Gymnasts must attain extreme ranges of flexibility to execute performance requirements, thus effective stretching proves vital to advancement in the sport. This study examined the acute effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) on passive and dynamic flexibility in young, female gymnasts. Participants (n = 27, Junior Olympic levels 5-10) served as their own control. Measurements of passive and dynamic flexibility were obtained using the TOPS forward split testing method to examine passive flexibility and dynamic flexibility was measured via split jumps that were analyzed with video and Dartfish software. According to randomized order, all participants completed a stretching protocol either with the WBV platform turned on (VIB) or off (C) separated by 48 h. Participants performed 4 sets of three stretches on the WBV platform. An ANCOVA was performed (using height, weight, age, years of experience, and gymnastics level as covariates). Significant improvements were found in passive flexibility for both VIB and C conditions, but there was no significant difference between the two stretching conditions (p = 0.17). The maximum split jump decreased significantly from pre to post measurement in both the VIB (p < 0.0001) and C (p = 0.04) conditions. VIB decreased the split jump significantly more than C. Based on the results of our study, an acute session of static stretching or stretching with WBV immediately before performance decreases split jump performance. Therefore, this WBV protocol is not recommended immediately prior to gymnastics competition.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



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whole-body vibration, flexibility, gymnastics