No effect on performance tests from a neuromuscular warm-up programme in youth female football: a randomised controlled trial

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2012 Oct;20(10):2116-23. doi: 10.1007/s00167-011-1846-9. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Purpose: The objective of the present randomised controlled trial was to study the effect of a neuromuscular warm-up programme on performance tests in youth female football.

Methods: Four youth female football teams with players aged 12-16 years were randomised into an intervention group and control group. The intervention was a 15-min neuromuscular warm-up programme carried out twice a week during the 11-week study period. Baseline and follow-up measurements of performance were made indoors and included the star excursion balance test, a countermovement jump test, a triple-hop for distance test, a modified Illinois agility test, and 10- and 20-m sprint tests.

Results: Fifty-two players (intervention 28; control 24) took part in baseline measurements, and after dropout, 41 players (intervention 23; control 18) were included for analysis. Minor positive changes were seen in the control group compared to the intervention group for a sub-score of the star excursion balance test (P < 0.05) and in the modified Illinois agility test (P < 0.05). No improvement was seen in the intervention group from baseline to follow-up.

Conclusions: The study showed that a neuromuscular warm-up programme carried out during 11 weeks did not improve performance in youth female football. This could indicate that the programme does not contain sufficient stimulus to improve performance. A low player attendance at training sessions, and low specificity between exercises in the warm-up programme and the evaluated performance tests may also contribute to the lack of effect.

Level of evidence: I.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Soccer / injuries
  • Soccer / physiology*