West, D. J., Dietzig, B. M., Bracken, R. M., Cunningham, D. J., Crewther, B. T., Cook, C. J., & Kilduff, L. P. (2012). Influence of post-warm-up recovery time on swim performance in international swimmers. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15, 6 pages (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S144024401200120X).

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Swimmers are marshaled before racing, which results in some swimmers completing their warm-up long before competing. This study examined the effects of 20- and 45-minute post-warm-up recovery periods on 200 m freestyle performance. International swimmers (N = 8) served as Ss. After a standardized warm-up, Ss rested for either 20 or 45 minutes before completing a 200 m freestyle time-trial. Core temperature, blood lactate, heart rate, and rate of perceived exertion were recorded at baseline, post-warm-up, before the time-trial, immediately after, and three minutes after the time-trial.

Core temperatures were similar after the warm-up under both conditions however, before the time-trial core temperatures were greater under the 20-minute condition. Blood lactate was similar between conditions at all-time points before the time-trial. All Ss improved 1.5 1.1% under the 20-minute condition which, on the average, was ~2 seconds faster than the 45-minute condition. Core temperatures were similar between conditions immediately after and three minutes after the time-trial, however, blood lactates were significantly higher at these time points under the 20-minute condition. Heart rates and ratings of perceived exertion were similar between conditions at all-time points.

Implication. Freestyle performance over 200 m is faster the closer the performance is to the completion of a warm-up. Long post-warm-up periods result in the loss of warm-up benefits, as evidenced by the lowering (return to normal) of the body's core temperature. [It is possible that warm-up benefits could be retained if actions were taken to preserve the elevated core temperature. Such actions could include extensive hot showering, wearing insulating clothing layers to prevent heat loss, and participating in a continuous relatively vigorous exercise regime while wearing heat-retention clothing.]

If there is a long time between warm-ups and performance and steps are not taken to preserve warm-up benefits, then the warm-up will be a superfluous activity and serve at best, only to familiarize swimmers with the environment.

Return to Table of Contents for Training for Swimming.

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