Surface electromyographic assessment of the effect of dynamic activity and dynamic activity with static stretching of the gastrocnemius on vertical jump performance.J Strength Cond Res. 2008 May; 22(3):787-93.JS
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of dynamic activity and dynamic activity/static stretching of the gastrocnemius muscle on vertical jump (VJ) performance. Additionally, muscle activity was recorded using electromyography. Thirteen healthy adults (7 men and 6 women) with a mean age of 26 +/- 4 years served as subjects. The average jump height and muscle activity from 3 separate maximal VJ attempts were performed at the start of each session to be used as baseline measures using the Kistler force plate and the Noraxon telemetry EMG unit. Subjects then performed 1 of 2 protocols: dynamic activity only or dynamic activity with static stretching. Each protocol was followed by 3 maximal VJ trials. Average VJ height was analyzed using a 2 (time: pre, post) x 2 (prejump protocol: dynamic activity, dynamic activity + stretching) analysis of variance with repeated measures on both factors. A paired-samples t-test was used to compare the intraday difference scores for EMG activity between the 2 conditions. Jump height was not influenced by the interaction of pre-post and protocol (p = 0.0146. There was no difference for the main effects of time (p = 0.274) and pre-jump protocol (p = 0.595). Gastrocnemius muscle activity was likewise not different for the 2 prejump protocols (p = 0.413). The results from this study imply that the use of static stretching in combination with dynamic activity of the gastrocnemius muscle does not appear to have an adverse affect on VJ height performance. The practical importance concerns the warm-up routine that coaches and athletes employ; that is, they may want to consider including an aerobic component when statically stretching the gastrocnemius immediately prior to a vertical jumping event.