Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury

Authors: Woods, Krista; Bishop, Phillip; Jones, Eric

Source: Sports Medicine, 1 January 2007, vol. 37, no. 12, pp. 1089-1099(11)

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Abstract:

Muscular injury is one of the major problems facing today’s athletes, both recreational and professional. Injuries to skeletal muscle represent >30% of the injuries seen in sports medicine clinics. As a result, it is imperative to utilise the most effective means to aid in deterring these injuries. However, there are conflicting opinions regarding methods of reducing muscular injury through warm-up and stretching techniques.

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the potential of a warm-up and/or stretching routine in deterring muscular injury during physical activity. The article examines a variety of studies regarding warm-up, stretching and muscular injury. The article also provides a definition of warm-up and stretching to provide clarity on this topic. Many of the differences within previous research were due to conflicting definitions. We also address this issue by examining research on muscular injury and physical adaptations to muscular injury and training.

This article provides contradictory evidence to conclusions that have been drawn in previous review articles, which determined that warm-up and/or stretching protocols did not deter injury. The research included here conveys that certain techniques and protocols have shown a positive outcome on deterring injuries. As a result, a warm-up and stretching protocol should be implemented prior to physical activity. The routine should allow the stretching protocol to occur within the 15 minutes immediately prior to the activity in order to receive the most benefit. In addition, current information regarding improvements in flexibility is reviewed.

Keywords: Exercise; Muscle injury

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Human Performance Laboratory, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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