Faulkner, S. H., Ferguson, R. A., Gerrett, N., Hodder, S. G., Hupperts, M., & Havenith, G. (2012). Insulated athletic pants do not prevent muscle temperature decline following warm-up nor benefit performance. Presentation 2660 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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"Elevations in muscle temperature have been shown to be important for enhancing maximal muscle power output during short duration, sprint-based activities, hence the completion of a warm-up prior to many exercise types. However, in many sporting activities and competitions it is not uncommon for there to be delays between warm-up completion and performance execution, during which time activity levels may be insufficient to maintain elevations in muscle temperature. Excessive decline in muscle temperature may lead to suboptimal contractile conditions and impaired exercise performance."

This study determined whether a delay between warm-up and competition influenced muscle temperature and performance and whether this may be attenuated using insulated athletic pants. On two occasions, male cyclists (N = 11) completed a standardized 15-minute intermittent sprint-based warm-up on a cycle ergometer, followed by a 30-minute passive recovery period before completing a 30-second maximal sprint test. Muscle temperature of the vastus lateralis was measured at depths of 1, 2, and 3 cm prior to and following the warm-up and immediately before the sprint test. Measures of absolute and relative peak power output and blood lactate were taken. During the recovery period Ss wore a tracksuit top and either a standard tracksuit ensemble (control) or a pair of insulated athletic pants.

The warm-up increased muscle temperature at all depths by ~2.5C, with no differences between conditions. During the recovery period the insulated-pants condition declined to similar values to the control condition at the three depths. There were no differences between conditions in absolute, relative, and mean power output or in blood lactate concentrations following the sprint test.

Implication. Insulated athletic trousers have little benefit at reducing the decline in muscle temperature associated with forced periods of inactivity between warm-up completion and competition.

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