A Comparison of Body Image Perceptions for Female Competitive Dancers, Fitness Cohort, and Non-Dancers in a College Population



Body image is a complex synthesis of psychophysical elements that are perpetual, emotional, cognitive, and inesthetic (1). The desire to achieve and maintain an ideal weight is a prevalent goal among females. The purpose of this study was to examine a female population of competitive dancers, control, and fitness cohorts’ body image and eating characteristics. A total of 51 (29 dancers, 12 control, and 10 fitness) subjects completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences and showed a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F=8.735, p<001). Post hoc tests were conducted to determine directionality and showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p =.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have a drive for thinness to compete (2). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.


Research has documented and quantified a shift towards a thinner ideal shape for females in the Western culture for the past 20 years (3). Body image has been shown in numerous studies to be a key issue for females. Body image has been described as a multidimensional construct that describes internal,subjective representations of physical and bodily appearance (4). The internal representations of one’s own body include both cognitive and perceptual elements (5). In addition, eating disorders have been shown to be prevalent in females with more than 90 percent of those with eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 years of age (6, 7, 8). Research indicates that both of these factors (body image and eating disorders) are present among elite performers of certain sports or physical activities, ballet dancers, and professional dancers (8). Yet little has been reported on dance team participants (9, 10, 11).

Dance team is difficult to research due to the paucity of literature available and the complexity of terminology. Also, dance team is a nebulous term to define. Research demonstrates common referrals to spirit teams, spirit squads, dance teams, as well as pom squads. While the confusion in labeling and current argument as to whether this is an activity or a sport still looms, one fact that remains constant is competitive spirit teams is one of the fastest growing areas of participation for females (12).

Among high school participants, over 96,718 females were accounted for in the 2010-2011 high school athletics participation survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, ranking competitive spirit teams ninth for female participation. At the college level, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reported that spirit squad has experienced the most growth for women’s sport (13, 14). A nationwide Division I study conducted during the 2001-02 academic school year investigated the prevalence of dance and cheerleading programs and reported 89% of the institutions contacted indicated they sponsored competitive dance (12).

The current emerging phenomenon of dance teams has witnessed the rise invisibility of participants at sporting events and are known for their pre-game and half-time routines. Dance teams are comprised of competitive dancers who are required to practice for long hours in movements, choreography, and synchronicity among dancers. Participants are also required to incorporate specific choreography (i.e., contemporary, hip-hop, or jazz) and technical skills (jumps, kicks, and other gymnastic-type skills) into the routine. It is highly competitive and requires hours of rehearsal to master precise movements in harmony with other members of the team.

The increasing number of females participating in dance team competition is prevalent. Long rehearsal hours, use of mirrors, and dance outfits, place dance team participants at risk of body image concerns (15, 16, 17, 18). Of additional concern is the presence of wearing dance outfits which possibly place them as subjects of objectification, or being evaluated by gazing or being observed or “checked out” on the basis of their appearance(17, 19, 10).

With the growing number of females participating in dance team competition,a further examination of the psychosocial factors that accompany this new sport warrants investigation including the importance of assessing potential body image disturbance. This study was designed to examine the perceptions of dance team participants, fitness participants, and non-dancers in a college population.


Upon Internal Review Board (IRB) approval, fifty one subjects were recruited from two university campuses. Informed consent was obtained prior to the study through an information letter that was administered to participants in dance and physical fitness classes.


Participants were female students enrolled in university classes and dance teams. Two university campuses were involved in the study and yielded a total of 51 participants. The study was comprised of 29 dancers, 10 fitness students,and 12 control subjects. The mean age and standard deviation for the participants were: dancers (M = 20.69, SD = 2.25), fitness (M = 25.40, SD =8.67), and control (M = 20.42, SD = 0.996). The dancers were from university dance teams, the fitness participants were enrolled in fitness classes, and the participants in the control group were randomly selected from general university courses.


Each subject completed questionnaires assessing participant demographics,physical activity involvement using the NASA Physical Activity Scale and body image perceptions using the Stunkard Figural Rating Silhouettes. Eating behavior patterns were assessed utilizing the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26)and attitudes concerning body image were assessed with the Multi-dimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ). Anthropometric measurements (height and weight) were then taken. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. Body fat measurements were taken on each participant using an Omron Fat Loss Monitor, Model HBF-306C. The Fat Loss Monitor (Omron Fat Loss Monitor, ModelHBF-306C) displays the estimated value of body fat percentage by bioelectrical impedance method and indicates the Body Mass Index (BMI). The bioelectrical impedance, skinfold, and hydrostatic weighing methods have all been shown to be reliable measures of body composition (r = .957-.987). (23)

Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26)

The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was used to differentiate participants with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating, and those without disordered eating characteristics. It is a 26-item measurement consisting of three subscales: 1) dieting, 2) bulimia and food perception, and 3) oral control. Scoring for this instrument was a Likert scale of six possible answers(always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never). Scores ranged from zero to three for each question and a total score greater than 20 indicates excessive body image concern that may identify an eating disorder (20, 21). The EAT-26has been proven to be a reliable (r =.88) measurement. (7)

Figural Rating Silhouettes

Body size judgments were obtained using the Stunkard Figure Rating Scale(see figure 1). This scale consists of a nine-figure scale of numbered silhouettes that increase gradually in size from very thin (a value of 1) to very obese (a value of 9). (22) Two body size perception variables were included in the current study. “Self-perceived body size” is the number of the figure selected by participants in response to the prompt“Choose the figure that reflects how you think you currently look.”“Ideal body size” is the number of the figure chosen in response to the prompt “Choose your ideal figure.” This scale has good test-retest reliability and adequate validity (23, 24). Following the methods of other investigators, we defined body size satisfaction as the difference between self-perceived body size and ideal body size (25, 26, 27, 28). A body size discrepancy index variable was created for each participant by subtracting the number of the figure selected as the ideal body size from the number of the figure selected as the self-perceived current body size (28). A high body size discrepancy value signifies low satisfaction with body size, and a low value signifies greater satisfaction with body size.

Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire

The Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) is a 69 item self-report inventory for the assessment of self-attitudinal aspects of the body image construct. The MBSRQ measures satisfaction and orientation with body appearance, fitness, and health. In addition to seven subscales (Appearance Evaluation and Orientation, Fitness Evaluation and Orientation, Health Evaluation and Orientation, and Illness Orientation), the MBSRQ has three special multi-item subscales: (1) The Body Areas Satisfaction Scale (BASS)approaches body image evaluation as dissatisfaction-satisfaction with body areas and attributes; 2) The Overweight Preoccupation Scale assesses fat anxiety, weight vigilance, dieting, and eating restraint; and 3) The Self-Classified Weight Scale assesses self-appraisals of weight from“very underweight” to “very overweight.” Internal consistency for MBSRQ subscales range from .74 -.91. This questionnaire has been studied and used extensively in the college population. Internal consistency for the subscales of the MBSRQ ranged from .67 to .85 for males and .71 to .86 for females (9).

Physical Activity Scale

Level of physical activity was obtained by self-report with the NASA Activity Scale (NAS) (29, 30). The scale enables subjects to rate their general activity behavior over the previous 30 days. The scale range is from 0 to 10,which is based on the total weekly minutes spent in exercise or the total weekly miles run or walked. A NAS of 0-1 represents very low activity. A rating of 2-3 represents regular recreation or work of modest effort in such activities as golf or yard work for a weekly total of between 30 min to 2 h.Ratings of 4-10 represent regular participation in aerobic exercise ranging from light to heavy exercise.


The participants were instructed by a trained individual to fill out the information packets provided on clipboards. First, the participants completed a personal identification and demographic sheet that contained general information such as age and dance or sport category. The participants then completed the MBSRQ-AS, the EAT-26, Physical Activity Questionnaire, and the Stunkard Figural Rating Scale (31, 20, 29, 22). As the participants completed the written component of the study, another trained individual took height and weight measures of the participants and recorded the body mass index (BMI) from a hand-held BIA analyzer. Weight was taken using a Tanita WB-110A Digital Scale and height was taken using a using a Seca 420 measuring stadiometer. A test/retest method was utilized for both measures to offset measurement error.In the measure of weight, the individual’s weight was recorded, the participant stepped off the digital scale and the scale was returned to“zero”. The measure was then taken again and recorded. In the measure of height, the same procedure of test/retest was used. When all measures were taken, the average of the two measures was then recorded. The measures were then taken by the researchers and converted using the formula(BMI = weight/height M2). BMI was then calculated and recorded for all participants. When the information was completed, the participants returned the packets to the trained administrator. Data sheets were collected and kept in a locked file cabinet for confidentiality.

A total of 51 participants completed the MBSRQ-AS, EAT-26, a Physical Activity Questionnaire, Stunkard Figural Silhouettes, and body fat measurements. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. The Dancers and the Fitness group were significantly lower in body fat and higher in physical activity and the on the EAT-26. A MANOVA was conducted to determine group differences among the different measures and the subscales.

alt=”Table 1 – Figure Rating Means for each Group (dancer, fitness, & control)”
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The MANOVA indicated a significant relation (Wilk’s Lambda = .106, F =8.735, p<.001). Post hoc tests were conducted and analyses were examined to determine directionality. Results showed that the dancers scored significantly higher on the Appearance Orientation subscale (p=.034) with no difference between the control and fitness cohort. Dancers also significantly perceived themselves to be overweight (p=.048) with no difference between the other two groups. Both the dancers (p<.001) and the fitness cohort (p<.001) scored as exhibiting disordered eating patterns as rated by the EAT-26 (see Table 2).

<src=”http://www.thesportjournal.org/files/Table 2-Percent Fat and Eat-26 Totals for Subjects.png”
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Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M=17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. Body dissatisfaction measures often focus on body build and are operationalized as the difference between ideal and self-perceived current figure as selected from a group of drawings (32, 33,34). Measures of body dissatisfaction were computed by subtracting participants’ ratings of their Current Body Size (CBS) from their Ideal Body Size (IBS) to create a discrepancy index (DI). (28) The DI’s for each group were calculated with means and standard deviations recorded: Dancers(-.59/1.11), Fitness Group (-1.04/.966), and Control (-1.55/.85). The dancers in this study were dissatisfied with their bodies and wanted a thinner body as described in the discrepancy index, indicating a higher level of importance on their appearance (p=.045).


The primary focus of this investigation was to examine collegiate dance team participants to see if they exhibited body image distortions and disordered eating habits as exhibited in other female performers. Even though the dancers had a low percent body fat (M = 17.6), they tended to place more importance on how they look. The dancers perceived themselves to be overweight and engaged in disordered eating patterns. These types of perceptions and behaviors are disturbing, but not surprising since dancers have exhibited a drive for thinness to compete (2).

The findings of the data for this study are consistent with previous studies regarding body image in females (6, 35, 36). The females in this study perceived their current figure as heavier than their ideal figure. Although literature available on dancers exists, many of the studies have focused on ballet dancers and other professional dancer types. Future research should examine dance team participants to see if the pressures are similar (i.e.,rehearsing with mirrors and being viewed during their performance by an audience). To fully understand the scope of the issue and the psychological factors that accompany the quest for achieving a certain appearance, future research should include other female cohorts such as elite athletes, obligatory exercisers, and sedentary females to determine any similarities and differences in the groups.

These results indicate that dancers had higher incidence of negative body image disturbances as compared with the controls. Dancers are usually expected to be slim, well-proportioned, and toned and are placed under a great deal of pressure to maintain these features. Often, the various aspects of a dance class can potentially lead to a negative body image (37). The pressures of being thin may present negative body images for dance team members (38). A national survey conducted reported that body image concerns continue to be prevalent among American women (39). Levels of body dissatisfaction may also foster negative affect because appearance is a central dimension for women in our culture (40).

While the dangers of distorted body image are present in the dance world,measures to minimize their impact should include coaches who focus on performance rather than personal appearance. Taking an active interest in how their dancers view themselves is critical to a more comprehensive understanding of the causes of body image concern. By further addressing this issue,researchers can also help minimize health risks in female participants as well as reduce body image dissatisfaction.

Limitations & Implications

Limitations to this study include the sample size. In addition, this study investigated indicators of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors rather than clinical diagnoses of eating disorders. Other variables that are contributing factors to the prevalence of disordered eating were not investigated. The results of the EAT-26 test were not intended to diagnose nor suggest an eating or life-threatening disorder; however, the EAT-26 was used because it has proven to be an effective screening tool in identifying eating disorder symptomology and allows for further investigation for treatment.


Body image has been the subject of much research conducted in recent years.As a result, body image is now recognized a multidimensional construct with complex aspects, particularly perceptual. The majority of the existing data indicates that body image concerns are prevalent among American females. With the recent phenomenal growth of dance team participation and the increasing number of female participants; a closer examination is warranted. Yet, there is a paucity of research available on dance team participants and their perceptions of their body appearance. Because dance team members wear a designated uniform/outfit, dance to a learned synchronized routine, and perform in front of an audience, they are subjected to visual scrutinization of fans/viewers. The uniqueness of the stressors and demands placed on the dancers complicates this issue. Additional knowledge of how dance team members perceive how they look and what the audience thinks of them in regards to abilities and their physical appearance deserves further investigation. Dealing with such information will not only benefit dance team members body image and self-esteem, but assist coaches and directors in ways to assist young women in resulting body image dissatisfaction.


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2015-11-08T07:39:52+00:00August 22nd, 2013|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology, Women and Sports|Comments Off on A Comparison of Body Image Perceptions for Female Competitive Dancers, Fitness Cohort, and Non-Dancers in a College Population

Static Stretching Versus Dynamic Warm Up: The Effect on Choice Reaction Time as Measured by the Makoto Arena II


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to determine whether a dynamic warm up or static stretching had a greater impact on choice reaction time. Methods: Nine recreationally trained subjects (5 males, 4 females) performed single-step choice reaction time trials using the Makoto Arena II testing device, following either a dynamic warm up or static stretching protocol chosen at random for all participants. The static stretching (SS) and dynamic warm up (DWU) protocols the subjects performed lasted ten minutes in duration and were preceded with baseline testing of a sit and reach and a single-step choice reaction time trial. Results: Results of a dependent t-test (p < .05) on sit and reach indicated a significant difference for both baseline to SS (p = .007) and baseline to DWU (p = .000), but not when compared to each other, SS to DWU (p = .246). Dependent t-test results for choice reaction time showed significance(p < .05) for all three categories: baseline to SS (p = .023), baseline to DWU (p = .003) and SS to DWU (p = .009). However, it should be noted that although both SS and the DWU resulted in significance, the greatest difference in the speed for the choice reaction time was found with the baseline to DWU. Conclusion: DWU had a greater impact on a single step choice reaction time and thus should be considered as an element to be incorporated into any athletic training program to enhance athletic achievement.


Prior to working out, training, or any physical activity, athletes typically will warm up the body in preparation for the activity to follow. Throughout the past couple of decades, warm up routines have evolved as more and more scrutiny has been leveled at training modalities in the pursuit of physical excellence.The possibility of improved performance is sought in supplements, training regimens, nutrition, and even the rest periods. Within the past couple of decades multiple studies addressed the effects standard stretching routines have on performance (2-4, 6, 8-10, 11, 13, 14). Because of the continuous quest for improvement through research, stretching and warming up are now effectively considered different modalities and are not just semantically different. Statics stretching (SS) is the more traditional form of preparation for physical activity while dynamic warm up (DWU) is a progressive buildup of the same physical movements required in the exercise the individual will be participating in. Past research has shown that DWUs will have more impact on power production, flexibility, and agility of the muscles while SS reduces explosive muscular output (2-4, 6, 8-10, 11, 13, 14). The research has overwhelmingly demonstrated in physical activity requiring short bursts of power and speed as opposed to long sustained muscle recruitment, a DWU should be utilized to improve athletic performance for multiple individual and team sports (1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11-14). Although DWU has been demonstrated to improve speed and power, very little research has been done to show a DWU has the same effect with reaction time, and no research has utilized a single step choice reaction format. Our intent was to determine if the superiority of DWU versus SS in power production would also hold true for choice reaction time; thus making it much more applicable for sport training purposes. Multiple sport activities require the athlete to react quickly to a stimuli and the speed of the reaction can make a difference in being successful or failing. Therefore any method to enhance the ability to quickly assess and react to the stimuli should be addressed by the coaches in their efforts for attaining peak performance; thus presenting the need for research to study actual choice reaction and not just reaction from a force plate. Therefore with the convincing literature regarding DWU and SS, our hypothesis was that the DWU would produce a quicker choice reaction time as opposed to a traditional SS procedure. Due to the lack of literature in the area of actual choice reaction time it became apparent a pilot study needed to be conducted in order to develop an adequate methodology to allow for future research.



Subjects were recruited from the United States Sports Academy staff and students. The study included nine subjects, five males and four females, ages ranging from 24-56 years old. Each participant was recreationally active and gave informed consent. The subjects participated in a variety of sport backgrounds including basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming, badminton, tennis, weightlifting and bowling. The study was approved by an Institutional Review Board for human subjects.

Study Design

Participants arrived and were given consent forms to review and sign. The Makoto Arena II was turned on and allowed time to heat up. Directions for all testing protocols were then explained in detail. Using the Sit & Reach box (Novel Products, Rockton Illinois) to measure flexibility, students were instructed to sit down on the floor with shoes off and put the base of their feet against the box. A researcher put a hand just above the subject’s knees to ensure the knees stayed flat. Subjects put one hand on top of the other one and extended over the box as far as they could reach. Measurements were taken at the tip of the middle finger when the subject was able to hold the stretch. Baseline sit and reach testing was completed in a non-stretched state and recorded in centimeters (cm). Subjects were allowed to do a practice trial and then performed an additional trial as their baseline. The subjects were then instructed to put shoes back on and move over to the Makoto Arena II for demonstration and explanation. The Makoto Arena II uses audio and/or visual cues to test choice reaction time. For the purposes of testing reaction time, a lateral single-step procedure that utilized two of the three towers was employed. Each subject stood behind a line that was exactly equal distance between the two towers and 1.2 m from the edge of the device. Subjects positioned their body in an athletic stance in preparation for movement. The subjects were then given the direction to take one step laterally and hit the target as quickly as possible with the same hand as the direction of the step. The target height was 122 cm from the floor (7). Each subject was given a few practice trials to ensure directions were adequately explained. Then scores were recorded until the participant had completed two tests stepping to their right and two tests stepping to their left to account for true athletic movement. The Makoto Arena II has built in software that both calculates the reaction speed and randomly selects the tower used for each trial; therefore each test had a fifty-fifty chance of being to the left or the right of the subject. Due to the randomness of the trials we settled on recording two scores stepping right and two stepping left for a minimum of 4 trials to ensure an accurate average of reaction time. By utilizing this procedure, no two subjects were alike and each subject had an equal number of trials recorded. Once baseline scores for both the sit and reach and the choice reaction tests were recorded, subjects randomly chose which set of stretches they would perform first by drawing sticks labeled with a D (dynamic) or S (static). Stretching protocols were explained for static and dynamic stretches. The duration for each protocol was 10 minutes. Static stretches were held for 12 seconds, and the same stretch was duplicated on the opposite limb being stretched. SS and DWU protocols are found in Tables 1 and 2. Time was kept using a stopwatch by one of the testers. Each stretch was independent and each subject determined their own levels of discomfort and stretch limitations. DWUs were performed downstairs in a fitness room, approximately 90 seconds from the human performance lab, therefore not impacting the effects of the DWU on the sit and reach or choice reaction tests. Following the SS or DWU protocols, the subjects returned and performed the sit & reach test. Measurements were taken following each testing procedure of SS and DWU and recorded on the subject’s data sheet. Once all subjects’ results were written down, researchers then repeated the same lateral one step choice reaction time testing protocol for each subject, following the second protocol of either SS or DWU, which was done on a separate day.

Statistical Analyses

Baselines for both the reaction time protocols and the sit and reach were analyzed against the two tests of SS and DWU. A timed measurement of the lateral single-step choice reaction time within the Makoto Arena II device was completed following a ten minute session of the SS or DWU protocol. The mean, mean difference, and standard deviation were then calculated for each variable. Dependent t-tests were used to compare the baseline reaction times to both reaction times following the SS protocol and the DWU protocol. An alpha level of p < 0.05 was used to establish significance. Sit and reach data analysis followed the same procedures mentioned above.


The mean and mean differences were calculations done manually by a calculator and the significance (p < .05) was found through the use of IBMSPSS Statistics 19 software. The means for sit and reach testing are as follows: baseline: 27.1 cm, SS: 30.4 cm, DWU: 32.0 cm. The mean differences were baseline to SS: -3.28cm, baseline to DWU: -4.89cm, and SS to DWU: -1.61 cm. Results indicated a significant difference for both baseline to SS (p = .007)and baseline to DWU (p = .000), but not when compared to each other, SS to DWU(p = .246). The mean for the baseline reaction time was .872 s, the mean following the SS protocol was .833 s and the mean following the DWU protocol was .796 s. The difference in the means for reaction time was baseline to SS:.039 s, baseline to DWU: .077 s, and SS to DWU: .038 s. Choice reaction testing for all three categories showed significance (p < .05): baseline to SS (p =.023), baseline to DWU (p = .003), and SS to DWU (p = .009). However, it should be noted that although both SS and the DWU resulted in significance, the greatest difference in the speed for the choice reaction time was found with the baseline to DWU. All results can be found in Tables 3 and 4.


At least one study has shown no effect on muscle force production (11), while the majority of studies have shown that a bout of SS produces an inhibitory effect on the contractile force production of a muscle (4,10,11,13). The studies reaching these conclusions were applied to outputs of power such as sprinting and agility drills. From these studies, we hypothesized that the same physiological responses affiliated with SS and DWU would produce similar results in a single-step choice reaction time. We hypothesized that a static stretch prior to a choice reaction timed test would not affect reaction time, whereas a DWU prior to testing would result in a quicker reaction time. Our hypothesis regarding the DWU was supported; however, the static stretching also produced a quicker time compared to the baseline choice reaction time. Results taken from the sit and reach test also showed a significant improvement for both SS and the DWU. From our findings, since both the SS and DWU produced an increase in flexibility from a non-stretched to post stretching protocol, the theory of stretched muscle fibers inhibiting muscle contraction force and thus reaction time is not fully supported. To account for both the SS and DWU producing a faster choice reaction time, there must be some other form of physiological adaptation occurring. It is possible that the concept of postactivation potentiation (PAP), which is defined by Behm and colleagues (2004) as an increase in the efficiency of the muscle to produce submaximal force after a voluntary contraction (4) is the rationale for both protocols producing positive effects. It is possible that the duration of the SS protocol was not long enough to inhibit the force-producing cross bridges that may develop with lower frequency stimulation but enough of a stimulation to actually form a greater number of these cross bridges, which would then result in an ability to create more force similar to the DWU (4). Because the DWU had a greater effect on increasing the choice reaction time than the SS we can infer that a DWU as opposed to a simple static stretch routine for a typical warm up for sports participation would be of a greater benefit. However, a short duration of SS coupled with a DWU certainly would not inhibit performance. Although the results support our hypothesis because this was a pilot study with a diverse and limited number of participants it cannot be generalized. Further research with a larger participant pool of males and females; trained and untrained athletes of varying sports would need to be tested under similar conditions to reach conclusive evidence.


The same physiological factors a DWU produces for speed, namely greater force of the muscle contraction, is also prominent with choice reaction time. In this small pilot study a one-step choice reaction utilizes the same physiology of muscle force production as a sprint; the effects of a DWU are similar, resulting in a quicker choice reaction time when compared to a standard static stretch protocol. Therefore those professionals responsible for preparing athletes in sports requiring quick reactions might want to consider incorporating a DWU as part of the athlete or teams’ development and preparation. Since this study was so limited in participants we suggest future research test entire athletic teams of males and females in sports dependent on reaction times. These teams should range in ages and skill level from interscholastic to the professional levels. With this larger pool of participants this hypothesis would be tested adequately allowing for the results to be more generalized, till then it is simply a pilot study with too few participants to conclusively generalize the results.


Athletes at all levels are trying to develop and gain an edge in their performance, with sports that require a quick explosive movement, a few tenths of a second can mean the difference in getting to the ball first, blocking an attempt at a goal, digging a spike; the difference between success and failure. Personnel responsible for preparing athletes whether it is the coach, the strength coach, or a trainer must be cognizant of how to best prepare for training or competition. The warm up has become a critical component of preparation for athletes and teams dependent on quick, explosive, and reactive movements. Unlike a static stretching protocol, DWU’s has been shown to enhance and better prepare athletes for performance by not stretching the muscles past the point where they can quickly recoil and exert their maximal force. The DWU incorporates an increase in body temperature as well as functional stretching of the muscles. This state of higher body temperature and a slightly stretched muscle has demonstrated better speed and agility times. Therefore, athletes and coaches responsible for their preparation should be utilizing a DWU as a part of their daily training protocol for better athletic performance.


1. Aguilar, A. J., DiStefano, L. J., Brown, C. N., Herman, D. C., Guskiewicz, K. M., & Padua, D. A. (2012). A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1130-1141.

2. Alpkaya, U., & Koceja, D. (2006). The effects of acute static stretching on reaction time and force. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 47(2), 147-150.

3. Amiri-Khorasani, M., Sahebozamani, M., Tabrizi, K., & Yusof, A.(2010). Acute effect of different stretching methods on illinois agility test in soccer players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,24(10), 2698-2704.

4. Behm, D., Bambury, A., Cahill, F., & Power, K. (2004). Effect of acute static stretching on force, balance, reaction time and movement time.Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(8), 1397-1402.

5. Chaouachi, A., Castagna, C., Chtara, M., Brughelli, M., Turki, O., Galy,O., Chamari, K., & Behm, D. (2010). Effects of warm-ups involving static or dynamic stretching on agility, sprinting, and jumping performance in trained individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(8),2001-2011.

6. Gabrett, T., Sheppard, J., Pritchard-Peschek, K., Leveritt, M., &Aldred, M. (2008). Influence of closed skill and open skill warm-ups on the performance of speed, change of direction speed, vertical jump, and reactive agility in team sport athletes. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(5), 1413-1415.

7. Hoffman, J., Kang, J., Ratamess, N., Hoffman, M., Tranchina, C., &Faigenbaum, A. (2009). Examination of a pre-exercise, high energy supplement on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(2)

8. Kistler, B., Walsh, M., Horn, T., & Cox, H. (2010). The acute effects of static stretching on the sprint performance of collegiate men in the 60- and 100-m dash after a dynamic warm up. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(9), 2280-2284.

9. Makaruk, H., Makaruk, B., & Kedra, S. (2008). Effects of warm-up stretching exercises on sprint performance. Physical Education and Sport, 52, 23-26.

10. McMillian, D. J., Moore, J. H., Hatler, B. S., & Taylor, D. C.(2006). Dynamic vs. static- stretching warm up: the effect on power and agility performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(3), 492-499.

11. Perrier, E. T., Pavol, M. J., & Hoffman, M. A. (2011). The acute effects of warm-up including static or dynamic stretching on counter movement jump height, reaction time, and flexibility. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1925-1931.

12. Roca, J. (1980). Effects of warming-up on reaction time and movement in the lower extremities. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 11(3), 165-171.

13. Sayers, A., Farley, R., Fuller, D., Jubenville, C., & Caputo, J.(2008). The effect of static stretching on phases of spring performance in elite soccer players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(5), 1416-1421.

14. Yamaguchi, T., Ishii, K., Yamanaka, M., & Yasuda, K. (2007). Acute effects of dynamic stretching exercise on power output during concentric dynamic constant external resistance leg extension. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4), 1238-1244.


Table 1

Static Stretches Stretch Hold = 12 seconds 10 minutes
Standing was completed prior to moving onto seated stretches followed
by the stomach
Standing Stretches Sitting Stretches Laying on Stomach
Double Leg hamstring & gluteus. Feet together, bend over at the
waist keeping back straight
Double leg hamstring & gluteus stretch- seated keep back of knees
on ground and bend at the waist forward reaching to touch toes
Quadriceps stretch- with right hand grasp the heel of right leg and
pull to gluteus. Switch to left hand and left leg
Single Leg hamstring and gluteus – right leg over left leg & left
leg over right leg, bend at the waist keeping back straight
Single leg hamstring & gluteus- bend right leg to the inside of
left leg, leaving left leg straight in front, bend at waist forward to
touch toes. Repeat procedure with left leg bent and right forward
Outer quadriceps stretch- with right hand grasp foot of left leg and
pull to gluteus. Switch to left hand and right leg.
Legs spread wide- (right, left & center) Bend at the waist,
keeping back straight not rounded.
Butterfly stretch- bend knees so that feet are sole to sole in front
of body, place elbows on inside of both legs & press down
Quadriceps stretch- leg bent behind try to pull heel to gluteus. Right hand right leg, left hand left leg. Legs spread out wide in front of body- bend at the waist trying to touch toes. Lean to the right, lean to the left and lastly forward or center
Outer quadriceps stretch- leg bent behind try to pull heel to gluteus. Right hand to left leg, left hand to right leg. Butterfly stretch- bend knees so that feet are sole to sole in front of body, place elbows on inside of both legs & press down gently
Gastrocnemius stretch- standing with hands pressed against wall & lower body angled away from wall, both feet, then right foot, followed by left foot. Gluteus stretch- in seated position with bent knee place right leg over the outstretched left leg. With both arms pull the bent knee to your chest, switch sides.

Table 2

Dynamic stretch/ warm ups
Enclosed room length of 44 feet
Order performed:
Jog down & back 2x
Back pedal
Jog down back pedal back
Skipping down & back 2x
High knees down & back 2x
Butt kicks down & back
High knees down butt kicks back
Skipping down & back 2x
Carioca down & back 2x (also known as grapevine)
Walking sumo squats down & back
Defensive slides down & back
Frankenstein walks down & back
Heel walks/toe walks down & back respectively – 2x
Wall assisted leg throws – facing wall 10 rt. leg
Wall assisted leg throws – side to wall 10 rt. leg
Frankenstein – keeping legs straight swing one at a time high up in front with your hands stretched out and chest high 10 rt. leg

Table 3

CHOICE REACTION TIME (Measured in seconds)
Pair 1 Baseline 9 .872 .039 .090 .023
Static 9 .833 .079
Pair 2 9 .872 .077 .090 .003
Baseline 9 .796 .073
Pair 3 9 .833 .038 .079 .009
Static 9 .796 .073
vs. Dynamic

Table 4

SR= Sit and Reach
Measured in centimeters (cm)
Pair 1 9 27.1 -3.28 7.69 .007
Baseline SR 9 30.4 7.77
Static SR
Pair 2 9 27.1 -4.89 7.69 .000
Baseline SR 9 32.0 5.94
Dynamic SR
Pair 3 9 30.4 -1.61 7.77 .246
Static SR vs. 9 32.0 5.94
Dynamic SR


2013-11-22T22:38:26+00:00December 21st, 2012|Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science|Comments Off on Static Stretching Versus Dynamic Warm Up: The Effect on Choice Reaction Time as Measured by the Makoto Arena II