Dynamic Warm-up vs. Stretching

Larry Starr at Newk's
Larry Starr at Newk’s
Larry Starr, professional athletic trainer for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the John Newcombe Fantasy Camp, writes, “Stretching prior to playing has always been a mainstay in tennis and all athletic activities. It was felt that you needed to ‘stretch’ the muscles to prepare them for whatever sport you were to undertake, including tennis. But the current philosophy among professional trainers is different.”

“The research has demonstrated many times that stretching a ‘cold’ muscle or tendon is not only NOT beneficial but can actually cause injury. Stretching is best completed after playing or any sports activities.”

The Dynamic Warm-up

“That does not mean that we should not do something prior to engaging in sports. I believe that you have to get ‘the big muscles’ ready for action. This is the role of dynamic warm-up.”

According to Larry, the following exercises can be used while you are waiting to get on the court:

1. Arm circles – 10 times both way.
2. Arms criss-cross – 10 times both way.
3. Arms front/back – 10 times both way.
4. Arms wipe-on/wipe-off – 10 times both way.
5. Trust twist – 10 times both way.
6. Windmills – alternate toe touch – left hand to right foot and vice-versa – 10 times both way.
7. Knee to the chest – 10 times both legs.
8. Butt kicks (heel to the buttocks) – 10 times both legs.
9. Leg swings (front to back) – 10 times both legs.
10. Leg swings ( side to side) – 10 times both legs.
11. Front lunges – 10 times both legs.
12. Side lunges – 10 times both legs.
13. Squats – 10 times.
14. Toe bounces – 10 times toes straight, 10 times toes in, 10 times toes out.
15. Jumping jacks

Baechle, T. R. & Earle, R.W., editors, 2008. Essentials of strength training and conditioning / National Strength and Conditioning Association. 3rd ed. Human Kinetics, 2008, Champaign, IL

Brown, S. (2009) Dynamic warm-up and post-workout recovery methods. Healthy Living.

Thanks to Larry for this solid advice.
Now, the question is: can I change my habit of over ten years of stretching BEFORE I play tennis?

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com

5 thoughts on “Dynamic Warm-up vs. Stretching

  1. George — if Larry Starr’s stretching had any beneficial effect at all, he’d be taller.

    Marc – be nice (or you won’t get treatment at camp)! george

  2. I think you should shut the comments down with Marc Segan’s response, George. It is priceless.

    Marty … As a relatively short kid, I used to hang from a bar trying to get taller . George

  3. If you review the medical literature stretching is consistently associated with an increased risk of sports injury. The book “Body by Science” by Doug McGruff MD devotes a whole chapter to the issue with numerous studies including a large one done by the C DC cited. He suggests that professional athletes have traditionally stretched and achieved athletic success. He feels this more likely due to the fact that professional sports attracts genetically gifted individuals and this is the reason for their success, not stretching. I feel stretching done gently is probably not hazardous and can have placebo effects that are positive.

    Paul – As a guy who has been very “tightly muscled” his whole life, i find stretching/yoga really makes me just feel better. thanks. george.

  4. Please do not take my recommendations that I am anti-stretching. My main emphasis is when stretching is done – post activity or when the muscle-tendon complex is already warmed up. I am a great believer in stretching at the proper time and proper way. Actually, I am a daily stretcher using Active Isolated Stretching that incorporates a rope to assist the stretch, hold for 2 sec and repeat 10 times. This technique is very popular with elite runners and tri-athletes. Yoga and pilates has a definite place in sports including tennis.

    As for Segan’s comment, be careful when you get on my table at Newks!

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