A short warm-up session is more beneficial than a longer one, or at least the following piece of information suggests so. Experts from the University of Calgary Kinesiology suggest that long warm-ups can hamper race performance. It can probably increase muscle temperature, accelerate oxygen uptake kinetics and raise anaerobic metabolism.
During the study, sprint cyclists were made to perform a traditional warm-up of about 50 minutes. The cyclists then graduated intensity that ranged from 60 to 95 percent of maximal heart rate before ending with several all-out sprints. The experimental warm-up was much shorter at about 15 minutes. It was performed at a lower intensity, ending with just a single sprint.
“What we found, was that the shorter warm-up resulted in significantly less muscle fatigue and a peak power output that was 6.2 per cent higher. This represents a substantial improvement for an elite athlete. On the basis of this study I would suggest that sprint athletes should start thinking about adopting a shorter and less strenuous warm up for better performance,” stated University of Calgary Kinesiology expert Elias Tomaras.
A number of tests were conducted after each warm-up to accurately measure the athlete’s power output and fatigue. As a result, it was affirmed that longer warm ups lead to a process called postactivation potentiation of the muscles. Scientists suggest that athletes have to lower the intensity and reduce the amount of time spent in warming up for delivering a better performance.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.