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 27930-560. +552227933-378; ribeirogoncalvesb@gmail.com





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