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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Aug;112(8):3129-39. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-2262-z. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Warm-up effects on muscle oxygenation, metabolism and sprint cycling performance.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ, UK.


To investigate the effects of warm-up intensity on all-out sprint cycling performance, muscle oxygenation and metabolism, 8 trained male cyclists/triathletes undertook a 30-s sprint cycling test preceded by moderate, heavy or severe warm up and 10-min recovery. Muscle oxygenation was measured by near-infrared spectroscopy, with deoxyhaemoglobin ([HHb]) during the sprint analysed with monoexponential models with time delay. Aerobic, anaerobic-glycolytic and phosphocreatine energy provision to the sprint were estimated from oxygen uptake and lactate production. Immediately prior to the sprint, blood [lactate] was different for each warm up and higher than resting for the heavy and severe warm ups (mod. 0.94 ± 0.36, heavy 1.92 ± 0.64, severe 4.37 ± 0.93 mmol l(-1) P < 0.05), although muscle oxygenation was equally raised above rest. Mean power during the sprint was lower following severe compared to moderate warm up (mod. 672 ± 54, heavy 666 ± 56, severe 655 ± 59 W, P < 0.05). The [HHb] kinetics during the sprint were not different among conditions, although the time delay before [HHb] increased was shorter for severe versus moderate warm up (mod. 5.8 ± 0.6, heavy 5.6 ± 0.9, severe 5.2 ± 0.7 s, P < 0.05). The severe warm up was without effect on estimated aerobic metabolism, but increased estimated phosphocreatine hydrolysis, the latter unable to compensate for the reduction in estimated anaerobic-glycolytic metabolism. It appears that despite all warm ups equally increasing muscle oxygenation, and indicators of marginally faster oxygen utilisation at the start of exercise following a severe-intensity warm up, other energy sources may not be able to fully compensate for a reduced glycolytic rate in sprint exercise with potential detrimental effects on performance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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