European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 118, Issue 5, pp 927–936 | Cite as

Acute effects of unilateral static stretching on handgrip strength of the stretched and non-stretched limb

  • Jacob D. Jelmini
  • Andrew Cornwell
  • Nazareth Khodiguian
  • Jennifer Thayer
  • And John Araujo
Original Article



To determine the effects of an acute bout of unilateral static stretching on handgrip strength of both the stretched and non-stretched limb. It was reasoned that if the non-stretched limb experienced a decrease in force output, further evidence for a neural mechanism to explain a post-stretch force reduction would be obtained as no mechanical adaptation would have occurred.


Thirty participants performed maximum voluntary unilateral handgrip contractions of both limbs before and after stretching the finger flexors of the strength-dominant side only. Each trial was assessed for peak force, muscle activity (iEMG), and rate of force generation.


Following the stretching bout, peak force and iEMG decreased by 4.4% (p = 0.001) and 6.4% (p = 0.000) respectively in the stretched limb only. However, rate of force generation was significantly impaired in both the stretched (− 17.3%; p = 0.000) and non-stretched limbs (− 10.8%; p = 0.003) 1 min post-stretch, and remained similarly depressed for both limbs 15 min later.


Acute stretching negatively impacts rate of force generation more than peak force. Moreover, a reduced rate of force generation from the non-stretched limb indicates the presence of a cross-over inhibitory effect through the nervous system, which provides additional evidence for a neural mechanism.


Static stretching Neural inhibition Force impairment 



Analysis of variance


Ariel Performance Analysis System




Integrated electromyography


Golgi tendon organ


Musculotendinous unit


Motor unit


Maximal voluntary contraction


Rate of force generation


Author contributions

Jacob D. Jelmini, M.S., C.S.C.S: Conception or design of the work, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, drafting the article, final approval of the version to be published. Andrew Cornwell, PH.D: Conception or design of the work, data analysis and interpretation, drafting the article, final approval of the version to be published. Nazareth Khodiguian, PH.D: Data analysis and interpretation, critical revision of the article. Jennifer Thayer, M.S, R.D, C.S.S.D: Data analysis and interpretation. John Araujo, B.S: Data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob D. Jelmini
    • 1
  • Andrew Cornwell
    • 1
  • Nazareth Khodiguian
    • 1
  • Jennifer Thayer
    • 1
  • And John Araujo
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Kinesiology and Nutritional ScienceCalifornia State UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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