CSCS Chapter 14: Warm-Up and Flexibility Training

CSCS Study Guide Chapter 14

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Chapter Goals:

  1. Find the Components and the benefits of warm-ups.
  2. Make warm-ups that are effective.
  3. Find factors affecting flexibility.
  4. Use flexibility exercises taking advantage of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.
  5. Select and apply appropriate static and dynamic stretching methods.


  • These positive impacts on performance can happen:
    • Quicker muscle contractions and relaxations of agonist and antagonist muscles.
    • Improved rate of force development and reaction time.
    • Improved strength and power.
    • Low muscular viscous resistance.
    • Improvements in delivery of oxygen due to the Bohr effect. This is when temperatures facilitate oxygen release from both hemoglobin and myoglobin.
    • Increases in blood flow to muscles that are active.
    • Enhancements in metabolic reactions.
    • Increases in psychological preparedness for performance.
  • A warm-up structure influences possible improvements, and the warm-up needs to stay specific to the performed activity.
  • Warm-up components
    • Typically, 5 – 10 minutes of slow activity like jumping or skipping.
    • Specific warm-up periods have movements like the movements in the athlete’s sport. These should be 10 – 20 minutes. Shorter time frames are more common.
    • The warm-up should end no more than 15 minutes prior to the subsequent activity. 

Targeted and Structured Warm-ups

  • Raise, Activate and Mobilize, and Potentiate protocol. (RAMP)
    • The first RAMP phase is raising key physiological parameters and the level of skill of athletes with activities.
      • This is just like the general warm-up where we aim to elevate body temp, heart rate, respiration, blood flow, and joint fluid viscosity.
      • Use more sport-specific moves to warm up.
    • The second phase is for activating and mobilizing.
      • This is like stretching in a regular warm-up.
      • There is no link between stretching and the prevention of injuries or muscle soreness.
      • The use of dynamic stretching and mobilities give key advantages.
    • The third phase is called potentiation.
      • This is like the specific warm-up, but it focuses on intensities of activities.
      • The phase deploys sport-specific activities that progress until athletes perform at the required intensity for the next activity or session.
      • The more power necessary for sports or activities, the more important this third phase is.


  • A measure of the range of motion. There are static and dynamic components.
    • Static flexibility is the possible range of motion around a joint and its surrounding muscles during passive movements.
    • Dynamic Flexibility is the range of motion available during active movements.
  • Flexibility and Performance
    • There are perfect levels of flexibility for every activity.
    • Injury risk increases outside of this range
  • Factors Affecting Flexibility
    • Joint Structure
      • Structure determines the range of motion of a joint.
    • Age and Sex
      • Older people are typically less flexible than younger ones, and females are more flexible on average.
    • Muscle and Connective Tissue
      • Plasticity and Elasticity of connective tissues affect a range of motion.
    • Stretch Tolerance
      • People who have a greater range of motion typically show higher levels of stretch tolerance and are thus able to take higher loads.
    • Neural Control
      • The athlete’s control of their range of motion is held at the level of the central and peripheral nervous systems and less by the actual structures.
    • Resistance Training
      • Exercising through full ranges of motion and developing the agonist and antagonist muscles can stop the loss of range of motion.
    • Muscle Bulk
      • Bigger muscle may stop the movement of a joint.
    • Activity Level
      • Active people are often more flexible than those that are inactive. Activity alone doesn’t improve flexibility.
  • Frequency, Duration, and Intensity of Stretching
    • The acute effects that stretching has on a range of motion are transient.
    • For long-lasting effects, stretching programs are needed.
  • When should and Athlete Stretch?
    • Following Practice and Competition
      • Stretching after practice give improvements to range of motion due to increases in muscle temperature.
      • Stretching is needed 5 – 10 minutes after practice.
      • Stretching may decrease muscle soreness.
    • As a separate session
      • If someone needs increased flexibility, you may need additional sessions for stretching.
      • Stretching should be preceded by thorough warm-ups in this case.
      • This session can be useful for recovery the day after competing.
  • Proprioceptors and Stretching
    • Stretch Reflex
      • This occurs when muscle spindles are activated when doing rapid stretching movements.
      • This needs to be avoided when stretching.
    • Autogenic inhibition and reciprocal inhibition
      • This is accomplished with active contraction prior to passive stretch of the same muscle.
      • Reciprocal inhibition is accomplished by contracting the muscle that oppose the muscle being stretched passively.
      • Both reflexes result from the stimulation of Golgi tendon organs that cause relaxation of reflexive muscle.

Types of Stretching

  • Static Stretch
    • Slow, constant stretch with the final position held for 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Ballistic Stretch
    • This involves active muscular efforts and the use of bouncing type movements where the end position isn’t held.
  • Dynamic Stretch
    • This stretch is a type of functionally based exercise stretching that uses generic sport and specific sport movements.
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretch (PNF)
    • Hold Relax
      • Passive pre-stretch of ten seconds, hold for six seconds, and a thirty-second passive stretch.
    • Contract Relax
      • Passive pre-stretch of ten seconds, concentric action through a full range of motion, and thirty-second passive stretching.
    • Hold Relax With Agonist Contraction
      • In the third phase, the concentric action of agonists is used to increase the force of stretch.
      • Most effective PNF stretch due to reciprocal and autogenic inhibition.
    • Common PNF Stretches With a Partner
      • Calf and ankle
      • Chest
      • Groin
      • Hamstrings and hip flexors
      • Quads and hip flexors
      • Shoulder

Guidelines for Static Stretching

  • Be in a position good for relaxing.
  • Move to where you feel discomfort in your range of motion. 
  • Hold the stretch for thirty seconds.
  • Repeat stretches on both sides.

Precautions for Static Stretching

  • Lower the intensity of stretch if experiencing pain, radiating symptoms, and losing sensations.
  • Use caution when stretching a joint that is known to be hypermobile.
  • Avoid spine related movements.
  • Stabilizing muscles need to be active to protect the other joints and unneeded movements.

Guidelines for Dynamic Stretching

  • 5 – 10 reps of each move.
  • Increase range of motion with every rep.
  • Increase speed of motion when appropriate.
  • Contract muscles through the range of motion.

Precautions for Dynamic Stretching

  • Progress through range of motion.
  • Deliberately move without bouncing. 
  • Use good technique for more range of motion.

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CSCS Chapter 14: Warm-Up and Flexibility Training 1
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CSCS Chapter 14: Warm-Up and Flexibility Training 3

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