The effects of short-duration static stretching of the lower extremities after warm-up exercise on endurance running performance
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Previous studies have shown that static stretching impairs running economy and endurance running performance. However, these studies have only examined the effects of long-duration static stretching, and the duration of the stretch is generally too long compared to the typical duration in actual practice. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of short-duration (20-second) static stretching of the lower extremities of athletes after a 15-minutes warm-up exercise on their endurance running performance. The subjects of this study comprise seven healthy, well-trained middle-distance or long-distance male runners (age: 21.3 ± 2.1 years, height: 170.3 ± 3.1 cm, weight: 60.0 ± 5.5 kg). Each subject ran on the treadmill at 90% VO2max until exhaustion after one of two warm-up procedures. The two warm-up procedures consist of 15-minute running at 70% VO2max (Warm-up), and 15-minute running at 70% VO2max and five static stretches of the lower extremities (Warm-up + static stretching). The running performance was evaluated based on the time to exhaustion. The results show that there are no significant differences in the time to exhaustion between the warm-up treatment (819.3 ± 230.6 s) and the warm-up and static stretching treatment (817.9 ± 213.7 s). The results suggest that endurance running performance is not affected by 20-second static stretches and there may be no need to carry out static stretches before endurance running if the duration is not too long.