Why A Dynamic Warm-up?

by Shawn Kuster BEd, MKin, CSCS

It is still very common to see coaches and athletes include static stretching as part of their warm-up. This stems from the underlying thought that static stretching before training reduces the risk of injury. Charles Poliquin stated that there is a low relationship (r=0.42) between static flexibility and dynamic flexibility. Since sport movement is typically dynamic in nature, it appears the athletes would be best served by incorporating dynamic movements into their warm-up. According to Angela Calder of the Australian Institute of Sport we should look at functional flexibility to develop efficient movement patterns for a given sport rather than developing flexibility for injury prevention.

Facts Regarding Static Stretching

• The Eastern Block countries have not included static stretching as part of their warm-up since 1976.
• The Australians began to eliminate static stretching from their warm-ups in 1989.
• Although static stretching can increase passive flexibility there is no research that shows static stretching improves the dynamic flexibility required in sport movements, therefore does not appropriately prepare the muscles.
• Recent studies have shown no relationship between static stretching prior to exercise and injuries sustained. In fact, inefficient movements are a major contributor to injuries not flexibility.
• Some studies have shown that static stretching may actually increase an athlete’s risk of injury.
• Studies have shown that a muscle that has been stretched statically takes a longer time to develop force resulting in a loss of power. Power is one of the most important factors for performance in many sports.
• Static stretching immediately after exercise may interfere with the recovery process.
• Please keep in mind that although static stretching may not be the best tool for a warm-up, it still is very valuable for increasing flexibility, its use must be carefully planned into the training schedule just as you would plan your strength and power training.

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Courtesy of Sport Medicine & Science Council of Saskatchewan

One thought on “Why A Dynamic Warm-up?

  1. I have coached Judo and Wrestling, and still butt heads about this. Old habits are hard for some to break. My son and I attended one of your training sessions before the 2005 jr. nationals, no static stretching. I was stoked. My sensei agreed, for awhile. Then, back to strrreeettcchhhiinnggg into the pain zone.

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