• The acute effects of static-stretching, dynamic exercise and combined warm-up protocols on the speed, agility and muscular power of trained youth rugby union players

      Bailey, Paul (University of Chester, 2008-09-30)
      Several minutes of low intensity aerobic exercise followed by static stretching is typically administered and considered the norm for youth performers. While the active aerobic component of a warm-up has been demonstrated to improve short term, intermediate and long term performance, scientific evidence supporting the performance attributes of warm ups including static stretching are sparse. As a result there has been a growing interest in warm-up procedures that involve dynamic exercise. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to examine the differing acute effects of a dynamic exercise warm-up with that of a static stretching warm up and a combination warm up (static and dynamic) on the sports specific actions of youth rugby union players; namely speed, agility and muscular power. 20 male youth (age 12-13) rugby union players participated in a Vertical Jump, ‘L run’ and 20 meters sprint after three different warm-up protocols. All sessions were administered in a random order with at least 3 days apart. Before testing, participants performed 5 min of walking/jogging followed by one of the following warm-up protocols: a) six static stretches (2 × 15 s) designed to replicate a typical youth team procedure, or b) ten low to high-intensity dynamic movements (2 × 15 meters), or c) 5 low to high-intensity dynamic movements (2 × 15 meters) interspersed with 5 static stretches for the major muscle groups (2 × 15 s). After each warm-up routine, participants performed the selected tests designed to measure muscular power, speed, and agility. Each subject completed all test with each warm up protocol within 21 days. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that on all tests, except 20 meters sprint , the dynamic exercise warm-up significantly (p <0.017) improved performance over the static stretching and combination protocols. Performance on the 20 meters sprint was significantly improved after the dynamic protocol than after the static but not the combination protocol.The results of this study indicate that pre-event dynamic exercise might be more beneficial than both pre-event static stretching and combination warm up protocols for preparing for performance in youth rugby union players and youth sports of a similar nature.