Effects of stretching and fatigue on peak torque, muscle imbalance, and stability

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences




Costa, P. B., Ruas, C. V., & Smith, C. M. (2018). Effects of stretching and fatigue on peak torque, muscle imbalance, and stability. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 58(7-8), 957-965. Available here.


BACKGROUND: The present study examined the acute effects of hamstrings stretching and fatigue on knee extension and flexion peak torque (PT), hamstrings to quadriceps (H:Q) ratio, and postural stability. METHODS: Seventeen women (mean±SD age=21.8±2.1 years; body mass=63.0±10.5 kg; height=164.7±6.2 cm) and eighteen men (25.8±4.6 years; 83.6±13.2 kg; 175.3±6.0 cm) took part in three laboratory visits. The first visit was a familiarization session, and the subsequent two visits were randomly assigned as a control or stretching condition. For the testing visits, subjects performed a postural stability assessment, stretched (or sat quietly during the control condition), performed a 50-repetition unilateral isokinetic fatigue protocol, and repeated the postural stability assessment. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between control and stretching conditions for initial quadriceps and hamstrings PT, initial H:Q ratio, quadriceps and hamstrings PT fatigue indexes, H:Q ratio Fatigue Index, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), or postural stability (P>0.05). When analyzing 5 intervals of 10 repetitions, significant declines in quadriceps PT were found in all intervals for both conditions (P<0.05). However, a decline in hamstrings PT was only found until the fourth interval (i.e., repetitions 31 to 40) for the stretching condition (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Stretching the hamstrings immediately prior to long-duration activities may eventually cause adverse effects in force-generating capacity of this muscle group to occur earlier when fatiguing tasks are involved. Nevertheless, no changes were found for the H:Q ratios after stretching when compared to no-stretching.



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