Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury

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.

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Acknowledgements

There was no grant support for this work. There is no conflict of interest. The authors would like to thank Dr LaJuan Hutchinson for helpful comments and discussion about the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dr Krista Woods.

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Woods, K., Bishop, P. & Jones, E. Warm-Up and Stretching in the Prevention of Muscular Injury. Sports Med 37, 1089–1099 (2007). https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737120-00006

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Keywords

  • Muscle Injury
  • Muscle Temperature
  • Muscle Strain
  • Hamstring Injury
  • Static Stretch