Stretch Reflex in Overcoming Inertia


How much stretch is optimal? In a good discussion on the strength blog, Mike Boyle and Brendon Ziegler shared their personal perspective on stretch reflexes and overcoming inertia. The stretch reflex creates a great overall output, but the body is often required to go the opposite direction first, causing a time trade off that must be managed. When sprinters are in the starting blocks, some coaches wish to create some additional power via the plantar extensors, but too much creates lag time. What is Optimal and how do we know what to do training for other sports as well?

One common question what to do with soccer players that are often jogging and then attack as the sport is in constant motion. Baseball and Football often have more static starting requirements. What is the value of pre-stretch in sport? That is more of a moneyball question with sports performance, based on what time impact (speed improvement) one can get by training in a specific way and how often that mode of starting occurs in sport.

I train both, but most of it is from a static start because lifting from blocks and the floor, but I do like repeat hang snatches with a pre stretch for comp phases as it’s easier on the body and it has more potential for transfer. Other options are static starts with medicine balls versus a pre jump toss, but those are more for general coordination and not for power development. My concern is that we have debates that have been discussed for decades and where is the sport science? Shouldn’t we have clearer information of what is going on elasticity wise with different sporting movements? Perhaps time will tell.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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