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Kokkonen, J, Nelson, AG, Tarawhiti, T, Buckingham, P, and Winchester, JB. Early-phase resistance training strength gains in novice lifters are enhanced by doing static stretching. J Strength Cond Res 24(2): 502-506, 2010-This study investigated differences in lower-body strength improvements when using standard progressive resistance training (WT) vs. the same progressive resistance training combined with static stretching exercises (WT + ST). Thirty-two college students (16 women and 16 men) were pair matched according to sex and knee extension 1 repetition maximum (1RM). One person from each pair was randomly assigned to WT and the other to WT + ST. WT did 3 sets of 6 repetitions of knee extension, knee flexion, and leg press 3 days per week for 8 weeks with weekly increases in the weight lifted. The WT + ST group performed the same lifting program as the WT group along with static stretching exercises designed to stretch the hip, thigh, and calf muscle groups. Stretching exercise sessions were done twice a week for 30 minutes during the 8-week period. WT significantly (p < 0.05) improved their knee flexion, knee extension, and leg press 1RM by 12, 14, and 9%, respectively. WT + ST, on the other hand, significantly (p < 0.05) improved their knee flexion, knee extension, and leg press 1RM by 16, 27, and 31, respectively. In addition, the WT + ST group had significantly greater knee extension and leg press gains (p < 0.05) than the WT group. Based on results of this study, it is recommended that to maximize strength gains in the early phase of training, novice lifters should include static stretching exercises to their resistance training programs.