The Effect of Warm-Up on Responses to Intense Exercise J. A. Houmard, R. A. Johns, L. L. Smith, J. M. Wells, *R W. Kobe, and S. A. McGoogan Human Performance Laboratory and *Department of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858



Wells, R. W. Kobe, and S. A. McGoogan, The Effect of Warm-Up on Response to Intense Exercise. mt J Sports Med,Vol 12,No5,pp480—483, 1991. Accepted after revision: December 6, 1990

Many coaches and athletes consider prior physical activity (warm-up) essential for optimal performance (9, 10). When examining the warm-up rituals of many "middle distance" athletes (i. e. events lasting 2—15 mm at 90—120% VO2max), a mild, longer-duration component is followed by several high-intensity, short-duration repetitions at speeds ap-

proximating race pace. In support of this approach, Grod-

The purpose of this study was to determine if prior physical activity (warm-up) affected physiological responses to intense exercise. Eight highly trained collegiate

jinovsky and Magel (12) observed that in healthy, male volunteers a warm-up consisting of a five-minute jog and calisthenics did not improve 1609 m run times when compared to no warm-up; however, run times significantly improved when an

swimmers performed a paced 365.8-m (440 yds) intense

intense 161-rn run was performed in addition to the five-

swim (mean SE, 94.4 3.3% YO2max) 5 mm after the

minute jog and calisthenics. These researchers (12) hypothesized that the intense 161 -m run shortened the cardiovascular adjustment period to high-intensity aerobic work. However, as evident by the findings of Grodjinovsky and Magel (12) and others, warm-up does not necessarily improve (7, 8, 10, 16, 23) and may even harm (8, 10, 11) performance.

following warm-up conditions: trial N, no warm-up; trial S, an intensity-specific interval set (4 x 45.7 m with onemm rest intervals at the intense swim pace); trial M, a mildintensity, long-duration swim (1371.6 m at 64.7±3.3% VO2max); and trial MS, a mild-intensity, long-duration swim (1188.7 m at the same pace as trial M) followed by the

intensity-specific interval set (trail S). When comparing trial N with trials M and MS, stroke distance (m/stroke) was significantly (p 0.05) in stroke distance during the final 91.4 m of the intense swim between trials S and N. There were no significant differences for any variables between trials M and MS. These results suggest that a warmup consisting of mild-intensity, long-duration exercise was beneficial compared to no warm-up and that intensity-specific exercise was not a vital component of warm-up. Although performance was not directly measured, these data demonstrate the benefit of warm-up. Key words

intense exercise, lactate, prior physical activity, swimming _______________________________________________

sociated with athletic performance were measured in a group

of collegiate swimmers during and after an intense, paced swim (365.8 m at 95% VO2max). Warm-ups consisting of mild-intensity, long-duration and/or intensity-specific exercise were examined in an effort to determine which ingredients comprised a successful warm-up.


Eight highly trained collegiate swimmers age 20.8 0.6 yrs; body weight 74.4 2.6 kg; VO2max 3.8±0.2 1/mm; % fat 7.5±0.7) were examined (mean

within a week of the conclusion of their competitive season. The subjects were informed of the risks and benefits associated with the testing and provided informed consent. All subjects regularly competed using the crawl stroke. Testing was performed in a 22.9-m (25 yard) length pool. The initial testing session consisted of a swim to

lnt.J.SportsMed. 12(1991)480—483 GeorgThieme Verlag Stuttgart New York

determine VO2max. After a self-selected warm-up, each athlete swam 365.8 m as fast as possible (4.0 0.1 mm); a 40-sec gas collection was obtained at the conclusion of the swim. Oxygen consumption was calculated based upon a backward extrapolation equation (6,20). The speed of the maximal swim was used as the basis for the pacing of the 365.8-m swims described below (95% VO2max). A VO2max test was also per-

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I A. Houmard, R. A. Johns, L. L. Smith, J. M.

mt. J. Sports Med. /2 (1991) 481

The Effect of Warm-Up on Responses to Intense Exercise




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Time (mm) Fig. 1 Recovery lactate values after the 365.8-rn intense, paced swim for each respective warm-up trial (N, no warm-up: S. intensityspecific warm-up; M, mild warm-up; MS, mild warm-up with an intensity-specific component added). 'Significantly different (p

The effect of warm-up on responses to intense exercise.

The purpose of this study was to determine if prior physical activity (warm-up) affected physiological responses to intense exercise. Eight highly tra...
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