Finally, 1-way ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of stretch treatment on sit-and-reach flexibility (p < 0.001; Table 3). Post hoc analyses revealed that both SS and DS resulted in significantly greater flexibility compared to NS (SS: p = 0.002; DS: p < 0.001). No difference in sit-and-reach scores was observed between SS and DS (p = 0.53).
The purpose of this investigation was to compare the effects of a warm-up including static vs DS on jump height and reaction time over a series of CMJs. Additionally, we sought to determine whether different stretch treatments would affect hamstring flexibility. Using a repeated-measures design, the results revealed that CMJ height was significantly higher after DS than after NS (3.9% improvement) or SS (2.6% improvement). These results are consistent with those of previous research that reported increases in CMJ height after a warm-up consisting of progressive-resistance half-squats (13). Additional studies have revealed that warm-ups that included a combination of jogging, DS and practice jumps resulted in higher CMJ height than warm-ups that included SS (26,33). Dynamic stretching has also been shown to improve sprint times and agility drill performance. Little and Williams (15) reported that lower-body dynamic exercises resulted in reduced 10- and 20-m sprint times and a reduced zig-zag drill time but no change in CMJ performance. Additional research suggests that dynamic exercise performed at a jogging pace can improve sprint performance; however, comparable improvements were not observed when these exercises were performed while stationary (12). Collectively, these previous studies and the present findings suggest that DS exercises, particularly those performed at a jogging pace as opposed to stationary, can improve performance in measures of power such as sprinting and jumping.
Limitations of this study include the fact that all participants were recreationally active but participated in different sports and trained at different intensity levels, ranging from 30 minutes of activity, 3 d wk−1 to 2 hours of intense activity, most days of the week. Additionally, some reported stretching regularly after exercising, whereas others reported no regular stretching practice. Some participants also reported that the dynamic stretch treatment, designed based on a typical collegiate-level warm-up, was intense enough to potentially cause fatigue. Participants' rating of their level of exertion during DS ranged from a 3 (“Moderate”) to 6 (“Strong” to “Very Strong”) on the Borg CR10 scale (7).
Our study, in combination with previous work, suggests that DS before exercise can provide a performance advantage in jump height, sprint speed, and agility. Additionally, our results provide additional evidence that potential performance deficits incurred after SS may not easily be overcome through additional activity. In designing effective warm-up routines for athletes requiring strength, speed, or power, coaches and strength and conditioning professionals should prescribe a general aerobic warm-up followed by DS that increases muscle temperature and blood flow, while providing the opportunity for sport-specific movement rehearsal. SS immediately before activity should be avoided because it confers no performance benefit. A well-designed warm-up including DS can serve the dual purposes of enhancing acute flexibility while also priming the athlete for peak performance.
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