A review of the effects of static stretching in human mobility and strength training as a more powerful alternative: Towards a different paradigm


  • João C. Moscão REP, Exercise Institute
  • José Vilaça-Alves Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
  • José Afonso Centre for Investigation, Formation, Innovation and Intervention in Sport, Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal




Flexibility is a measurable physical capacity considered as a key component of physical fitness. Poor flexibility is usually attributed to excessive tension exerted by the antagonist muscles of the movement and, supported by weak scientific evidence, passive stretching is considered as the most effective intervention in the promotion of the muscle extensibility, in attempting to improve mobility. The proposal of this paper is a review of the effects of static stretching in human movement and a presentation of strength training as a more robust alternative based on scientific evidence. First, we try to define which factors influence the ability of the human body to move into their functional safety range of motion. Second, we present a critical scientific literature review of the effects of static stretching in the promotion of range of motion, injury prevention, and sports performance. Third, we propose alternatives to static stretching such as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, dynamic stretching, and especially strength/resistance training, in the promotion of a better range of motion. Finally, we conclude that perhaps problems of flexibility/mobility should not be addressed with static processes, but with movement.






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