Science and art of warm up


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Webinar for USA Cycling Coaching Education program.

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  • Tm = muscle temperature, Tr = rectal temperature, Q = cardiac output, iEMG = integrated electromyography activity
  • Left panel = raw data from individual experiments, right panel = fitted curves
  • Note increased contribution from aerobic metabolism during 2nd and especially 3rd “sprint bout” (30 s Wingate-style effort)
  • Passive = external heating (sauna, whirlpool, heating pad, etc). Active = exercise (either same mode, i.e., specific, or different mode, i.e., non-specific).
  • Improved performance during short-duration events likely due to increased Tm
  • Note that 1) active warm-up seems to shift the duration at which warm-up might be beneficial upwards, but 2) whether warm-up improves or impairs performances at durations >10 s is still not entirely clear.
  • One possible mechanism accounting for the beneficial effect of #4 may be a reduction in glycogen utilization and hence lactate accumulation at the onset of competition, especially in type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers (which would not be heavily recruited during #2).
  • Moving away from science and on to art…
  • #1 and #2 as previously defined. “Scripted” means following a pre-selected plan.
  • Note the general similarities between this warm-up “script” and Bishop’s recommendations.
  • The value of point #2 should not be overlooked, especially when dealing with relatively inexperienced athletes.
  • Note the extremely wide variation between individuals in the overall duration as well the structure of their self-selected approach to warm-up
  • Note 1) the differing extent to which individuals benefitted (either physiologically or psychologically) from either a scripted (“prior heavy exercise”) or a self-selected warm-up, and 2) that self-selected was, on average, just as good.
  • The differences in performance were, as expected, due to differences in aerobic energy production early in exercise. This is shown in the left panel by the more rapid increase in VO2 to maximum, and in the right panel in terms of the power this represented.
  • An interesting comparison: despite preparing for exactly the same event, the captain (who lives at altitude) chose to warm-up on his single bike in “free form” fashion, whereas the stoker (who lives at/near sea level) chose to warm-up on a trainer using a “scripted” approach
  • The legendary John Fry and former masters national champion Randy Corcoran, who finished 10 s behind us…did they warm-up too little or too much, or did how they warmed-up make no difference to the outcome of the race??
  • Science and art of warm up

    1. 1. Warming up: science and art Andrew R. Coggan, Ph.D.
    2. 2. warm up…
    3. 3. Topics to be covered 1) Why warm up? 2) What happens when you warm up? 3) How should you warm up?
    4. 4. Jones AM, Koppo K, Burnley M. Effects of prior exercise on metabolic and gas exchange responses to exercsie. Sports Med 2003; 33:949971. Bishop D. Warm up I: potential mechanisms and the effects of passive warm up on exercise performance. Sports Med 2003; 33:439-454. Bishop D. Warm up II: performance changes following active warm up and how to structure the warm up. Sports Med 2003; 33:483-498.
    5. 5. Why warm up? 1) To prevent injury 2) To psychologically prepare for competition 3) To physiologically prepare for competition
    6. 6. Why NOT warm up? 1) Inconvenient 2) Because performance may actually be impaired due to: A) residual fatigue B) hyperthermia C) glycogen depletion
    7. 7. What happens when you warm up? Tm and Tr ↔ muscular strength muscular viscosity (slight) speed of muscle contraction maximal power (+10% per °C when cycling at 140 rpm) HR, Q, and muscle blood flow overall speed of VO2 kinetics primary VO2 gain VO2 slow component decline in muscle pO2 glycogenolysis lactate accumulation iEMG
    8. 8. Effect of “priming” exercise on VO2 kinetics: upright vs. supine Jones AM et al. J Appl Physiol 2006; 101:1432-1441
    9. 9. Energy metabolism during repeated 30 s sprints
    10. 10. Different types of warm up 1) Passive vs. active 2) Specific vs. non-specific 3) “Scripted” vs. “free form”
    11. 11. Effects of passive warm up on performance 1) Event duration ≤10 s: performance improved by up to 6% 2) Event duration 10 s to 5 min: performance not improved or may be impaired 3) Event duration ≥5 min: performance not improved or may be impaired
    12. 12. Effects of active warm up on performance 1) Event duration ≤10 s: performance improved by up to 6% 2) Event duration 10 s to 5 min: variable results 3) Event duration ≥5 min: variable results
    13. 13. Bishop’s recommendations for warm up 1) Duration: 10-20 min 2) Intensity: 60-70% of VO2max (75-85% of functional threshold power) 3) Recover for ≥5 min but ≤20 min 4) Performance may be further improved by insertion of brief, non-fatiguing bursts of a task-specific nature.
    14. 14. Factors influencing how much (if any) warm up is optimal 1) The athlete 2) The environment 3) The competition
    15. 15. Different types of warm up 1) Passive vs. active 2) Specific vs. non-specific 3) “Scripted” vs. self-selected
    16. 16. Sample “scripted” warm up used by German track cycling team 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 20 min at “basic training” intensity 5 min at “evolution training” intensity 20 min active recovery (self-selected intensity) 5 min at “evolution training” intensity 10 min at “basic training” intensity 20 min of rest or active recovery Where: “Basic training” = 50-60% of VO2max (65-75% of functional threshold power) “Evolution training” = “Cadence-orientated track training with intensities around the anaerobic threshold” Schumacher YO, Mueller P . The 4000-m team pursuit cycling world record: theoretical and practical aspects. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002; 34:1029-1036
    17. 17. Advantages of a “scripted” warm up 1) Assures adequate warm up 2) Can be confidence-inspiring
    18. 18. Disadvantages of a “scripted” warm up 1) Does not account for athlete, environment, or competition 2) Can undermine athlete’s confidence if unable to execute as planned
    19. 19. Variations in self-selected warm up among experienced cyclists Palmer CD et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009; 41:221-229
    20. 20. Effect of warm up on performance: individual differences Palmer CD et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009; 41:221-229
    21. 21. Differing approaches to warm up: an example
    22. 22. Did warm up make the difference??
    23. 23. Summary and conclusions 1) Warm up may or may not improve performance. 2) Significant improvements in performance are more likely in short and intermediate vs. longer events.
    24. 24. Summary and conclusions (con’t) 3) Improvements in performance over short durations likely due to increase in muscle temperature. 4) Improvements in performance over intermediate durations likely related to increased aerobic energy production early in exercise due to reduced “metabolic inertia”.
    25. 25. Summary and conclusions (con’t) 5) Individuals may differ in how much warm up they require, and/or in how they need to warm up. 6) A self-selected warm up strategy may be just as effective as a “scripted” approach.
    26. 26. Summary and conclusions (con’t) 7) Warm up may impair performance if it results in residual fatigue, hyperthermia, and/or premature glycogen depletion. 8) IOW, more is not always better!