Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2023) 22, 597 - 604   DOI:

Research article
Effects of a Home-Based Stretching Program on Bench Press Maximum Strength and Shoulder Flexibility
Konstantin Warneke1,2, Martin Hillebrecht3, Enno Claassen-Helmers3, Tim Wohlann3, Michael Keiner4, David G. Behm2, 
Author Information
1 Institute of Sport Science, Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria
2 School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
3 University Sports Center, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany
4 Institute of Exercise and Training Science, German University of Health and Sport, Ismaning, Germany

David G. Behm
✉ School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Publish Date
Received: 09-08-2023
Accepted: 05-09-2023
Published (online): 01-12-2023

Recent research showed significant stretch-mediated maximum strength increases when performing stretching between 5 to 120 minutes per day with the calf muscle. However, since the practical applicability of these long stretching durations was questioned and studies exploring the transferability to the upper body are scarce, the aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of using a home-based stretching program to induce significant increases in maximum strength and flexibility. Therefore, 31 recreationally active participants (intervention group: 18, control group: 13) stretched the pectoralis major for 15min/day for eight weeks, incorporating three different stretching exercises. The maximum strength was tested isometrically and dynamically in the bench press (one-repetition maximum: 1RM) as well as shoulder range of motion (ROM) performing bilateral shoulder rotation with a scaled bar. Using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures, the results showed high magnitude Time effects (ƞ² = 0.388-0.582, p < 0.001) and Group*Time interaction (ƞ² = 0.281-0.53, p < 0.001-0.002), with increases of 7.4 ± 5.6% in 1RM and of 9.8 ± 5.0% in ROM test in the intervention group. In the isometric testing, there was a high-magnitude Time effect (ƞ² = 0.271, p = 0.003), however, the Group*Time interaction failed to reach significance (p = 0.75). The results are in line with previous results that showed stretch-mediated maximum strength increases in the lower extremity. Future research should address the underlying physiological mechanisms such as muscle hypertrophy, contraction conditions as well as pointing out the relevance of intensity, training frequency and stretching duration.

Key words: Range of motion, maximum voluntary isometric contractions, 1 RM, static stretching, pectoralis major

           Key Points
  • Static stretching of the pectoralis major for 15min/day for 8 weeks induced bench press 1RM strength (7.4%) and shoulder ROM (9.8%) increases.
  • Strength adaptations occurred with an unsupervised, home static stretching program.
  • Static stretching is not recommended as a strength training replacement to increase strength, but may be a possible alternative to individuals not willing, do not have access to strength training equipment or are less trained and therefore not able to perform bodyweight training.
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