Houmard, J. A., Johns, R. A., Smith, L. L., Wells, J. M., Kobe, R. W., & McGoogan, S. A. (1991). The effect of warm-up on responses to intense exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 12, 480-483.

blue line

Eight highly trained collegiate swimmers performed a 440 yard swim 5 minutes after several warm-up conditions: (a) no warm-up, (b) mild-intensity 1500 yard swim, (c) intensity-specific (4 x 50 y; 1 min rest), and (d) a combination of the b and c conditions. Physiological measures were taken during each test swim. Performance was not directly measured.

The no-warm-up condition produced a swim which had a shortened stroke length and elevated lactate and heart rate measures during recovery when compared to the mild-intensity and combination conditions. Stroke length was similar in the no-warm-up and intensity-specific conditions. There was no difference between the mild-intensity 1500 y swim and a 1200 y mild-intensity swim plus the intensity-specific activity.

Implication. This study suggests that a warm-up of mild intensity and long duration is beneficial for swimming. Intensity-specific work does not seem to be a vital component of warm-up but it does not inhibit preparation benefits.

The failure to measure performance lessens the implications of this study. Physiological changes are not necessarily accompanied by performance changes. It is a dangerous practice to infer from physiological alterations that performance will be similarly affected.

Return to Table of Contents for Training for Swimming.

blue line