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Does Stretching Training Influence Muscular Strength? A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression

  • Autori: Thomas, Ewan; Ficarra, Salvatore; Nunes, João Pedro; Paoli, Antonio; Bellafiore, Marianna; Palma, Antonio; Bianco, Antonino
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2023
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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This aim of this study was to review articles that performed stretching training and evaluated the effects on muscular strength. Literature search was performed using 3 databases. Studies were included if they compared the effects on strength following stretching training vs. a nontraining control group or stretching training combined with resistance training (RT) vs. an RT-only group, after at least 4 weeks of intervention. The meta-analyses were performed using a random-effect model with Hedges' g effect size (ES). A total of 35 studies (n = 1,179 subjects) were included in this review. The interventions lasted for a mean period of 8 weeks (range, 4-24 weeks), 3-4 days per week, applying approximately 4 sets of stretching of approximately 1-minute duration. The meta-analysis for the stretching vs. nontraining control group showed a significant small effect on improving dynamic (k = 14; ES = 0.33; p = 0.007) but not isometric strength (k = 8; ES = 0.10; p = 0.377), following static stretching programs (k = 17; ES = 0.28; p = 0.006). When stretching was added to RT interventions, the main analysis indicated no significant effect (k = 17; ES = -0.15; p = 0.136); however, moderator analysis indicated that performing stretching before RT sessions has a small but negative effect (k = 7; ES = -0.43; p = 0.014); the meta-regression revealed a significant negative association with study length (β = -0.100; p = 0.004). Chronic static stretching programs increase dynamic muscular strength to a small magnitude. Performing stretching before RT and for a prolonged time (>8 weeks) can blunt the strength gains to a small-to-moderate magnitude. Performing stretching in sessions distant from RT sessions might be a strategy to not hinder strength development.