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Stretching before or after exercise does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness
  1. Nicholas Henschke,
  2. C Christine Lin
  1. Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health and Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicholas Henschke, Musculoskeletal Division, The George Institute for Global Health, PO Box M201, Missenden Road, NSW 2050, Australia; nhenschke{at}

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One reason for stretching before or after exercise is to reduce the risk of soreness after exercise.1 Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) typically arises within the first day after exercise and peaks in intensity at around 48 h.2 This review is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2007.3 A large randomised trial (2377 participants) of both pre and postexercise stretching has been published since then.4


Our aim was to determine the effect of stretching before or after exercise on the development of postexercise muscle soreness.

Searches and inclusion criteria

The methodology followed those recommended by the Cochrane Collaboration. Electronic databases (the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus and PEDro), the WHO clinical trials registry and reference lists were searched from the earliest dates until February 2010. The search terms consisted of variations of the terms ‘stretch’ or ‘warm-up’ combined with variations of the phrase ‘muscle …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.