The Bottom Line: How Does Stretching Impact Human Performance?
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
VelocityEHS ergonomist Blake McGowan shares the findings of a systematic review of literature that determined the impact of stretching on human performance in this month’s installment.
Hi, I’m Blake McGowan and I’m a certified professional ergonomist with Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics).
Passive static stretching is something commonly done prior to and during physical work activities. The perceived benefits of this stretching is increased range of motion as well as reduced risk of injury.
Now just as a reminder passive static stretching really just lengthens the muscle to a point that is kind of slightly uncomfortable and then they hold it there for about 10 to 15 seconds.
So, how does this type of stretching impact human performance? Remember, ergonomics is all about optimizing human performance.
Well, in 2013 Evan Peck, MD, from and a group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic did a really nice review of the literature to understand the impact of stretching on human performance.
So, what did they find?
Well first they found that stretching actually reduces strength capabilities or your ability to generate force.
Second stretching reduces your speed and agility.
And thirdly stretching really doesn’t have any impact on your muscular endurance, so it doesn’t either help or hurt.
So, what does this mean? What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is that passive static stretching actually decreases human performance of most importance, though it actually decreases your strength capability or your ability to generate force.
Good news though, is there’s other studies that show the same thing in 2013.
Simek and his colleagues did a meta-analysis of a hundred and four different studies to figure out the impact of static stretching on force jittering capabilities, and they found the same thing and they basically said that static stretching should generally be avoided.
Thanks, have a great day.