Article Text

Download PDFPDF

A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury
  1. J Matt McCrary1,
  2. Bronwen J Ackermann1,
  3. Mark Halaki2
  1. 1School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bronwen J Ackermann, University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, NSW 1825, Australia; bronwen.ackermann{at}


Purpose This systematic review was conducted to identify the impact of upper body warm-up on performance and injury prevention outcomes.

Methods Web of Science, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO and Cochrane databases were searched using terms related to upper extremity warm-up. Inclusion criteria were English language randomised controlled trials from peer-reviewed journals in which investigation of upper body warm-up on performance and injury prevention outcomes was a primary aim. Included studies were assessed for methodological quality using the PEDro scale. A wide variety of warm-up modes and outcomes precluded meta-analysis except for one group of studies. The majority of warm-ups were assessed as having ‘positive’, ‘neutral’, ‘negative’ or ‘specific’ effects on outcomes.

Results Thirty-one studies met the inclusion criteria with 21 rated as having ‘good’ methodological quality. The studies investigated a total of 25 warm-up modes and 43 outcome factors that could be grouped into eight mode and performance outcome categories. No studies of upper body warm-up effects on injury prevention were discovered.

Conclusions Strong research-based evidence was found for the following: high-load dynamic warm-ups enhance power and strength performance; warm-up swings with a standard weight baseball bat are most effective for enhancing bat speed; short-duration static stretching warm-up has no effect on power outcomes; and passive heating/cooling is a largely ineffective warm-up mode. A clear knowledge gap in upper body warm-up literature is the lack of investigation of injury prevention outcomes.

  • Upper extremity
  • Sports & exercise medicine
  • Review
  • Prevention

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.