ACUTE EFFECT of STATIC STRETCHING on RATE of FORCE DEVELOPMENT and MAXIMAL VOLUNTARY CONTRACTION IN OLDER WOMEN
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Gurjao, ALD, Goncalves, R, de Moura, RF, and Gobbi, S. Acute effect of static stretching on rate of force development and maximal voluntary contraction in older women. J Strength Cond Res 23(7): 2149-2154, 2009-The purpose of this study was to investigate, in older women, the acute effect of static stretching (SS) on both muscle activation and force output. Twenty-three older women (64.6 +/- 7.1 yr) participated in the study. The maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), rate of force development (RFD) (50, 100, 150, and 200 ms relative to onset of muscular contraction), and peak RFD (PRFD) (the steepest slope of the curve during the first 200 ms) were tested under 2 randomly separate conditions: SS and control (C). Electromyographic (EMG) activity of the vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL), and biceps femoris (BF) muscles also was assessed. The MVC was significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the 3 trials of SS when compared with the C condition (control: 925.0 +/- 50.9 N; trial 1 : 854.3 +/- 55.3 N; trial 2 : 863.1 +/- 52.2 N; and trial 3 : 877.5 +/- 49.9 N). PRFD showed a significant decrease only for the first 2 trials of SS when compared with the C condition (control: 2672.3 +/- 259.1 N/s; trial 1 : 2296.6 +/- 300.7 N/s; and trial 2 : 2197.9 +/- 246.3 N/s). However, no difference was found for RFD (50, 100, 150, and 200 ms relative to onset of muscular contraction). The EMG activity for VM, VL, and BF was not significantly different between the C and SS conditions. In conclusion, the older women's capacity to produce muscular force decreased after their performance of SS exercises. The mechanisms responsible for this effect do not appear to be related to muscle activation. Thus, if flexibility is to be trained, it is recommended that SS does not occur just before the performance of activities that require high levels of muscular force.