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Shorter Warm-up Sessions, Better Rewards for Athletes

by Tanya Thomas on  June 20, 2011 at 11:28 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Though warming up before athletic competition increases muscle temperature, accelerates oxygen uptake kinetics and increases anaerobic metabolism, all of which enhances performance, a study has have found evidence indicating that less is more.
 Shorter Warm-up Sessions, Better Rewards for Athletes
Shorter Warm-up Sessions, Better Rewards for Athletes
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Researchers at the University of Calgary Human Performance Laboratory in Calgary, Alberta, studied cyclists who participated in two warm-ups. A longer, traditional warm-up began with 20 minutes of cycling that gradually increased in intensity until the cyclists reached 95 percent of their maximal heart rates. The shorter, experimental warm-up included a shorter initial ride that increased in intensity until the cyclists reached only 70 percent of their maximal heart rates.

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They found that although muscle contractile response decreased more after the traditional warm-up, indicating greater fatigue, there was a decrease in contractile response after both warm-ups. This, according to Elias K. Tomaras, a co-author, "indicates that an even shorter warm-up might be better for athletes who want to tap into PAP (post-activation potentiation)."

The shorter warm-up permitted better performance, as well. Peak power output was 6.2 percent higher and total work was 5 percent higher after the experimental warm-up than after the traditional warm-up, results the researchers said were significant, and could make a substantial difference in competitive events.

According to co-researcher Brian R. MacIntosh, "the findings suggest that competitive athletes may reap greater rewards from PAP by engaging in less strenuous warm-up than conventional wisdom dictates. A better approach would be to aim for just enough activity to promote PAP without creating fatigue".

The findings are published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Source: ANI
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