What does your personal warm up routine entail? For me, I like to get a good sweat going by either jogging or pumping out some calories on the stationary bike, followed by some dynamic stretching. However, when I was playing soccer my warm up consisted of a lot of static stretching to make sure I felt nice and loose. Two different warm up variations that accomplished two different goals. Before I get into goals, I want to define what dynamic and static stretching means.
Static stretching is where a muscle is held at a minimal to moderate range of motion for 30-60 seconds at a time. Dynamic stretching are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position.
Research has shown that static stretching decreases the risk of muscle strains during a workout/activity. However, research has shown that it can also lead to a decrease in strength, power and speed. Research has also shown that the main culprit for this decrease is LONG DURATION static stretching. LONG DURATION has been defined as a static stretch for 45 seconds or more. Studies have shown that dynamic stretching can lead to increases in strength, power, and speed by helping to stimulate the muscles to be able to activate and produce force by sending signals from the brain to the muscle fibers and connective tissues in that area to prepare to do work.
What does this all mean? In your warm up, I suggest focusing on dynamic stretching that will prime your muscle groups to do work without suffering any decrease in performance. If you feel particularly tight in a certain muscle group I suggest picking one specific static stretch and holding it for 30 seconds or less to avoid any decrease in performance.