Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

James R. Whitehead


Recent research has revealed that static stretching (SS) warm-ups may attenuate power performance compared to other warm-up protocols, but most studies have focused on dry land modalities. PURPOSE: To examine the effects of an SS warm-up versus a dynamic warm-up (DW) on sprint performance in competitive swimmers. Specifically, it was hypothesized that SS prior to a 50-meter sprint would attenuate results compared to DW. METHOD: Sixteen NCAA Division 1 swimmers (5 female, 11 male) participated. These swimmers had recently completed their collegiate season. In a randomized order crossover design, the participants swam a 50-meter freestyle sprint after two different warm-up protocols that were designed to mirror typical practice among competitive swimmers, while allowing any practically significant experimental effects from the SS versus DW contrasts to occur: Specifically, the warm-ups were Static Stretch + Swim (SS/S), and Dynamic Warm-up + Swim (DW/S). In each case the contrasting experimental warm-up exercises (nine static stretches versus nine dynamic movements) were immediately followed by a typical swimming warm-up (about 20-minutes). The two timed 50-meter sprints took place 5-minutes after the SS/S and DW/S warm-ups were completed, and they were conducted three days apart under simulated competitive conditions using standard starting commands, and electronic timing equipment. RESULTS: Separate analyses (paired t-tests) were conducted to test for treatment effects over the first 25 meters, the second 25 meters, and the overall 50-meter sprint time. There were no significant differences between mean times in any of those comparisons.

Examination of individual data revealed that the number of swimmers who were slower after SS/S was approximately equal to the number slower after DW/S. CONCLUSION:

Unlike the detrimental effects shown in other performance modalities, SS in warm-up did not attenuate sprint swimming performance in this study. It is possible that the swimming warm-up done subsequently to the SS or DW component may have blunted any effects of the SS. Thus, future research might minimize the swimming component of warm-up to allow any effects of SS versus DW to emerge, and it might be preferable to conduct the study during the swimmers' competitive season.