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Review: stretching before or after exercise does not prevent muscle soreness or reduce risk of injury

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 QUESTION: Does stretching before or after exercise reduce the risk of muscle soreness or injury and improve athletic performance?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966 to February 2000), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1988 to February 2000), CINAHL (1982 to January 2000), SPORTDiscus (1949–99), and PEDro (to February 2000); and reviewing bibliographies of retrieved studies.

Study selection

English language studies were selected if they were randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials assessing the effects of any stretching technique (done immediately before or after exercising) on muscle soreness, risk of injury, or athletic performance.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study design, participant characteristics, inclusion/exclusion criteria, interventions, and outcome measures. 2 reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality of individual studies using the PEDro scale; only studies with scores ≥3/10 were considered for …

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  • For correspondence: Dr R D Herbert, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. R.Herbert{at}

  • Source of funding: no external funding.