No effect of muscle stretching within a full, dynamic warm-up on athletic performance
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Purpose This study aimed to examine the effects of static and dynamic stretching routines performed as part of a comprehensive warm-up on flexibility and sprint running, jumping, and change of direction tests in team sport athletes. Methods A randomized, controlled, crossover study design with experimenter blinding was conducted. On separate days, 20 male team sport athletes completed a comprehensive warm-up routine. After a low-intensity warm-up, a 5-s static stretch (5S), a 30-s static stretch (30S; 3 × 10-s stretches), a 5-repetition (per muscle group) dynamic stretch (DYN), or a no-stretch (NS) protocol was completed; stretches were done on seven lower body and two upper body regions. This was followed by test-specific practice progressing to maximum intensity. A comprehensive test battery assessing intervention effect expectations as well as flexibility, vertical jump, sprint running, and change of direction outcomes was then completed in a random order. Results There were no effects of stretch condition on test performances. Before the study, 18/20 participants nominated DYN as the most likely to improve performance and 15/20 nominated NS as least likely. Immediately before testing, NS was rated less "effective" (4.0 ± 2.2 on a 10-point scale) than 5S, 30S, and DYN (5.3-6.4). Nonetheless, these ratings were not related to test performances. Conclusion Participants felt they were more likely to perform well when stretching was performed as part of the warm-up, irrespective of stretch type. However, no effect of muscle stretching was observed on flexibility and physical function compared with no stretching. On the basis of the current evidence, the inclusion of short durations of either static or dynamic stretching is unlikely to affect sprint running, jumping, or change of direction performance when performed as part of a comprehensive physical preparation routine.