Janes, A., Foster, C., deKoning, J. J., Lucia, A., Esten, P., Kernovek, T., & Pocari, J. P. (2004). Effect of warm-up on cycling time trial performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 834.

"Warm-up is a common feature of the pre-competition preparation for most athletes. There are, however, few data documenting whether warm-up actually has an effect on competitive performance. It is expected that warm-up accelerates VO2 kinetics and allows a sparing of anaerobic energy for later use in an event" (p. 123)

The effect of warm-up on 3-km cycling time trial performance and the degree to which any effect was mediated by accelerated VO2 kinetics were determined Well-trained road cyclists (N = 8), habituated to 3-km cycling time trials, performed randomly ordered 3-km time trials after one of three conditions; no warm-up (NWU), easy warm-up (EWU)(15 min @ 80% VT1-2 min rest), and hard warm-up (HWU)(15 min @ 80% VT1 + 3 min @ VT2-6 min rest). VO2 and power output (SRM) were measured throughout each trial. Aerobic and anaerobic energy contributions were calculated using previously collected cycling efficiency data.

Time trial performances for both warm-up conditions were faster than the no-warm-up condition. Performance gain was predominantly during the first 1,000 m in both EWU (48% of gain) and HRW (53% of gain). This reflected a significantly higher power output during the first 1000m. The mean response time of the aerobic system was significantly faster in both warm-up conditions. There were no significant differences in anaerobic power output during the trials, but aerobic power output during the first 1,000 m was significantly larger during both warm-up conditions.

Implication. Performance is significantly enhanced by warm-up, although a more vigorous warm-up does not appear to provide any further benefits. The improved performance is mostly related to an acceleration of aerobic metabolism.

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