David Behm

David Behm

University Research Professor

Phone: (tel) 709-864-3408 (fax)709-864-3979
Email: dbehm@mun.ca
Office: School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (Room 2006A)
Personal Profile

My research is all about how your muscles respond to acute and chronic activity, focusing mainly on measuring muscle activation, resistance training, fatigue, stretching and inversion. Some of my research has been used extensively internationally to develop training techniques for athletes. 

I have also had the privilege to present around North America, South America, Europe and Australia. Check out some of the links to find out more and feel free to contact me.

I received bachelor degrees from the University of Ottawa in physical education and education respectively.

Prior to pursuing further academic credentials, I was drafted in the Canadian Football League (CFL) by the Ottawa RoughRiders, worked as a hockey and football coach at Bishop's University, managed an athletic club in Dartmouth, NS, and lectured at the University of Regina.

I finished my master's degree from McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Digby Sale and completed my doctorate in rehabilitation science from McGill University (advisor: Dr. Diane St-Pierre) while working full-time as a physical education teacher at Dawson College.

Memorial University hired me in May 1995. In 2004, I reached the level of full professor and became associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research in 2008. I was designated as a University Research Professor in 2015.

I have published over 350 articles in peer-reviewed scientific and professional publications, provided invited presentations to audiences in North and South America, Europe and Australia and have appeared on national and local television (i.e. Discovery Channel) and radio (i.e. Quirks and Quarks).


  • 2020 Honour Award for the Strength and Conditioning Society
  • 2015: Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) Honour Award
  • 2015: Memorial University Research Professorship
  • 2014:National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) WJ Kraemer Outstanding Sport Scientist Award
  • 2012: Memorial University Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Service Excellence
  • 2006: President’s Award for Outstanding Research: Memorial University
Recent projects

Does applying a topical pain reliever before or after treatment of muscle strains/spains or joints reduce pain for more effective treatment?

For rehabilitation after an injury, appropriate stressors to promote training or recuperative adaptations to the affected muscle and soft tissue needs to happen. But pain might get in the way of that. Dr. Duane Button and I are looking at whether pain can be minimized with a topical analgesic so other treatments, and therefore rehabilitation, can happen faster. (Sponsored by the Hygenic Corporation)

Is the Theraband stretching strap effective at increasing flexibility using dynamic versus static stretching?

There are some tried and true stretching techniques to improve one's range of motion. One of these is a nervous system technique that isolates certain muscles. But you need a partner to use this technique. Dr. Duane Button and I are looking at whether (and how) a Theraband stretching strap might allow people to do this effective stretching on their own. (Sponsored by the Hygenic Corporation)

Stretching textbook

"The Science and Physiology of Stretching" is available from Routledge Publishers and Amazon.


Recent review articles

Behm DG, Kay AD, Trajano GS, Blazevich AJ. Mechanisms Underlying Performance Impairments Following Prolonged Static Stretching Without a Comprehensive Warm-up. European Journal of Applied Physiology 121:67–94, 2021  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-020-04538-8

Behm DG, Alizadeh S, Hadjizadeh Anvar S, Drury B, Granacher U, Moran J. Non-local acute passive stretching effects on range of motion in healthy adults: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Sports Medicine 2021 Q1 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-020-01422-5

Behm DG, Alizadeh S, Drury B, Granacher U, Moran J Non-local acute stretching effects on strength performance in healthy young adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology 121(6): 1517–1529, 2021 doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04657-w

Behm DG, Alizadeh S, Hadjizedah Anvar S, Hanlon C, Ramsay E, Mahmoud MMI, Whitten J, Fisher JP, Prieske O, Chaabene H, Granacher U, Steele J. Non-local muscle fatigue effects on muscle strength, power, and endurance in healthy individuals: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Sports Medicine 51:1893-1907, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01456-3.

Savoury R, Kibele A, Behm DG. Methodological Issues with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Enhancing Muscle Strength and Endurance: A Narrative Review. Journal of Cognitive Enhancementhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s41465-021-00222-7

Behm DG, Carter TB. Empathetic Factors and Influences on Physical Performance: A topical Review. Frontiers in Psychology-Movement Science and Sport Psychologyhttps://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.686262

Behm DG, Kay AD, Trajano GS, Alizadeh S, Blazevich AJ. Effects of stretching on injury risk reduction and balance. Journal of Clinical Exercise Physiology 10(3):1–11, 2021

Behm DG, Kay AD, Trajano GS, Alizadeh S, Blazevich AJ. Effects of acute and chronic stretching on pain control. Journal of Clinical Exercise Physiology to be published December 2021

Behm DG, Carter TB. Effect of exercise-related factors on the perception of time. Frontiers of Exercise Physiology 11:770 2020 doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00770

Behm DG, Alizadeh S, Hadjizadeh Anvar S, Ibrahim Mahmoud MM, Ramsay E, Hanlon C, Cheatham S, Foam Rolling Prescription: A Clinical Commentary. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 34(11)/3301–3308, 2020

Behm DG, Wilke J Do Self-Myofascial Release Devices Release Myofascia? Rolling Mechanisms: A Narrative Review. Sports Medicine. June 29, 2019.

Boullasa, D, del Rosso S, Behm DG, Foster C. Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance sports: A review. European Journal of Sports Science. March 1, 2018.

Lesinski M, Prieske O, Beurskens R, Behm DG, Granacher U Effects of drop height and surface instability on neuromuscular activation during drop jumps. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine Science and Sports in press 2016

Granacher U, Lesinski M, Büsch D, Muehlbauer T, Prieske O, Puta C, Gollhofer A, Behm DG. Effects of Resistance Training in Youth Athletes on Muscular Fitness and Athletic Performance: A Conceptual Model for Long-Term Athlete Development. Frontiers in Physiology (Exercise Physiology) 2016 doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00164

Hammami R, Chaouachi A, Makhlouf I, Granacher U, Behm DG. Associations between static and dynamic balance and muscle strength, and power in male youth of different maturity status. In press Pediatric Exercise Science 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/pes.2015-0231

Hammami R, Granacher U, Makhlouf I, Behm DG, Chaouachi A. Sequencing effects of balance and plyometric training on physical performance in youth soccer athletes. In press Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2016

Del Rosso S, dos Santos Barros E, Tonello L, Oleivera-Silva, I, Behm DG. Foster C, Boullosa D., Can pacing be regulated by post-activation potentiation? Insights from a 30 km trial in half-marathon runners. PLOS ONE in press 2016

Dhahbi W, Chamari K, Chèze L, Behm DG, Chaouachi A. External Responsiveness and Intra-session Reliability of the Rope-Climbing Test. In press Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2016

Šambaher N, Aboodarda SJ, Behm DG. Bilateral knee extensor fatigue modulates force and responsiveness of the corticospinal pathway in the non-fatigued, dominant elbow flexors. Frontiers of Neuroscience 10:18: 2016 doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.000182016

Cavanaugh T, Quigley PJ, Hodgson D, Reid JC, Behm DG. Kinesiology tape or compression sleeve applied to the thigh does not improve balance or muscle activation before or following fatigue. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in press 2016

Behm DG, Cavanaugh T, Quigley PJ, Reid JC, Monteiro Nardi PS; Marchetti PH Acute bouts of upper and lower body static and dynamic stretching increase non-local joint range of motion. European Journal of Applied Physiology 116(1): 241-249, 2016 DOI: 10.1007/s00421-015-3270-1

Behm DG, Blazevich AJ, Kay AD, McHugh M. Systematic Review: Acute Effects of Muscle Stretching on Physical Performance, Range of Motion and Injury Incidence in Healthy Active Individuals. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism 40(1): 2016 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2015-0235 4

Makhlouf I, Chaouachi A, Manzi V, Laurencelle L, Behm DG, Castagna C. The Effect of Sequencing Strength and Endurance training in Young Male Soccer Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Journal 30(3): 841–850, 2016

Šambaher N, Aboodarda SJ, Silvey DB, Button DC, Behm DG The effect of an ankle compression garment on fatigue and performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 30(2): 326-335, 2016

Chaouachi A, Padulo J, Kasmi S, Ben Othmen A, Chatra M, Behm DG. Unilateral Static and Dynamic Hamstrings Stretching Increases Contralateral Hip Flexion Range of Motion. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging Journal 2016 doi: 10.1111/cpf.12263

Prieske O, Muehlbauer T, Borde R, Gube M, Bruhn S, Behm DG, Granacher U. Neuromuscular and athletic performance following core strength training in elite youth soccer: Role of instability. Scand J Med Sci Sports: 26: 48-56, 2016 doi: 10.1111/sms.12403

Recent media articles

Foam rolling: benefits, protocol, and scientific evidence with David Behm

Professor David Behm has published multiple studies on the topic of foam rolling. In this interview he gives a complete overview of the scientific evidence in foam rolling and its practical implications in terms of protocols, use cases and what sorts of benefits triathletes can expect from foam rolling.

Fitbit : 4 Ways to Get More Out Of Your Foam Rolling Session

It's likely to be the thing that falls towards the bottom of your must-do exercise list: getting deep into that post-workout stretch. But runners, walkers, coaches, and physical therapists often tell you to foam roll for good reason: Rolling can take down next-day (and day-after-that) muscle soreness, and it can boost your range of motion.

The mechanistic mysteries of foam rolling (Lower Extremity Review)

As the popularity of foam rollers escalates, researchers are scrambling to document the therapy’s effects and tease out the possible underlying mechanisms, which now appear to be more complicated than the earliest investigators had hypothesized.

Winner is served - Cardio bulletin (Men's Health)

Serving in vollyball can be nerve-racking. Stop worrying: Smashing a vollyball won't help you score, but neither will babying it.

Warming trend (Globe and Mail)

Research Shows that your pre-sport warm-up is doing more than just prepping your muscles.

Research investigates self treatment for sore muscles 
(HKR website and HKR Connection)

Muscular dysfunction can be caused by acute or chronic stressors such as tightness, overuse, inflammation, physical trauma, or structural imbalances causing hardening fibrous connections between the layers of myofascia (a tough sheet of connective tissue that wraps around and through all of our muscles and assists in the attachment of muscle to bone).

HKR goes global
 (The Gazette)

Dr. David Behm has a map outside his office with several different coloured pins in it spreading across the globe. It's a record of the international and national collaborations that researchers in Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) have taken part in, and includes Turkey, Tunisia and Hong Kong, just to name a few.

Massaging your way to better health (The Gazette)

Improving your health with massage dates back to early civilization and more recently has been used to prevent sport injuries. Massage has also been used as part of exercise warm up to help increase flexibility. But, people don't always take the time to warm up before we exercise and not a lot of studies have been done on the physiological benefits and mechanisms of massage.

Research focuses on curbing musculoskeletal disorders (MUN Today)

An adequate degree of flexibility is the key to decreased injury, impairment and musculoskeletal disorders not only for elite athletes but also a growing number of sedentary individuals, said a leading researcher from the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation.

To Germany and beyond(The Gazette)

Josh Howard passed the poster on David Behm's door several hundred times until one day curiosity took over and he popped in and enquired about the exchange program to Germany. That enquiry has lead Howard, a physical education student, to Kassel, Germany this summer and a new outlook on life.

On the ball for greater balance? (Globe and Mail)

The question: Should I be using Bosu balls and wobble boards to improve my balance?

The answer: No gym is complete these days without an assortment of oddly shaped and surprisingly expensive balance-training gadgets. Unlike many fads, this one really does have its roots in solid medical research: Wobble boards earned their stripes decades ago in aiding the rehabilitation of ankle sprains.

Is loud music a driving hazard? (Globe and Mail

Back in 1989, the U.S. military were trying to force drug lord Manuel Noriega's surrender as he sought asylum at the papal embassy in Panama. How does that relate to some dude playing club tunes too loud at a stoplight in Windsor?

Should kids be pumping iron? (Globe and Mail)

Pint-sized tots are pumping iron at the CrossFit Calgary gym. Kids as young as 6 are doing curls with two-pound dumbbells, while their older peers, 8 and 9, are doing the same with five-pound weights under the watchful eyes of CrossFit Kids' certified instructors.

To stretch or not to stretch (New York Times blog)

Is it time, once again, to stretch? For decades, many of us stretched before a workout, usually by reaching toward our toes or leaning against a wall to elongate our hamstrings, then holding that pose without moving until it felt uncomfortable, a technique known as static stretching. Most people, including scientists and entire generations of elementary-school P.E. teachers, believed that static stretching lengthened muscles and increased flexibility, making people better able to perform athletically.

Additional Information
Professional associations