Influence of 8-weeks of supervised static stretching or resistance training of pectoral major muscles on maximal strength, muscle thickness and range of motion

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  • Tim Wohlann
  • Konstantin Warneke
  • Vincent Kalder
  • David G. Behm
  • Tobias Schmidt
  • Stephan Schiemann

Objectives: Current research suggests static stretch-induced maximal strength increases and muscle hypertrophy with potential to substitute resistance-training routines. However, most studies investigated the plantar flexors. This study explored the effects of a static stretching program on maximal strength, hypertrophy and flexibility of the pectoralis major and compared the effects with those of traditional resistance training. Methods: Eighty-one (81) active participants were allocated to either a static stretching, strength-training or control group. Pectoralis stretching was applied 15 min/day, 4 days per week for 8 weeks, while resistance training trained 3 days per week, 5 × 12 repetitions. Results: There was an increase in all parameters (strength: p < 0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.313, muscle thickness: p < 0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.157–0.264, flexibility: p < 0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.316) and a time*group interaction (strength: p = 0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.154, muscle thickness: p = 0.008–0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.117–0.173, flexibility: p < 0.001, ƞ 2 = 0.267). Post-hoc testing showed no difference between both intervention groups regarding maximal strength and muscle thickness (p = 0.905–0.983, d = 0.036–0.087), while flexibility increased in the stretching group (p = 0.001, d = 0.789). Conclusion: Stretching showed increases in maximal strength and hypertrophy, which were comparable with commonly used resistance training. Based on current literature, the influence of mechanical tension as the underlying mechanism is discussed. Furthermore, as equipment and comparatively long stretching durations are requested to induce meaningful strength increases in recreationally active participants, practical application seems limited to special circumstances.

ZeitschriftEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusAngenommen/Im Druck - 19.01.2024

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