The effect of an intermittent, high intensity warm-up on anaerobic performance
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Almost all people involved in sports take part in, or are encouraged to take part in some form of warm-up (WU) to help prevent injury but also to improve performance in subsequent activity. Anaerobic performance, due to its short time scale, is an area where small improvement may make large differences in results. In such events it is essential that WUs are based on scientific knowledge and not unfounded theories or tradition as has so often been the case. A continuous WU at 60% of a persons VO2 max has previously been shown to improve anaerobic performances. Despite the potential gains of a WU at higher intensities, these have been shown to in fact cause detrimental effects through the build up of metabolites. It was therefore the aim of this study to determine whether an intermittent, high intensity WU can produce these potential gains without the build up of metabolites and thus cause greater improvement in anaerobic performance. Eight, moderately trained, male rugby players, all studying sport at university level volunteered for this study. Each performed a graded exercise test to determine their VO2 max. At least 48 h after this, all subjects in a random, counterbalanced order, and on separate days, performed both a continuous and a high intensity, intermittent WU followed by 6 min passive recovery before completing a 30 sec Wingate Anaerobic Test. The continuous WU consisted of 15 min cycling at 60% VO2 max. The intermittent WU consisted of 10 min cycling at 60% of subject’s VO2 max followed by five, 5 sec sprints, performed against a resistance equal to that of the resistance applied during the Wingate Anaerobic Test (0.075 kg per kg body mass). These were interspersed by five, 55 sec recoveries at 40% of the subject’s VO2 max. Subjects achieved a significantly greater peak power output (P<0.05) following the intermittent WU, however, this did not equate to a higher total power output over the 30 sec test. This study indicates that short-term anaerobic performances may be further improved by an intermittent rather than continuous WU.
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