While static stretching is still almost universally practiced among amateur athletes ? watch your child?s soccer team next weekend ? it doesn?t improve the muscles? ability to perform with more power, physiologists now agree. ?You may feel as if you?re able to stretch farther after holding a stretch for 30 seconds,? McHugh says, ?so you think you?ve increased that muscle?s readiness.? But typically you?ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch. The muscle is actually weaker.