This Month in Sports Rehabilitation: Dynamic Warm-up and Landing (November 2010)
Recently the UW Health Sports Medicine Center provided a community education workshop related to injuries in the female athlete.
Historically, stretching prior to sports or activity has been thought to be necessary to improve performance and prevent injury. New research questions this long-held belief.
Several studies have shown that sprinting and jumping performance improve more when preceded by a dynamic warm-up program rather than static (stationary) stretching. Dynamic warm-up programs are designed to increase blood flow to working muscles, improve dynamic flexibility and prepare the neuromuscular system for complex movements.
In addition to improving performance in explosive power movements like sprinting and jumping, dynamic warm-up likely improves performance in activities requiring precision and accuracy and decreases the number of ACL injuries, hamstring strains and other lower-extremity sports injuries.
Injury prevention programs address common mechanical and neuromuscular faults, including:
- Landing with straighter legs (less banding in the hips and knees)
- Landing with greater knee valgus (knees buckle inward)
- Cutting and deceleration strategies with improper biomechanics (poor upper body posture and larger decelerating steps)
- Improper activation of leg muscles with landing (tendency to use quadriceps versus hamstrings)
Implementing a prevention program has been shown to decrease peak landing forces by 22 percent and reduce ACL injuries by 88 percent in younger athletes. While no program can prevent all injuries, including jumping drills, sprinting and change of direction practice with specific movement cues can help improve faulty movement patterns and reduce the risk of non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes.
The dynamic warm-up and landing drills seen in the videos above are commonly used in our Performance Spectrum program, a group rehabilitation program for athletes with lower extremity injuries.