chapter  59
The Effects of Different Modes of Stretching during Warm-up on High Speed Motor Capacities in Professional Footballers
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The inclusion of static stretching as part of a pre-exercise warm up routine has been commonplace in a multitude of sports, including soccer. This stemmed from the belief that static stretching will aid performance and decrease injury risk (Wydra, 1997). However, new research has challenged some long held concepts about common stretching practices. In particular, research suggests that a regime of stretching provides an acute inhibition of maximal force production by the stretched muscle group (Walsh and Wilson, 1997; Kokkonen et al., 1998; Church et al., 2001; Jones and Surlive, 2001; Nelson et al., 2001 a; Nelson et al., 2001b; Young and Elliot, 2001). Such findings have prompted recommendations that static stretching be omitted or be replaced by dynamic stretching, during warm-up (Murphy, 1994; Mann and Whedon, 2001; Anderson, 2003). Although well intentioned, such recommendations may be premature, as many aspects relating to the effects of static stretching remain unclear. Large discrepancies between warm-up protocols used in a sport environment and those used in research studies, and problems inherent in performance measures, indicate further research is warranted. Furthermore, despite the widespread use of dynamic stretching, scant research exists on the on the effects of this mode of stretching on performance parameters.