Static Stretching during Warm-up for Elite Athletes

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Should static stretching be solely used during a warm-up for elite athletes?

Warming-up is a universally acknowledged and accepted practice (B. Young & G. Behm, 2002). A warm-up is a period of time an athlete, beginner, intermediate and elite all use in order to prepare themselves before a training, performance or event. The objective of warming-up before physical activity is to prepare the athlete physically and mentally to perform at their optimum; it allows the temperature of your muscles to rise and aids in preventing injury (Perry, 2011). In warm-ups before training or competition, static stretching is widely recognised and used to increase the range of motion and prevent injury (B. Young & G. Behm, 2002). Although traditionally static stretching has been used, many athletes and teams have now combined it with dynamic stretching during their warm-up (Tollison, 2010).

Finding and using the optimum type of stretching during a warm-up is important to help benefit elite athlete performances. According to Tollison, preventing injury and enhancing performance are the two main reasons static stretching has been practiced over the years. However, a growing amount of research has implied that static stretching can actually impair muscle performance. This has lead athletes and coaches around the world to reconsider what type of stretching an optimal warm-up would consist of. ?????It is in the best interest of an elite athlete to maximise their performance.

Static stretching is used to stretch the muscles while the body is at rest. It involves placing a muscle in its most elongated position and holding for at least 30 seconds (Tollison, 2010). The major benefit of static stretching is that it increases flexibility and range of motion in the joints. Flexibility is important because having a lack of flexibility can make your movements become slower and not as fluid. Increased flexibility makes you less vulnerable to muscle strains, ligament strains and...
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