Di Cagno, A., Baldari, C., Battaglia, C., Emerenziani, G. P., & Guidetti, L. (2008). Influence of static stretching on technical leap scores in rhythmic gymnastics. ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis. Presentation number, 2115.

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This study examined the acute effects of static stretching on technical leaping performances in rhythmic gymnastics. Gymnasts (N = 38), elite gymnasts at the Olympic Games in Athens (N = 13), and sub-elite gymnasts competing at national level (N = 25), performed three technical leaps (split leap with leg stretched, split leap with ring, and split leap with back bend of the trunk). Leaping performance was simultaneously evaluated by judges' scores, flight time, and ground contact time parameters in two different conditions. One condition was after static stretching as a warm-up and the other was after the usual warm-up as a control condition.

Significant main effects of the technical level of the gymnasts and warm up were found. Elite gymnasts had higher values than sub-elite gymnasts for judges' scores and flight time. Static stretching reduced significantly the flight time and the judges' scores of leaps in both elite and sub-elite gymnasts. Flight time was the only predictor of judges' scores of the three technical leaps accounting for 12-32% of variance in both warm-up conditions.

Implication. Static stretching before a competition negatively affected rhythmic gymnasts' performances.

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