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A Dynamic Warm-up Model Increases Quadriceps Strength and Hamstring Flexibility

Aguilar, Alain J.; DiStefano, Lindsay J.; Brown, Cathleen N.; Herman, Daniel C.; Guskiewicz, Kevin M.; Padua, Darin A.

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 4 - p 1130–1141
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e58b6
Original Research

Abstract: Aguilar, AJ, DiStefano, LJ, Brown, CN, Herman, DC, Guskiewicz, KM, and Padua, DA. A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 1130–1141, 2012—Research suggests that static stretching can negatively influence muscle strength and power and may result in decreased functional performance. The dynamic warm-up (DWU) is a common alternative to static stretching before physical activity, but there is limited research investigating the effects of a DWU. The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of a DWU and static stretching warm-up (SWU) on muscle flexibility, strength, and vertical jump using a randomized controlled trial design. Forty-five volunteers were randomly assigned into a control (CON), SWU, or DWU group. All participants rode a stationary bicycle for 5 minutes and completed a 10-minute warm-up protocol. During this protocol, the DWU group performed dynamic stretching and running, the SWU group performed static stretching, and the CON group rested. Dependent variables were measured immediately before and after the warm-up protocol. A digital inclinometer measured flexibility (degrees) for the hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexor muscles. An isokinetic dynamometer measured concentric and eccentric peak torque (N·m/kg) for the hamstrings and quadriceps. A force plate was used to measure vertical jump height (meters) and power (watts). In the DWU group, there was a significant increase in hamstring flexibility (pretest: 26.4 ± 13.5°, posttest: 16.9 ± 9.4°; p < .0001) and eccentric quadriceps peak torque (pretest: 2.49 ± 0.83 N·m/kg, posttest: 2.78 ± 0.69 N·m/kg; p = 0.04). The CON and SWU did not significantly affect any flexibility, strength, or vertical jump measures (p > 0.05). The DWU significantly improved eccentric quadriceps strength and hamstrings flexibility, whereas the SWU did not facilitate any positive or negative changes in muscle flexibility, strength, power, or vertical jump. Therefore, the DWU may be a better preactivity warm-up choice than an SWU.

1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

2Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

3Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Address correspondence to Lindsay J. DiStefano, lindsay.distefano@uconn.edu.

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.