Our prior posts on dynamic warm ups have highlighted the benefits of these exercises on injury prevention and sports performance. Conversely, static stretching has been associated with decreased performance due to a reduction in the ability of the stretched muscle to contract and perform dynamically during sport movements. Clearly, the best option for both pro and amateur athletes is to incorporate dynamic exercises designed to gradually increase cardiac workload, prepare the nervous and muscular systems for the demands of upcoming activities, and improve performance.
Recently a study was conducted examining the impact of a dynamic warm up (pictured above) compared to non stretching in middle and long distance runners on upcoming running performance (Yamaguchi et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2015). The dynamic group performed 1 set of 10 repetitions of each exercise covering all major muscle groups in the lower extremity. These athletes were then tested for time to exhaustion when running at 90% of their VO2 max. The authors noted improved time to exhaustion and total running distance in the dynamic group compared to the non stretching group. Unfortunately, this was a small sample size and the authors did not include a third group performing static stretching. The authors concluded that a dynamic warm up can improve running performance in middle to long distance races.
Contact your local Physical Therapy experts on how a dynamic warm up can improve your performance and reduce your injury risk.