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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of baseline levels of flexibility and vertical jump ability on performance following different volumes of static stretching and potentiating exercises in elite gymnasts

Olyvia Donti, Charilaos Tsolakis, Gregory C Bogdanis
Journal of Sports Science & Medicine 2014, 13 (1): 105-13
24570613
This study examined the effects of baseline flexibility and vertical jump ability on straight leg raise range of motion (ROM) and counter-movement jump performance (CMJ) following different volumes of stretching and potentiating exercises. ROM and CMJ were measured after two different warm-up protocols involving static stretching and potentiating exercises. Three groups of elite athletes (10 male, 14 female artistic gymnasts and 10 female rhythmic gymnasts) varying greatly in ROM and CMJ, performed two warm-up routines. One warm-up included short (15 s) static stretching followed by 5 tuck jumps, while the other included long static stretching (30 s) followed by 3x5 tuck jumps. ROM and CMJ were measured before, during and for 12 min after the two warm-up routines. Three-way ANOVA showed large differences between the three groups in baseline ROM and CMJ performance. A type of warm-up x time interaction was found for both ROM (p = 0.031) and CMJ (p = 0.016). However, all athletes, irrespective of group, responded in a similar fashion to the different warm-up protocols for both ROM and CMJ, as indicated from the lack of significant interactions for group (condition x group, time x group or condition x time x group). In the short warm-up protocol, ROM was not affected by stretching, while in the long warm-up protocol ROM increased by 5.9% ± 0.7% (p = 0.001) after stretching. Similarly, CMJ remained unchanged after the short warm-up protocol, but increased by 4.6 ± 0.9% (p = 0.012) 4 min after the long warm- up protocol, despite the increased ROM. It is concluded that the initial levels of flexibility and CMJ performance do not alter the responses of elite gymnasts to warm-up protocols differing in stretching and potentiating exercise volumes. Furthermore, 3 sets of 5 tuck jumps result in a relatively large increase in CMJ performance despite an increase in flexibility in these highly-trained athletes. Key PointsThe initial levels of flexibility and vertical jump ability have no effect on straight leg raise range of motion (ROM) and counter-movement jump performance (CMJ) of elite gymnasts following warm-up protocols differing in stretching and potentiating exercise volumesStretching of the main leg muscle groups for only 15 s has no effect on ROM of elite gymnastsIn these highly-trained athletes, one set of 5 tuck jumps during warm-up is not adequate to increase CMJ performance, while 3 sets of 5 tuck jumps result in a relatively large increase in CMJ performance (by 4.6% above baseline), despite a 5.9% increase in flexibility due to the 30 s stretching exercises.

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