Last week I put up a post on stretching.
However, like most strength and conditioning research out there, it wasn’t specific to wrestlers.
So, I decided to recruit a few of the D1 wrestlers I work with from Binghamton University to do a mini-research study. Specifically, I wanted to see the impacts stretching had on peak shot velocity and power.
The 3 wrestlers I recruited are all starters. Other than that, I won’t be giving out any more info so as to keep their identities anonymous (so this post stays “NCAA legal”).
One wrestled in a tournament the day before, but more on that later.
The first thing I had the guys do when they came in was measure 5 of their shots for both peak power and peak velocity.
I then had them move around for 5 minutes. I told them to warm-up like they would before a match.
I staggered the start and finish times for each guy so there wasn’t a period of time where one or more of them were hanging out between the warm-up, the stretching protocol and the testing.
This was super casual and I didn’t put together a set warm-up plan for them to follow.
When performing research it’s good to account for variables like this and systematize them so that only 1 thing is being tested (in this case stretching on shot speed/power), again, I just wanted to do something quick to give you an idea of the effects of stretching on your performance.
Anyway, after the 5 minute “moving around” period, the guys then went into a stretching routine.
Each stretch was held for 45 seconds. There was a total of 6 stretches.
Here are the 3 stretches I had them perform (one to each side) in this order:
I then re-tested 5 shots for peak velocity and peak power.
After that, I had them start another 5 minute warm-up.
The same parameters, or lack thereof, were used.
Again this was staggered so there was minimal to no down time between completion and shot re-testing.
After the warm-up was complete I had the guys perform 1 set of 5 reps of each of the following jumps:
Upon completion of those 15 total jumps, I then re-tested 5 shots measuring both peak power and peak velocity.
Wrestler 1 experienced a decrease of .78% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 1 experienced a decrease of .77% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 1 experienced an increase of .46% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 1 experienced an increase of .46% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 9.76% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 9.77% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 2.64% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase of 2.08% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Wrestler 3 experienced a decrease of 4.3% in Peak Power after stretching.
Wrestler 3 experienced a decrease of 4.3% in Peak Velocity after stretching.
Wrestler 3 experienced an increase of 2.23% in Peak Power after jumping.
Wrestler 3 experienced an increase of 2.21% in Peak Velocity after jumping.
Both wrestlers 1 and 3 experienced a decrease in performance after stretching and an increase in performance after jumping.
Wrestler 2 experienced an increase after both because he’s just that amazing.
But seriously, this is the wrestler who competed in a tournament the day before. When he arrived, I could tell that he was banged up and stiff.
So I think the fact that the 5-minute period of moving around and stretching was the first real activity he had done all day woke up his system more than it did for the other 2 guys.
Regardless, I’m not here to make any drastic conclusions as to whether or not you should be stretching immediately before a match.
I just thought that a quick “mini-research” study may help provide you with a small example of how your warm-up routine may be impacting your speed and power when taking a shot.
Just like the conclusion of any research paper, but especially in this case, obviously A LOT more research has to be done. Sorry, but the results of 3 guys doesn’t cut it. But again, I thought you, as a wrestler, coach, or parent, may find this info useful.
Let me know what thoughts/questions you have by commenting below.
In studies I have read it was demonstrated that the act of static stretching (NOT dynamic flexibility) did slow down (slightly) the specific muscular contractions addressed in the stretches. If you observe sprinters just before they are needing to be incredibly explosive, you will see that they rarely do any static stretches, but sufficiently increase their body temp, and do low intensity dynamic movements like a-skip, b-skip, tuck jumps etc to prep their muscles for action. So just to piss of the referee, walk to the circle put on your ankle band and do a back flip- land- and shake your opponents hand. Then you’re truly ready. haha
HA! I’ll mention this to back flipping expert Kyle Dake. I will not be doing that in any future competitions though for fear that I’ll break my neck, lol.