The subject of stretching and warming-up has been increas- ingly debated following the publication of several pieces of research questioning its role in sport and exercise. The evidence however continues to support the role of a warm- up in achieving optimal preparation for the activities required and these goals will differ depending on the differ- ing requirements of strength, power and flexibility for each sport. Where you have the support of a strength and condi- tion coach, physical therapists can play an important part in liasing with this specialist to ensure a safe and effective warm-up taking into account any physical restrictions of certain individuals due to injuries. It is important for the physical therapist to get involved in the objectives of the dynamic warm-up as these can significantly affect an individual’s performance.
Introduction A warm-up prior to exercise and sport has been around for as long as sport itself and according to lore and legend this warm-up should include a range of static stretches. It is argued that a warm-up with stretching prepares for, and enhances subsequent performance and prevents injury. The physiological performance benefits include: 1. Increased body and muscle temperature 2. Increased metabolic rate and the activation of specific energetic pathways 3. Increased blood flow 4. Reduced muscle viscosity 5. Activation of neural pathways
Performance improvement can also be psychological in that mental rehearsal and last minute tactical adjustments can be planned and implemented. Historically, the purpose of stretching during the warm-up was primarily to prevent injury and contribute to the physical preparation (1).
A number of researchers have questioned the protective role of stretching immediately before exercise or sport. A survey of 6,000