ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Abstract

It is widely accepted that warming-up prior to exercise is vital for the attainment of optimum performance. Both passive and active warm-up can evoke temperature, metabolic, neural and psychology-related effects, including increased anaerobic metabolism, elevated oxygen uptake kinetics and post-activation potentiation. Passive warm-up can increase body temperature without depleting energy substrate stores, as occurs during the physical activity associated with active warm-up. While the use of passive warm-up alone is not commonplace, the idea of utilizing passive warming techniques to maintain elevated core and muscle temperature throughout the transition phase (the period between completion of the warm-up and the start of the event) is gaining in popularity. Active warm-up induces greater metabolic changes, leading to increased preparedness for a subsequent exercise task. Until recently, only modest scientific evidence was available supporting the effectiveness of pre-competition warm-ups, with early studies often containing relatively few participants and focusing mostly on physiological rather than performance-related changes. External issues faced by athletes pre-competition, including access to equipment and the length of the transition/marshalling phase, have also frequently been overlooked. Consequently, warm-up strategies have continued to develop largely on a trial-and-error basis, utilizing coach and athlete experiences rather than scientific evidence. However, over the past decade or so, new research has emerged, providing greater insight into how and why warm-up influences subsequent performance. This review identifies potential physiological mechanisms underpinning warm-ups and how they can affect subsequent exercise performance, and provides recommendations for warm-up strategy design for specific individual and team sports.
REVIEW ARTICLE
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise: Mechanisms
and Applications
Courtney J. McGowan
1,2
David B. Pyne
1,3
Kevin G. Thompson
1,2
Ben Rattray
1,2
ÓSpringer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
Abstract It is widely accepted that warming-up prior to
exercise is vital for the attainment of optimum perfor-
mance. Both passive and active warm-up can evoke tem-
perature, metabolic, neural and psychology-related effects,
including increased anaerobic metabolism, elevated oxy-
gen uptake kinetics and post-activation potentiation. Pas-
sive warm-up can increase body temperature without
depleting energy substrate stores, as occurs during the
physical activity associated with active warm-up. While
the use of passive warm-up alone is not commonplace, the
idea of utilizing passive warming techniques to maintain
elevated core and muscle temperature throughout the
transition phase (the period between completion of the
warm-up and the start of the event) is gaining in popularity.
Active warm-up induces greater metabolic changes, lead-
ing to increased preparedness for a subsequent exercise
task. Until recently, only modest scientific evidence was
available supporting the effectiveness of pre-competition
warm-ups, with early studies often containing relatively
few participants and focusing mostly on physiological
rather than performance-related changes. External issues
faced by athletes pre-competition, including access to
equipment and the length of the transition/marshalling
phase, have also frequently been overlooked. Conse-
quently, warm-up strategies have continued to develop
largely on a trial-and-error basis, utilizing coach and ath-
lete experiences rather than scientific evidence. However,
over the past decade or so, new research has emerged,
providing greater insight into how and why warm-up
influences subsequent performance. This review identifies
potential physiological mechanisms underpinning warm-
ups and how they can affect subsequent exercise perfor-
mance, and provides recommendations for warm-up strat-
egy design for specific individual and team sports.
Key Points
Passive and active warm-ups markedly influence
subsequent exercise performance via increases in
adenosine triphosphate turnover, muscle cross-
bridge cycling rate and oxygen uptake kinetics,
which enhance muscular function.
An active warm-up, consisting of a brief (\15 min)
aerobic portion and completion of 4–5 activation
sprints/race-pace efforts, post-activation potentiation
exercises or small-sided games, elicits improvements
in performance.
Passive heat maintenance techniques can preserve
the beneficial temperature effects induced via active
warm-up during lengthy transition phases.
&Courtney J. McGowan
courtney.mcgowan@canberra.edu.au
1
Research Institute for Sport and Exercise, Faculty of Health,
University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
2
Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health,
University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia
3
Discipline of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport,
Canberra, ACT, Australia
123
Sports Med
DOI 10.1007/s40279-015-0376-x
1 Introduction
Warming-up prior to a competitive exercise bout is a
widely accepted practice in the modern sporting environ-
ment, with athletes and coaches alike believing that
warming-up is essential for attaining optimal performance.
However, until quite recently, this belief was not well
supported by empirical evidence, with coaches often
resorting to a trial-and-error approach to design their ath-
letes’ warm-up strategies. In light of this, extensive
research has been conducted over the past decade to
determine the key warm-up elements for specific exercise
tasks. A large number of physiological and neural mech-
anisms have been examined to ascertain their contributions
to performance and responses to different warm-up
strategies. Purported mechanisms include increased muscle
metabolism [1], elevated oxygen uptake (VO
2
) kinetics [2]
and post-activation potentiation (PAP) [3]. Technological
advances over the past decade have also facilitated the
emergence of new types of warm-up strategies [4,5]. With
the last major review published over 10 years ago [6,7],
prior to several of these advances, it is timely to provide an
update on recent developments in the area.
Compiling this review involved identifying articles via
systematic searches (search completed 30 April 2014) of
the EBSCO, Medline and SPORTDiscus databases, as well
as inspection of the reference lists of the selected articles.
Studies that examined passive and active warm-up strate-
gies specifically are discussed, but we have excluded those
investigating stretching-only strategies (see Smith [8]). For
the final section of this review, studies regarding sport-
specific strategies were sourced from publications between
2003 and 2014. Studies investigating tasks common to the
competitive environment (e.g. a 100 m swimming time-
trial) and those with a well-defined endpoint (e.g. a 4 min
cycling time-trial) were included, but studies using ‘time to
exhaustion’ tasks were not. From this analysis, recom-
mendations are provided for warm-up strategies across
several individual and team-based sports, taking into con-
sideration the differences in competition structure and
environment.
2 Mechanisms of Warm-Up
One of the main outcomes associated with warming-up is
an increase in body temperature. Increases in muscle
temperature (T
muscle
) are reportedly accompanied by
increases in muscle metabolism [1] and muscle fibre con-
duction velocity (MFCV) [9]. Elevation of VO
2
kinetics
[10] and increases in muscle contractile performance fol-
lowing prior contractile activity [3] have also been
reported. In addition, visualization and preparatory arousal
techniques have been shown to enhance subsequent exer-
cise performance [11]. For ease of reference, we have
defined short-term/sprint performance as \1 min in dura-
tion, sustained high-intensity performance as [1–5 min in
duration and long-term (endurance) performance as
[5 min in duration.
2.1 Temperature Mechanisms
Performance improvements in exercise tasks preceded by a
warm-up are generally attributed to temperature-related
mechanisms. The early pioneers of warm-up research,
Asmussen and Bøje [12], determined that ‘organisms
facilitate work more effectively at higher temperatures’.
More recently, a strong association between power output
and T
muscle
has been established, with a 1 °C increase in
T
muscle
being shown to enhance subsequent exercise per-
formance by 2–5 %, depending on the type and velocity of
contraction(s) [1315], with the magnitude of the T
muscle
response being positively related to movement velocity
[14]. In addition, changes in T
muscle
are directly related to
changes in the relative work rate, with T
muscle
rising rapidly
from baseline (*35–37 °C) at the onset of moderate-in-
tensity exercise, before reaching a relative equilibrium
after *10–20 min [16,17].
2.1.1 Increased Muscle Metabolism
Accelerated muscle glycogen degradation at higher ambi-
ent temperatures was first shown in the early 1970s [18,
19]. The passive elevation of T
muscle
(e.g. via water-per-
fused cuffs) has been linked with faster adenosine
triphosphate (ATP) turnover, primarily via augmentation in
the rate of creatinine phosphate (PCr) utilization and H
?
accumulation, as well as increases in anaerobic glycolysis
and muscle glycogenolysis [2022]. Increases in subse-
quent exercise power production are considered the pri-
mary outcome of these changes [21,23]. Specifically,
passive warming of T
muscle
can increase anaerobic ATP
turnover within the first 2 min of heavy exercise, with no
further changes in turnover rate after this period [1].
However, several studies investigating this shift towards
greater anaerobic metabolism have yielded variable results,
partly due to researchers failing to take muscle biopsy
samples during the initial phase of the exercise task
(\2 min) and instead procuring samples only upon exercise
completion some 4?min later [1]. An increase in the
muscle cross-bridge cycling rate is one possible explana-
tion for this higher reported turnover rate, with a temper-
ature-dependent relationship existing between muscle fibre
cross-bridge cycling and the force produced during the
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
power stroke in cycling [24]. Given that passive elevation
of T
muscle
can increase muscle glycogen availability in the
short term (*2 min), it is likely that both sprint and sus-
tained high-intensity events could benefit from this
intervention.
2.1.2 Increased Muscle Fibre Performance
There is much debate about which muscle fibre types are
most affected by changes in temperature. Greater PCr
utilization in type I fibres has been shown during low-ca-
dence cycle exercise [B60 revolutions per minute (rpm)]
but not in type II fibres following prior passive warming
[1]. However, at these low velocities, type II fibres are
likely operating towards the lower part of the power–ve-
locity curve, where a rightward shift would have a minimal
effect on their power production capabilities. At a high
cadence (*160–180 rpm), however, elevating T
muscle
results in greater PCr and ATP utilization and maximal
power outputs in type II, but not in other fibre types [22]. It
seems that the function of both type I and type II muscle
fibres is affected by elevations in T
muscle
if contraction
frequency is taken into account, with a velocity-dependent
effect reported, i.e. type II fibres are more likely to benefit
from increased T
muscle
when the contraction frequency of
the exercise task is high, and vice versa for type I fibres.
2.1.3 Increased Muscle Fibre Conduction Velocity
Elevations in T
muscle
can positively alter the force–velocity
relationship and concomitantly the power–velocity rela-
tionship [2527], leading to higher power outputs in
exercise tasks [25], with a *3°C augmentation in T
muscle
being reported to elicit a measurable increase in both
MFCV and power [21]. Following passive muscle warm-
ing, evidence for an improvement in MFCV has been
observed, via a reduction in the time to reach peak twitch
and an increase in the rate of force development [21,28].
The MFCV in muscles both actively and passively
involved in the warm-up has also been reported to increase
(*5 % in the hand and *8.5 % in the leg) following a
moderate-intensity running-based warm-up [9]. Similarly,
different types of active warm-up modalities, running- or
back squat-based, produced *12 % increases in MFCV
[29]. Release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum
during fibre membrane depolarization [30], membrane
hyperpolarization as a result of increased Na
?
/K
?
pumping
activity [31], muscle fibre swelling [32] and/or faster
activation of muscle fibres [21] are all plausible explana-
tions for MFCV enhancement. Thus, post-warm-up
improvements in neuromuscular performance can, in part,
be attributed to alterations in muscle fibre conduction
properties. In addition, strength- and power-demanding
sports, such as sprinting and jumping, typically require a
fast rate of force development to attain the highest possible
peak power output within a short timeframe [33,34]. It is
also evident that during rapid cyclical movements, muscles
must relax quickly. The muscle relaxation rate depends on
the force level recorded from the time when a muscle starts
to relax; thus, this is the chosen point of reference [27]. The
speed of muscle relaxation can decrease at lower temper-
atures (22–25 °C). It has been established that maximal
rates of force development (peak power) and relaxation
have a temperature-dependent relationship with peak
power output and peak relaxation rate reported at higher
temperatures (25–37 °C) [27]. Temperature dependency is
likely related to one of the underlying processes of muscle
relaxation, such as calcium removal from the myoplasm,
calcium dissociation from troponin and/or the cross-bridge
detachment rate [25,27,35].
2.1.4 Temperature Mechanisms Summary
In summary, passively or actively elevating T
muscle
can
markedly influence exercise performance. Increases in
ATP turnover and cross-bridge cycling rate, as well as
improvements in muscle fibre functionality and MFCV,
appear as likely mechanisms. Athletes competing in sprint
and sustained high-intensity events seem the most likely
beneficiaries of elevations in body temperature due to
increases in muscle glycogen availability and the rate of
force development. However, caution should be exercised
under conditions of high heat and/or humidity, as it is
conceivable that prescribed warm-ups that are overly
intense or prolonged might adversely affect thermal toler-
ance. Pre- and within-exercise cooling methods, such as
cold water immersion [3638], cooling vests [39,40], ice
slurry ingestion [4143] or a combination of different
strategies [44], might be introduced in these settings.
2.2 Metabolic Mechanisms
While elevating body temperature via either passive or
active warm-up can improve subsequent exercise perfor-
mance, such elevations are not the sole determinant of
energy metabolism changes during exercise [45]. Active
warm-up, in particular, can stimulate changes in the
mechanisms underlying both anaerobic and aerobic meta-
bolism. In a landmark study, Gerbino and colleagues [46]
showed that 6 min of heavy-intensity ([lactate threshold,
\critical power) but not moderate-intensity (\lactate
threshold) exercise increased VO
2
kinetics during a sub-
sequent heavy exercise bout. Importantly, this was one of
the first studies to definitively show a ‘speeding’ of VO
2
kinetics following an exercise-based intervention. In
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
addition, the elevated VO
2
and associated aerobic meta-
bolism might spare finite anaerobic stores during the initial
stages of a subsequent exercise bout, thus preserving this
energy for subsequent use [47].
2.2.1 Elevation of Oxygen Uptake Kinetics
Oxidative metabolism is the principal means by which
humans generate energy for physical activity, the exception
being sprint-based activities. It is well established that a
bout of heavy-intensity priming exercise affects the time
course of the pulmonary VO
2
response within a subsequent
heavy-intensity exercise bout by speeding overall VO
2
kinetics [46,4851]. Initially it was believed that this
speeding of VO
2
kinetics occurred via an enhancement of
the primary VO
2
response to exercise [46,52]. However, it
has now been revealed that completion of a priming
exercise bout elicits an increase in the amplitude of the
primary VO
2
response and a reduction in the VO
2
slow
component [49,53,54]. Together, these changes in meta-
bolic function can improve exercise tolerance [48,55] and
mean power output [54]. However, there are other reports
that priming exercise bout completion may impair [56]or
have no influence [57] on subsequent exercise perfor-
mance. Explanations for the large variation between studies
include differences in the intensities of the priming and
criterion bouts, and the length of time between the priming
and criterion exercise bouts (here termed the ‘transition
phase’).
Moderate-intensity (below the lactate threshold) priming
bouts have a limited effect on the subsequent VO
2
response
[53], yet priming bouts performed at a heavy intensity
(from the lactate threshold up to critical power) can
enhance subsequent exercise performance [46,4851].
Severe-intensity priming exercise (above critical power)
has been linked to improved [5355] as well as impaired
subsequent performance [58], with impairments most
likely attributable to the transition phase being too short,
such that the blood lactate concentration (La
-
) at the onset
of the subsequent bout was [3 mmol/L [53]. Therefore, it
is necessary to strike a balance between the potential
benefits of priming exercise on VO
2
kinetics and the
depletion of anaerobic stores, as well as the associated
metabolic acidosis. This challenge was addressed in a
comprehensive study conducted by Bailey and colleagues
[53], in which both the intensity of the priming exercise
bout and the duration of the transition phase were manip-
ulated. A severe-intensity priming bout increased the time
to exhaustion (15–30 %) when the transition phase was
C9 min. This particular combination of priming bout
intensity and transition phase duration appears to have
optimized the balance between preserving the beneficial
effects of the priming bout on VO
2
kinetics while still
providing sufficient time for muscle homeostasis (e.g.
muscle phosphocreatine and H
?
concentrations) to be
restored.
Another study reported that a 6 min priming bout com-
pleted at a constant work rate of *80 % of peak oxygen
uptake (VO
2peak
), followed by a 10 min transition phase,
produced a mean La
-
concentration of *2.6 mmol/L [48].
Taking into consideration these findings, as well as others
[53], it appears that a bout of priming exercise which elicits
a degree of lactic acidosis (\3 mmol/L at the onset of the
criterion bout) is capable of positively altering VO
2
kinetics.
Furthermore, an individual’s baseline VO
2
response may be
elevated following completion of a priming exercise bout
[47]. This outcome may lead to the initial sparing of an
individual’s finite anaerobic energy stores, preserving this
energy for subsequent use (e.g. the final sprint to the line).
However, this elevated baseline VO
2
returns to baseline if
the transition duration exceeds 10 min [49], so the duration
of the transition phase is important to consider.
The precise physiological mechanism(s) responsible for
the effects of priming exercise on VO
2
kinetics are unclear.
Altered O
2
delivery and extraction [46,5961], increased
motor unit recruitment [49,52,53,62], shifts in the oxy-
haemoglobin curve [46], oxidative enzyme activity [63,64],
residual acidosis [48,54,65]—or a combination of these
mechanisms [6668]—have all been implicated in altering
the VO
2
kinetic response. Overall, it appears that completion
of a bout of heavy-intensity priming exercise can increase the
amplitude of the primary VO
2
response and reduce the VO
2
slow component. Collectively, these effects may enhance
subsequent exercise performance via increases in oxidative
enzyme activity and/or motor unit recruitment, such that the
‘strain’ placed on each individual muscle fibre is reduced.
2.3 Neural Mechanisms
It has been postulated that following a pre-loading stimulus
(i.e. active warm-up), fatigue and muscle potentiation
coexist within skeletal muscle [69,70], with the subsequent
force that a muscle is capable of generating ultimately
being dependent upon the net balance between these fac-
tors [70]. Although fatigue will impair performance,
inclusion of muscle ‘potentiation’ exercises within an
active warm-up might improve subsequent performance.
At present, tasks that require maximum power output over
a relatively short (\1 min) timespan [71,72], such as
jumping [73,74] and sprinting [75,76], can benefit fol-
lowing completion of a pre-loading stimulus.
2.3.1 Post-Activation Potentiation
The recent activity of skeletal muscle is known to have a
significant effect upon a muscle’s ability to generate
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
subsequent force [71,72,77]. PAP is a phenomenon where
muscular performance is acutely enhanced when preceded
by maximal or near-maximal neuromuscular activation
exercises [69,71,72]. It has been proposed that PAP may
increase the rate of acceleration attained with loads
between zero and peak isometric force, thus shifting the
load (force)–velocity relationship upward and to the right
(making it less concave) [3]. For example, 1 min after
inducement of PAP (via a 6 s maximal voluntary con-
traction) the load–velocity relationship shifted significantly
upward and the maximal power of the muscle (adductor
pollicis) was increased [78]. Mechanisms through which
PAP may improve subsequent physical performance
include enhanced central output to motor neurons [69],
increased reflex electrical activity in the spinal cord [79]
and phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chains [80,
81], which increase Ca
2?
sensitivity of the myofilaments
[82]. PAP may also increase the concentration of sar-
coplasmic Ca
2?
, which, in turn, can increase actin–myosin
cross-bridge cycling [83]. Completion of PAP-inducing
pre-loading can enhance performance in short-duration
tasks, such as jumping [74,75,84,85] and sprinting [76,
86,87], with heavy-resistance exercises [[85 % of 1 rep-
etition maximum (1RM)], such as bench presses [88], back
squats [76,89,90] and Olympic lifts [91], traditionally
used to induce the PAP response. However, the practicality
of completing such exercises in a competition setting is
limited. In more recent times, increases in power output of
2–5 % have been elicited via completion of more practical,
ballistic-style, pre-loading activities, such as drop jumps
[92,93] and weighted jumps [9496].
The success of a pre-loading exercise in generating a
PAP response depends on the balance between fatigue and
potentiation [69]. This balance is affected by numerous
factors, including training experience [75], the transition
phase duration [97] and the intensity of the pre-loading
activity [3]. The load to be moved in a pre-loading exercise
bout is important to consider, with higher loads associated
with a greater PAP response [98100]. Henneman’s size
principle [101,102] likewise suggests that higher rather
than lower loading should more effectively increase acti-
vation of the motor units in type II muscle fibres, which has
been confirmed in in vitro studies [103,104]. However,
higher loads are associated with a greater concomitant
increase in fatigue, which may eliminate the potential for
performance enhancement if a sufficient transition phase is
not observed. According to a recent meta-analysis [105],
exercises of moderate intensity (60–84 % 1RM) are ideal
for eliciting a PAP response, in comparison with very high-
intensity exercises ([85 % 1RM), independent of an ath-
lete’s training experience [106], perhaps due to increased
contractile activity leading to increased muscle damage.
However, athletes with [3 years of resistance training
experience, where training adaptation may protect against
muscle damage, appear more likely to respond optimally to
pre-loading activities [105,107]. In addition, muscle fibre
type has been reported to influence the level of PAP
response, with persons possessing a higher percentage of
type II postulated to achieve a greater PAP response. In
support of this, a positive correlation (r=0.63, P=0.01)
between muscular strength (absolute and relative) and
counter-movement jump (CMJ) peak potentiation has been
reported 12 min after completion of a 3 repetition maxi-
mum (3RM) back squat stimulus [75]. The transition
duration is also important to consider, because while
potentiation of a muscle twitch is greatest immediately
following a PAP stimulus [108110], the same cannot be
said for subsequent performance. Improvements in power
output can occur after 5 min transitions [81], 8–12 min
transitions [75,89,97] and even 18.5 min transitions [107],
with a transition duration of 7–10 min deemed optimal for
eliciting peak power outputs in experienced individuals
[75,105,111]. Individual responses can vary, though [75,
97]; thus, coaches should determine each individual ath-
lete’s optimal transition duration to maximize their power-
generating capabilities in a subsequent exercise task.
Finally, although some researchers have reported no
improvement or a negative impact on performance fol-
lowing PAP [112114], this outcome may be partially
explained by methodological differences between studies
[3,83].
In summary, several factors need to be considered when
designing a PAP-inducing, pre-loading exercise bout,
including an individual’s training experience and the
intensity at which the bout is completed. Exercises such as
drop jumps completed as part of a pre-loading bout appear
to induce a PAP response and yield substantial improve-
ments in subsequent exercise tasks in which maximal
power production is a key determinant.
2.4 Psychological Mechanisms
The warm-up period is recognized as an opportunity to
mentally prepare for an upcoming event by providing time
for athletes to concentrate on the task ahead. It is well
recognized that many athletes complete some form of
mental preparation prior to competition tasks [115]. Typi-
cal strategies include visualization, saying of cue words,
attentional focus and preparatory arousal (‘psyching-up’)
[11,116]. These strategies are designed to narrow an
individual’s attention and build their self-confidence [116].
Athletes competing in various sports, such as water polo
[117], football [118] and tennis [119], have shown
improvements in task execution following use of prior
mental rehearsal techniques. Bench press force production
can also be enhanced by psyching-up [115]. It is known
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
that elite athletes often use mental preparation tasks more
regularly in both training and competition than recreational
and novice athletes [120], with the use of mental perfor-
mance strategies prior to competition deemed a distin-
guishing characteristic of successful Olympians [121].
Although the focus of this review is primarily on the
physiological and performance aspects of warm-up, the
information highlighted in this section is an important
consideration for the real-world implications of effective
warm-up strategies. Psychological feedback, including the
athlete’s and their coach’s comfort with warm-up routines
for future use, should be evaluated alongside physiological
measures in future studies.
3 Passive Warm-Up Strategies and Exercise
Performance
An increase in T
muscle
of 1 °C can enhance subsequent
exercise performance by 2–5 % [15]. Unlike active warm-
up, passive warming permits an increase in core tempera-
ture (T
core
) and/or T
muscle
without depletion of energetic
substrates. Much of the early research in this area has been
laboratory based, with increases in body temperature
achieved via external heating methods, such as hot show-
ers/baths. These types of passive warm-ups are, however,
not often practical in the field. However further investi-
gations of passive warm-up strategies have been prompted,
given that (1) T
muscle
begins to decline immediately fol-
lowing exercise cessation; (2) appreciable declines occur
as early as *15–20 min post-exercise [122,123]; and
(3) there is often a lengthy period between the end of the
warm-up and the start of competition (the transition phase).
3.1 Hot Showers, Baths, Heated Garments
and Blizzard Survival Jackets
Passive elevation of T
muscle
was first achieved via the use of
hot showers (*47 °C), lasting 8–10 min, and/or baths,
both of which were linked with improvements in the total
work completed in a subsequent exercise bout [12] and
swimming performances over 50, 200 and 400 m distances
[124,125]. Hot water immersion (*42.8 °C), combined
with electric blankets applied to the lower body, also
increased power output (by *22 %) in a 6 s maximal
cycle sprint task [21]. Recently, however, the way in which
passive warm-up strategies are employed has changed,
largely because of the timing constraints incurred during
competition [4,123]. It is not uncommon for competitive
athletes to complete their active warm-up and then have to
wait 10–40 min in a changing room, call room or mar-
shalling area before their event begins [4,123,126128].
This delay may reduce the beneficial effects of the pre-
competition warm-up, given that T
muscle
begins to decline
immediately following exercise cessation, with a signifi-
cant reduction occurring *15–20 min after exercise ter-
mination [4,123]. While it has been shown on several
occasions that reducing the transition duration from *40
to *10 min improves subsequent performance [123,126,
129], it is usually not possible to alter a competition
schedule by such a large margin. In light of this, it has been
postulated that the decline in body temperature during the
transition phase could be offset by combining an athlete’s
sport-specific active warm-up with passive warming tech-
niques. However, until recently, the feasibility of com-
bining these two warm-up strategies was limited, with the
notion of athletes showering in the last 10–20 min before
competition often being impractical. The emergence of
new methods of passive heat maintenance, such as heated
athletic garments (e.g. Adidas Clima365, AG, Germany)
and blizzard survival jackets (e.g. those produced by
Blizzard Protection Systems Ltd, Bangor, UK), provide
practical passive warming alternatives.
Heated athletic garments have battery-powered heat
filaments sewn into the fabric fibres, allowing them to be
used across a wide range of athletic activities. Combining
an active cycle ergometer warm-up with application of
additional passive heat maintenance via heated tracksuit
pants worn during a 30 min transition phase yielded a
substantial improvement in T
muscle
maintenance (heated
garment use resulted in a 1 °C higher T
muscle
at a depth of
0.01 m and a 0.4 °C higher T
muscle
at 0.03 m than when no
additional heated was applied) within the transition, and
*9 % enhancement in both peak and relative power output
during a sprint cycling task [4]. In another study conducted
by the same group, T
muscle
remained elevated during the
transition and was greater immediately prior to the start of
a sprint cycling task when heated tracksuit pants were worn
during the transition phase (36.9 ±0.3 °C) and during the
active warm-up (37.0 ±0.2 °C) compared to control
(36.6 ±0.3 °C) [130]. However, wearing heated tracksuit
pants during the active warm-up as well as during the
transition phase did not provide additional performance
benefit [130]. The wearing of blizzard survival jackets has
also been shown to elicit a 65 % increase in tympanic
temperature and improve performance in a 20 m sled
sprinting task [129]. Furthermore, an active warm-up fol-
lowed by application of a blizzard survival jacket during a
15 min transition phase produced faster repeat-sprint per-
formance (6.96 ±0.14 s versus control 7.01 ±0.16 s) in
elite rugby players [5]. The reduction in T
core
during the
transition was minimized when the blizzard jackets were
worn (-0.19 ±0.08 °C) versus control (-0.55 ±0.10 °C)
[5]. As a result, participants began the subsequent criterion
testing bout with an elevated T
core
.
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
In summary, although the use of passive warm-up alone
is not commonplace, the idea of using it to maintain an
elevated body temperature throughout the transition phase
is gaining traction. Passive heat maintenance via the
wearing of heated tracksuit pants or blizzard survival
jackets appears to be an effective method for attenuating
the decline in T
muscle
and/or T
core
during lengthy transition
phases, and subsequently improving exercise performance.
Furthermore, it is likely that passive warming techniques
may be applied to other situations in which it is difficult to
maintain T
core
via metabolic heat production alone, such as
between repeated exercise bouts (e.g. multiple races within
a swimming meet) separated by periods of low to moderate
activity. Further research is required to determine the
optimum use of such devices, including garment temper-
ature, the length of time for which the garment(s) should be
worn, when in the competition timeline the gar-
ment(s) should be used, and the specific placement of the
passive heat source on the body for individual sports.
4 Active Warm-Up Strategies and Exercise
Performance
Active warm-up is the most widely chosen warm-up
strategy for pre-competition preparation. The effectiveness
of an active warm-up strategy is determined largely by its
composition, including the intensity and duration of the
physical tasks completed, as well as the length of the
transition phase. For each of the three individual sports we
reviewed, we have confined our discussion to the effects of
active warm-up on single exercise tasks (e.g. an 800 m
running time-trial). For team sports, we have focused on
reviewing studies that examined the effects of active warm-
up on actual game play, simulated game play or relevant
sport-specific performance tests (e.g. repeat-sprint tasks for
team sports).
4.1 Running
Competitive runners competing across all distances rang-
ing from sprint events (100–400 m) to middle-distance
(800–1500 m) and long-distance ([1500 m) events typi-
cally complete some form of active warm-up prior to
competition. For the current review, ten papers met the
selection criteria, of which eight demonstrated improved
running performance following an active warm-up
(Table 1). Only one study investigated if active warm-up
induced biomechanical changes, with shoulder lean, hip
flexion and forward lean deemed to have improved [87].
However, in the same study, performance times for 36.6 m
sprint sled pulls did not improve following an active warm-
up involving sled pulls with different mass loadings [87].
In another study, a set of 5 940 m efforts completed at
near-race-pace intensity (90–95 % VO
2max
) resulted in
faster 50–60 m split times in a subsequent 60 m sprint than
when only a single near-race-pace effort was completed
[131]. All of the studies utilized a sprint-oriented (\400 m)
test, except for one study in which 800 m running perfor-
mance was investigated. In that study, athletes completed
an active warm-up involving ‘jogging’, mobility drills and
strides with or without a 200 m effort at 800 m race pace,
prior to a 20 min transition period [128]. Subsequent per-
formance in an 800 m time-trial was *1 % faster when a
race-pace effort was included, with pacing differences in
the latter part of the effort. It appears that completion of at
least one race-pace effort (of at least 25 % of the distance
to be raced) is necessary to sufficiently prime runners for a
middle-distance event, while completion of multiple near-
race-pace efforts can improve sprint performance.
The most common active warm-up strategy we inves-
tigated involved completion of several repetitions of a back
squat. One study reported similar performance times fol-
lowing no warm-up or a warm-up of 3 93 back squats
(90/100 % 1RM) [132], while the remaining four studies
required participants to complete one set at between 60 %
and 90 % 1RM, resulting in superior sprint performance
over 20, 30 and 40 m distances in comparison to when no
back squats were completed [76,133135]. Another pop-
ular active warm-up strategy involves the use of drop
jumps. A brief active warm-up entailing 5 min of ‘jog-
ging’, dynamic stretches and three drop jumps improved
(by 5 %) 20 m sprint performance in comparison to when
no drop jumps were completed [93]. These findings were
confirmed by another study, where completion of 2 95
drop jumps from a height of 0.75 m elicited faster 50 m
sprint times (by *2%) [136]. In addition, these
researchers investigated the optimal transition duration
after which sprint performance should commence, with a
transition phase of 15 min found to elicit the best perfor-
mances [136]. The remaining nine studies utilized transi-
tion durations of 1 min [93,133], 4 min [76,87,132,134]
and 10 min [131,135], with only one study extending the
transition phase to 20 min [128]. Given that the mar-
shalling time in competitive running events, particularly
track events, can last between 10 and 20 min [128], argu-
ably a focus for future studies should be to employ more
competition-realistic timelines.
In terms of recommendations, it appears that completion
of at least one race-pace effort for middle-distance races
and a set of at least five near-race-pace efforts for sprint
races results in subsequent faster running performance. For
sprint events, performing a set of heavy-resistance exer-
cises, such as back squats, may also enhance performance,
though the feasibility of completing such exercises in the
competition environment is questionable. Finally, much of
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
Table 1 Performance, physiological and biomechanical changes following active warm-up in running
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological/biomechanical
results
Byrne et al.
[93]
29 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min ‘Jog’ NS 1 20 m Overall time: WU
2
(2.2 %) \WU
1
*
WU
2
: same as
WU
1
?10
dynamic stretches
WU
3
(5 %) \WU
1
*
WU
3
: same as
WU
2
?3 drop
jumps
WU
3
(2.9 %) \WU
2
*
Smith et al.
[87]
24 T: 12 M, 12 F WU
1
: 4 min cycle 50–70 %
HR
max
4 (‘slow’
walk)
36.6 m Overall time: similar Shoulder lean:
WU
4
?WU
3
[WU
2
;
WU
4
?WU
3
[WU
1
*;
36.6 m Max sprint
18.3 m Max sprint
WU
2
: same as
WU
1
?18.3 m
Sled sprint
10 % BM
Hip flexion:
WU
4
?WU
3
[WU
2
?WU
1
*;
WU
3
: same as
WU
1
?18.3 m
Sled sprint
20 % BM
WU
4
: same as
WU
1
?18.3 m
Sled sprint
30 % BM
Forward lean:
WU
4
?WU
3
[WU
2
?WU
1
*
Ingham
et al. [128]
11 T: 7 M, 4 F
national/
international
level
WU
1
: 10 min ‘Jog’ La
-
:
WU
2
[WU
1
*
20 800 m Overall time: WU
2
\WU
1
*;
split time (400–500; 700–800):
WU
2
\WU
1
La
-
: similar
Mobility drills Total VO
2
:WU
2
[WU
1
*;
6950 m strides RP
WU
2
: 10 min ‘Jog’ Peak VO
2
:WU
2
[WU
1
;
Mobility drills
2950 m strides RP Mean VO
2
response time: similar
200 m RP
Lim et al.
[132]
12 T (M) WU
1
: 0 NS 4 30 m Overall time: similar
WU
2
:3(393s)
IKE
Max (2 min
rest/set)
WU
3
:3(393 s) IS 100 % 1RM
WU
4
:3(393s)
BS
90 % 1RM
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
Table 1 continued
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological/biomechanical
results
Watterdale
[131]
5 T (M) WU
1
: 0 NS 10 60 m Overall time: similar
WU
2
: 10 min ‘Jog’ Final 10 m: WU
3
\WU
2
7 min Mobility
drills
5940–50 m 90–95 %
VO
2max
WU
3
: 10 min ‘Jog’
1940–50 m 90–95 %
VO
2max
Bomfim
Lima et al.
[136]
10 T (M) WU
1
:0 NS T
1
: 5 50 m Overall time: WU
2
?T
2
(2.4 %) \WU
1
?T
2
*;
WU
2
?T
3
(2.7 %) \WU
1
?T
2
*
WU
2
:295 drop 15 s rest/
jumps
T
2
:10
jumps (0.75 m) 3 min rest/
sets
T
3
:15
Ronnestad
and
Ellefsen
[133]
9 T (M) WU
1
: 7 min ‘Jogging’ 1 40 m Overall time: WU
3
\WU
1
*;
WU
1
?WU
2
: similar
3–4 940 m ‘Sub-
maximal’
15 9BhS BW
WU
2
: same as
WU
1
?15 9BhS
With WBV
(30 Hz)
WU
3
: same as
WU
1
?15 9BhS
With WBV
(50 Hz)
Rahimi
[134]
12 T (M) WU
1
: 0 NS 4 40 m Overall time: WU
2
(1.1 %), WU
3
(1.8 %), WU
4
(3 %) \WU
1
*
WU
4
\WU
2
*
WU
2
:294 BS 60 % 1RM
WU
3
:294 BS 70 % 1RM
WU
4
:294 BS 85 % 1RM
McBride
et al. [76]
15 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min cycle 70 rpm 4 (‘slow’
walk)
40 m Overall time: WU
2
\WU
3
;
WU
2
(-0.9 %) \WU
1
*;
0–10 m: WU
2
(-1.4 %) \WU
1
WU
2
: 5 min cycle 70 rpm
4 min walk ‘slow’
39BS 90 % 1RM
WU
3
: 5 min cycle 70 rpm
4 min walk ‘slow’
39CMJ 30 % 1RM
(BS)
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
the existing research has been conducted in sprint perfor-
mance, so less is known about optimal warm-up strategies
for middle- and long-distance running events.
4.2 Cycling
Cyclists competing in events on the road and the track in
both sprint and endurance-focused events typically com-
plete a warm-up either on a portable ergometer or on the
competition surface itself. Much of the research conducted
into endurance cycling performance has utilized time to
exhaustion testing as the criterion task, with participants
required to ‘pace’ themselves according to their VO
2
or
heart rate (HR). In this review, however, we chose to
examine only studies in which the criterion task sought to
simulate a competitive event with a clearly defined end-
point. In keeping with these criteria, a total of five studies
were chosen for review (Table 2). Each of these studies
investigated the influence of warm-up on sprint events
lasting 6–60 s in duration. In terms of warm-up duration
and intensity, reducing the duration and the intensity of the
initial aerobic portion (from 20 to 15 min) and the number
of activation sprints completed (1 vs 4) resulted in higher
peak power outputs during a 30 s Wingate test [137]. In
this example, it appears that the change in warm-up
structure likely reduced fatigue, providing a better balance
between fatigue and performance potentiation.
Two groups have examined the influence of PAP-in-
ducing exercises on sprint cycling performance. The
addition of 4 94 dynamic contractions (four pedal revo-
lutions against heavy resistance) to an existing warm-up
involving a 15 min aerobic effort [60–70 % of maximum
heart rate (HR
max
)] and a single 6 s sprint resulted in a
faster time to maximal velocity and higher peak power
output during a subsequent 6 s sprint [138]. Additionally,
participants reached maximal velocity quickest after only a
4 min transition, whereas the highest mean power output
was recorded after a 16 min transition phase. In support of
these findings, the completion of 2 95 deadlifts enhanced
peak power output within the first 5 and 10 s of a 30 s
sprint bout [139] following a 10 min transition phase. It
appears that short-duration (5–10 s) sprint performance
(peak power and mean power output) can be enhanced
following completion of a minimum of two sets of 4–5
repetitions of a dynamic heavy-resistance exercise prior to
a 10–16 min transition phase.
The composition of an active warm-up strategy also
appears to depend on the duration of the criterion task. In
two studies conducted by the same research group [140,
141], the same three active warm-up strategies were
examined. Each strategy involved participants completing
a total of 5 min of cycling at 40 % of their peak aerobic
power, followed by 1 min at either 40, 80 or 110 % of
Table 1 continued
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological/biomechanical
results
Matthews
et al. [135]
20 T (M) WU
1
: 20 m Max sprint NS 10 20 m Overall time: WU
2
(0.1 s) \WU
1
*–
WU
2
: 20 m Max sprint
59BS 5RM
1RM 1 repetition maximum, 5RM 5 repetition maximum, BhS back half-squat, BM body mass, BS back squat, BW body weight, CMJ counter-movement jump,Ffemale, HR heart rate,
HR
max
maximum heart rate (bpm), IKE isometric knee extension, IS isometric squat, Mmale, mmetre, max maximal, min minute,NSnot stated, La
-
blood lactate concentration (mmol/L),
RP race pace, rpm revolutions per minute, ssecond, Ttrained runners, VO
2
oxygen uptake, VO
2max
maximal oxygen uptake, WBV whole-body vibration, WU warm-up intervention
*P\0.05
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
peak aerobic power, with a 10 min transition phase then
being observed. Participants performed either a 60 s
maximal sprint [140] or a 30 s maximal sprint [141]. In
both studies, La
-
was increased by the active warm-ups
and remained elevated up until the time-trial start in the
110 % condition (*4 mmol) versus the 80 % (*2 mmol)
and 40 % (*1 mmol) conditions. While there was no
difference in mean power output during the 60 s effort
[140], mean power output during the 30 s sprint was
highest following the 40 % condition compared with the 80
and 110 % conditions [141], suggesting that residual aci-
dosis has a greater effect on performance in shorter (i.e.
30 s) rather than longer (i.e. 60 s) sprint events.
In summary, for cycling, it appears that longer, higher-
intensity aerobic warm-up strategies do not translate into
better sprint cycling performance in comparison with rel-
atively shorter, lower-intensity aerobic efforts followed by
a few activation sprint efforts. Addition of several sets of
dynamic heavy-resistance exercises towards the end of an
active warm-up should promote sprint cycling performance
but might only be practical in a training session. The
duration of the criterion task is also important to consider,
as ‘pure’ (i.e. B30 s) sprint events might be more sensitive
to fatigue induced by a prior active warm-up than longer
events (i.e. 30–60 s). Finally, there is a lack of studies
examining the influence of active warm-up on simulated
endurance competition events (e.g. a 4000 m individual
pursuit). Future research should seek to rectify this issue.
4.3 Swimming
Pool-based warm-ups are the most commonly utilized type
of active warm-up strategy for swimmers competing at all
levels, with many coaches believing that these are superior
to dry-land-based warm-ups as they assist swimmers in
gaining a ‘feel for the water’ [142]. Of the nine studies in
the review, four [123,126,143,144] demonstrated
improvements in performance following completion of an
active pool or dry-land-based warm-up, while the remain-
ing five studies [145149] reported no improvements in
swimming performance following active warm-up com-
pletion (Table 3). Three studies directly compared the
influence of a pool-based warm-up on sprint swimming
performance, with varying results. Significantly faster
(100 m freestyle [144]) or similar (50 m freestyle [145,
146]) performances were recorded following a 1000 m
pool-based warm-up compared with no warm-up. The
improved performance occurred [144] following comple-
tion of a set of short-duration (25 m) race-pace efforts
within the 1000 m warm-up, while in the remaining two
studies [145,146], swimmers were simply requested to
complete 1000 m at a ‘freely’ chosen exercise intensity. In
addition, swimmers who completed a set of race-pace
efforts produced faster 50 m split times [144]. Completion
of at least one set of race-pace efforts during the pool
warm-up appears necessary to sufficiently prime swimmers
for an upcoming sprint swim event.
In terms of total pool warm-up volume, three studies
specifically compared the influence of short (91.4 m) and
long-duration (457.2–1200 m) pool warm-ups on subse-
quent sprint (45.7 m) swimming performance. Two of
these studies [147,149] reported that the total volume had
no influence on subsequent performance, while the
remaining study reported faster sprint swimming times
following a pool warm-up of *1200 m in volume in
comparison with a 91.4 m warm-up or no warm-up [143].
It appears that the significantly higher HR reported fol-
lowing the longer-duration warm-up may have positively
influenced subsequent sprint performance by elevating
cardiac output prior to the start and potentially speeding
VO
2
kinetics. It could also be speculated that the shorter
warm-up and the no-warm-up conditions may not have
altered T
muscle
significantly from baseline. Individual dif-
ferences were observed, however, with 19 % of partici-
pants swimming faster after a short-duration warm-up and
37 % swimming faster after no warm-up at all. It seems
that the total pool warm-up volume can influence subse-
quent performance; however, individual responses can vary
substantially. In terms of dry-land-based warm-ups, three
research groups reported that either upper body vibration
[147], an exercise routine including skipping and vertical
jumps [149] or heavy-resistance exercises (87 % 1RM
back squats) [148] yielded swimming performances similar
to those produced following a pool-based warm-up. These
findings indicate that for athletes unable to access a pool,
variations of a dry-land-based warm-up may be a feasible
alternative. It appears that the performance of these exer-
cises induces a PAP response, which most likely underpins
subsequent improvements in short-duration events, such as
sprint swimming.
In swimming, the duration of the transition phase is of
particular importance because competitive swimmers are
routinely required to report to the marshalling area
*15–20 min prior to the start of their race [123,126],
effectively preventing them from completing additional
active warm-up activities during this time. Prior to this,
swimmers must complete their pool warm-up, change into
their race swimsuit and receive any final communications
from their coach. Thus, transition phases of 30–45 min are
not uncommon [123,126]. Only limited research has been
conducted to quantify the impact of the transition duration
on subsequent swimming performance. Reducing the
transition duration from 45 to 10 min was associated with
improvements (*1.4 %) in 200 m swimming performance
[126], but this paradigm does not reflect the competition
reality (a *15–20 min marshalling period). Similarly, a
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
Table 2 Performance, physiological and biomechanical changes following active warm-up in cycling
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological results Biomechanical results
Munro [138] 6 T: 4 M,
2F
WU
1
: 5 min 60 % HR
max
NS T
1
: 4 6 s Time required to reach max
velocity:
WU
2
?T
1
\WU
1
?WU
3
*
Optimal cadence, mean PO:
WU
3
?T
3
[WU
2
?WU
3
*
5 min 65 % HR
max
T
2
:8
5 min 70 % HR
max
T
3
:16
30 s ‘Acceleration’
6 s Max sprint
1.5 min Easy
WU
2
: same as
WU
1
?494
pedal strokes
Max sprints,
2 min rest/
set
WU
3
: same as
WU
1
?494
(5 s IC)
2 min rest/set
Thatcher
et al. [139]
10 T (M) WU
1
:0 La
-
,VO
2
:
WU
2
[WU
1
*
T
1
: 5 30 s (5 s,
10 s,
30 s
splits)
–La
-
:WU
2
?T
2
[WU
1
?T
2
*;
VO
2
:WU
2
?T
1
[WU
1
?T
1
*
PPO: WU
1
?T
2
[WU
2
?T
2
for 5 s, 10 s splits*
WU
2
: 5 min 60 W T
2
:10
195 DL 50 % 1RM T
3
:20
195 DL 85 % 1RM T
4
:30
Wittekind
et al. [141]
8 T (M) WU
1
: 6 min 40 % PaP La
-
:WU
3
(*4) [WU
2
(*2) [WU
1
(1)*
10 30 s HHb: similar Mean PO:
WU
1
[WU
2
[WU
3
*
WU
2
: 5 min 40 % PaP
1 min 80 % PaP
WU
3
: 5 min 40 % PaP
1 min 110 % PaP
Wittekind
and
Beneke
[140]
11 T (M) WU
1
: 6 min 40 % PaP La
-
:WU
3
(*4) [WU
2
(*2) [WU
1
(*1)*
10 1 min La
-
:WU
1
?WU
2
[WU
3
*;
VO
2
:WU
3
[WU
2
[WU
1
*
Mean PO: similar
WU
2
: 5 min 40 % PaP
1 min 80 % PaP
WU
3
: 5 min 40 % PaP
1 min 110 % PaP
Tomaras and
MacIntosh
[137]
10 T (M) WU
1
: 20 min 60–95 %
HR
max
HR
max
:
WU
1
[WU
2
;
LA
-
:
WU
1
[WU
2
*
12.5 30 s
Wingate
test
T
skin
: similar PPO: WU
2
[WU
1
*; PATT:
WU
2
[WU
1
*
194 Max sprints,
8 min rest
WU
2
: 15 min 60–70 %
HR
max
191 Max sprint
1RM 1 repetition maximum, DL deadlift, Ffemale, HHb deoxyhaemoglobin,HRheart rate (bpm), HR
max
maximum heart rate, IC isometric contraction, Mmale, mmetre, max maximal, min minute, NS not stated,
La
-
blood lactate concentration (mmol/L), PaP peak aerobic power, PATT peak active twitch torque, PO power output, PPO peak power output, ssecond, Ttrained cyclists, T
skin
skin temperature, VO
2
oxygen uptake,
Wwatts, WU warm-up intervention
*P\0.05
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
Table 3 Performance, physiological and biomechanical changes following active warm-up in swimming
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume (m) Intensity Dry-land Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological
results
Biomechanical
results
Neiva et al.
[144]
20 T:
10 M,
10 F
WU
1
: 0 NS 10 100 m
free
Overall, 50 m split
time:
WU
2
\WU
1
*
La
-
, RPE:
similar
1st 50 m SL, SI:
WU
2
[WU
1
*
WU
2
: 300 Easy
29100 High SL
4950 Drill
4950 1st 25 m
RP
100 Easy
Al-
Nawaiseh
et al. [149]
13 T: 9 M,
4F
WU
1
: 365.8 On 6 min WU
3
: 1 min skip, 10
VJ, 365.8 m easy
swim, 5 9push
offs, 45.7 m kick/
swim, 5 9push
offs
HR:
WU
2
[WU
1
,
WU
3
5 45.7 m
free
Overall time: similar HR: similar
4991.4
drill/swim
On
1.40 min
4945.7
kick/swim
On 1 min
4922.8 1 RP/1
easy
WU
2
: 45.7 90 % max
45.7 100 % max
West et al.
[123]
8T:4M,
4F
WU
1
: 400 HR 40–60
bpm \
HR
max
T
core
WU
1
[WU
2
;
La
-
: similar
T
1
: 20 200 m
free
Overall time:
WU
1
(*1.5 %)
T
core
, HR, RPE:
similar;
SR: similar
200 pull T
2
:45 \WU
2
*La
-
:
WU
1
[WU
2
*
200 kick
200 drill
200 IM
4950 free RP
200 free Easy
Neiva et al.
[145]
10 T (M) WU
1
: 0 NS 10 50 m free Overall time: similar La
-
, RPE:
similar
WU
2
: 1000 ‘Freely’
Neiva et al.
[146]
7 T (F) WU
1
: 0 NS 10 50 m free Overall time: similar La
-
, RPE:
similar
SR, SL, SI:
similar
WU
2
: 1000 ‘Freely’
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
Table 3 continued
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume (m) Intensity Dry-land Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological
results
Biomechanical
results
Balilionis
et al. [143]
16 T: 8 M,
8F
WU
1
: 0 HR:
WU
3
[WU
1
*;
RPE:
WU
3
[WU
1
,
WU
2
*
3 45.7 m
free
Overall time:
WU
3
\WU
2
*
HR:
WU
2
\WU
3
Dive distance,
SC, SR:
similar
WU
2
: 45.7 40 % max
45.7 90 % max
WU
3
:*1200 Freely
Kilduff et al.
[148]
9T:7M,
2F
WU
1
: 300 Easy WU
2
:3987 %
1RM BS
NS 8 15 m
start
free
15 m start time:
similar
– PHF:
WU
1
\WU
2
*;
PVF:
WU
1
\WU
2
*
69100
pull/kick
10 950 RP
100 Easy
Nepocatych
et al. [147]
10 Mast:
4M,6F
WU
1
:\400 WU
2
:591 min
UBV (22 Hz)
HR:
WU
1
[WU2*
3 45.7 m
free
Overall time: similar HR:
WU
1
[WU
2
,
WU
3
;
45.7 m 90 %
VO
2max
RPE: similar
WU
2
: 45.7 40 %
VO
2max
WU
3
:591 min
UBV (22 Hz)
45.7 90 %
VO
2max
Zochowski
et al. [126]
10 T: 5 M,
5F
WU
1
: 300 Easy HR:
WU
1
[WU
2
*
T
1
: 10 200 m
back/
free/
breast
Overall time: WU
2
(*1.4 %) \WU
1
*
HR:
WU
1
[WU
2
*;
La
-
, RPE:
similar
69100
pull/kick
T
2
:45
10 950 RP
100 Easy
1RM 1 repetition maximum, back backstroke, bpm beats per minute, breast breaststroke, BS back squat, Ffemale, free freestyle, HR heart rate, HR
max
maximum heart rate (bpm), Hz hertz,
IM individual medley, La
-
blood lactate concentration (mmol/L), Mmale, mmetre, Mast masters swimmers, max maximal, min minute,NSnot stated, PHF peak horizontal force, PVF peak
vertical force, RP race pace, RPE rate of perceived exertion, SC stroke count, SI stroke index, SL stroke length, SR stroke rate, Ttrained swimmers, T
core
core temperature, UBV upper body
vibration, VJ vertical jump, VO
2
oxygen uptake,WUwarm-up intervention
*P\0.05
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
transition phase of 20 min yielded performance superior
(*1.5 %) to that of a 45 min transition [123]. The par-
ticipants’ T
core
remained elevated during the 20 min tran-
sition, suggesting that improved maintenance of T
core
may
enhance subsequent exercise performance [123]. In future
studies, researchers should ensure that the study format
accounts for the lengthy transition phases experienced by
competitive swimmers and should identify effective
methods for improving T
core
maintenance.
From the studies reviewed, several recommendations
can be made. Swimmers should complete between *500
and 1200 m and include at least one set of short-duration
race-pace efforts towards the end of their pool warm-up.
Swimmers could also incorporate dry-land activities or
even passive heat maintenance devices, such as heated
athletic garments (as have been trialled in cycling studies)
to maintain an elevated body temperature during lengthy
transition phases. Finally, much research has been con-
ducted on the influence of warm-up on short-duration
(50–100 m) freestyle swimming events, but evidence is
lacking for events lasting 200 m or more in freestyle and in
other strokes (e.g. breaststroke).
4.4 Football, Rugby and Repeat-Sprint
Performance
Athletes competing in field-based team sports, such as
football and rugby, typically complete an active warm-up
compromising running and mobility exercises, as well as
sport-specific drills with or without the ball prior to a
competitive match [150]. These pre-match warm-ups on
average last *30 min, with a *12 min transition between
the end of the warm-up and the start of the match [5,127].
A 10–15 min break between the first and second halves is
also common [5,127]. Fourteen studies feature in the
review, with nine examining the influence of different pre-
match warm-up strategies on performance (Table 4), while
the remaining five investigated the efficacy of various re-
warm-up strategies completed during the half-time break
(Table 5). Five studies demonstrated that a non-sport-
specific pre-match warm-up consisting of heavy-resistance
exercises, such as back squats [97,151], back half-squats
[152], front squats [151,153] and leg press exercises [150],
enhanced subsequent CMJ, repeat-sprint and reactive agi-
lity performance. However, sport-specific warm-ups,
including activities such as small-sided games (SSGs),
provide additional ergogenic benefits over a generic con-
ditioning warm-up strategy by priming neural pathways
and increasing neuromuscular activation [154]. SSGs are
designed to simulate the skill and physical/physiological
demands of a particular sport by incorporating activities
and movement patterns specific to competitive team-sport
tasks, such as passing, shooting and ball control activities
[155]. The current evidence surrounding SSGs is equivo-
cal, however, with reports of both improvements in CMJ,
repeat-sprint and reactive agility performance following
392 min (2 min rest between) SSGs compared with a
standard team-sport active warm-up (mobility drills, sprints
and ball drills) [150], and no improvements in reactive
agility, vertical jump or sprint performance [156]. A limi-
tation of the latter study [156], however, was that the
prescribed warm-up strategy was 22 min in duration,
longer than previous recommendations [7], and included
static stretching, which is known to impair subsequent
performance [157]. An over-long warm-up may needlessly
deplete energy stores and decrease heat storage capacity
[158], resulting in impaired performance. This theory is
supported by work demonstrating that shorter-duration (12/
16 min) warm-ups [150,159] including SSGs produce
better performance than longer-duration (22/23 min)
warm-ups involving SSGs [156].
The intensity of the pre-match warm-up strategy is also
important. An active warm-up completed at an intensity
just above the anaerobic threshold was more effective than
a warm-up performed below the anaerobic threshold [160].
While transition phases of 3 min [152,153], 6 min [153]
and 8 min [97] have resulted in improved subsequent CMJ
and repeat-sprint performance, this finding is not consistent
with similar improvements in 20 m sprint and vertical
jump performance reported following transition phases
ranging from 4 to 9 min in the same study [161]. Although
these results are informative, in the competition environ-
ment, transition phases of *12 min in duration are the
norm, with some sports stipulating that pre-match warm-
ups must be concluded no later than 10 min prior to match
start [162]. Thus, use of other activities, including passive
heat maintenance strategies, is of interest in future
research.
A number of studies have identified a decline in player
work rate [163165] within the initial phase of the second
half in comparison with the corresponding phase in the first
half. Several reasons for this have been postulated, but, of
pertinence here, sub-optimal preparation as a consequence
of no re-warm-up completion during the half-time break
[122,163,166] may be a contributing factor. Compound-
ing this issue is the fact that at the elite level, in particular,
there is limited time during the half-time break for re-
warm-up activities to be undertaken with practitioners (e.g.
sport scientists, coaches), suggesting that only a *3 min
window is available [127]. In the only study that investi-
gated a 3 min re-warm-up strategy, players were required
to play a two versus two SSG or complete a 5 repetition
maximum (5RM) leg press or no re-warm-up at all, with
subsequent performance in a repeat sprint, CMJ and foot-
ball-specific criterion task all shown to be superior fol-
lowing completion of either of the two re-warm-up
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
Table 4 Performance, physiological and biomechanical changes following active warm-up in football and rugby, and effects upon repeat-sprint performance
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion test Performance results Physiological
results
Biomechanical
results
Anderson
et al. [160]
11 T (M) WU
1
: 0 HR, La
-
, RPE:
WU
3
?WU
4
[WU
1
?WU
2
*;
5 RST:
15 920 m
Overall time: WU
4
\WU
1
?WU
2
?WU
3
––
WU
2
: 10 min running Half the
difference
between
AT and
La
-
T
T
core
: WU4 [WU
1
,WU
2
,WU
3
*
WU
3
: 10 min running 50 % of AT
and La
-
T
WU
4
: 10 min running [AT
Pringle
et al. [159]
28 T (M) WU
1
: 22 min of static
stretching, mobility
drills, ball drills, SSGs
HR: WU
2
[WU
1
; RPE: similar 5 40 m Sprint time: WU
2
\WU
1
*; – –
WU
2
: 16 min of mobility
drills, ball drills, sprint
drills, SSGs
VJ 10, 20 m split time, VJ: similar
Zois
et al. [150]
10 T (M) WU
1
:392 min SSGs 3 vs 3
(2 min
rest)
70–85 %
HR
max
T
core
:WU
3
[WU
1
[WU
2
; 4 RST:
15 920 m
sprints
CMJ: WU
1
[WU
2
[WU
3
; sprint time:
WU
2
\WU
1
\WU
3
;
––
WU
2
: 5 min ‘Jog’ HR, La
-
:WU
1
[WU
3
[WU
1
5RM leg press CMJ
WU
3
: 23 min of strides,
mobility drills, ball
drills and 40 m sprints
RA RA: WU
2
[WU
1
[WU
3
Needham
et al. [153]
20 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min ‘Jog’ T
1
: 0 CMJ CMJ: WU
3
?T
2
/T
3
[WU
2
?WU
1
,
WU
3
?T
2
/T
3
[WU
3
?T
1
; sprint
time: WU
3
?T
1
/T
2
/T
3
\WU
2
?T
1
/
T
2
/T
3
\WU
1
?T
1
/T
2
/T
3
*
––
10 min static stretching T
2
:3 10?20 m
max sprint
WU
2
: 5 min ‘Jog’ T
3
:6
10 min dynamic
stretching
WU
3
: same as
WU
2
?89FS
20 % BM
Till and
Cooke
[161]
12 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min ‘Jog’ T
1
: 4 20 m 10, 20 m time, VJ height: similar
WU
2
: 5 min ‘Jog’ T
2
:5 VJ
5RM DL T
3
:6
WU
3
: 5 min, 1 95 TJ ‘Jog’ T
4
:7
WU
4
: 5 min, 3 93sIC
KE
‘Jog’ T
5
:8
T
6
:9
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
Table 4 continued
References Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion test Performance results Physiological
results
Biomechanical
results
Gabbett et al.
[156]
14 T: 6 M,
8F
WU
1
: 7 min mobility
exercises, static
stretching, 15 min ball
drills and SSGs
WU
2
: same as
WU
1
?15 min
skipping, acceleration
runs, CoD running,
20 m sprints
–NS 0RA
20 m sprint
CoD speed
VJ
RA, 20 m sprint, CoD speed, VJ: similar
Kilduff et al.
[97]
20 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min rowing,
mobility exercises
NS T
1
: 0.25 CMJ Jump height: WU
1
?T
3
[T
1
,T
2
,T
4
T
7
* CMJ PPO, peak rate
of force
development:
WU
1
?T
3
[T
1
,
T
2
,T
4
T
7
*
393 BS 87 % 1RM T
2
:4
T
3
:8
T
4
:12
T
5
:16
T
6
:20
T
7
:24
Yetter and
Moir [99]
10 T (M) WU
1
: 5 min cycling 300 kp NS 4 RST:
3940 m
(3 min rest)
0–10 m time: WU
3
\WU
1
*; 30–40 m
time: WU
3
\WU
1
?WU
2
*
––
WU
2
: 5 min cycling 300 kp
5, 4, 3 9BS 30, 50, 70 %
1RM
WU
3
: same as WU
2
except FS
Same as
WU
2
Chatzopoulos
et al. [152]
15 T (M) WU
1
:3930 m 100 %
VO
2max
NS T
1
: 3 RST:
3930 m
Overall time: T
1
\T
2
;–
10 9BhS 90 % 1RM T
2
: 5 Initial 10 m time: T
1
\T
2
1RM 1 repetition maximum, 5RM 5 repetition maximum,AT anaerobic threshold, BhS back half-squat, BM body mass, BS back squat, CMJ counter-movement jump, CoD change of direction, DL deadlift, Ffemale, FS front squat,
HR heart rate, HR
max
maximum heart rate (bpm), Hz hertz, IC isometric contraction, KE knee extension, kp kilo pound, La
-
lactate concentration (mmol/L), La
-
Tlactate threshold, Mmale, mmetre, max maximal, min minute,
NS not stated, PPO peak power output, RA repeat agility, RPE rate of perceived exertion, RST repeat-sprint test, ssecond, SSG small-sided game, Ttrained team-sport athletes, T
core
core temperature, TJ tuck jump, VJ vertical jump,
VO
2
oxygen uptake,WUwarm-up intervention
*P\0.05
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
Table 5 Performance, physiological and biomechanical changes following active half-time re-warm-up in football and rugby, and effects upon repeat-sprint performance
Reference Participants Warm-up Post warm-up measures
Volume Intensity Changes Transition
(min)
Criterion
test
Performance results Physiological
results
Biomechanical
results
Edholm
et al. [169]
22 T (M) Re-WU
1
: 0 HR: Re-WU
2
[Re-WU
1
*15(2945 min
simulated
game play)
RST:
2910 m
sprints
29CMJ
Sprint time: Re-WU
2
\Re-
WU
1
*; CMJ: Re-WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
*; ball possession: Re-
WU
2
[Re-WU
1
HR: Re-
WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
*
Re-WU
2
:
7 min
‘Jogging’ 70 %
HR
max
?‘light’
calisthenics
Lovell
et al. [168]
10 T (M) Re-WU
1
:0 T
muscle
: Re-WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
?Re-WU
3
*; HR,
VO
2
: Re-WU
2
[Re-
WU
3
[Re-WU
1
*
15 (2 945 min
simulated
game play)
RST:
3910 m
sprints
CMJ
Sprint time: Re-WU
2
, Re-
WU
3
\Re-WU
1
*, Re-
WU
2
\Re-WU
3
; CMJ: Re-
WU
2
, Re-WU
3
[Re-WU
1
*
––
Re-WU
2
:
5 min
IAE (de/
acceleration,
forward/
backward ?CoD
running)
Re-WU
3
:
391 min
WBV (40 Hz),
1 min rest/set
Zois
et al. [167]
8 T (M) Re-WU
1
: 0 RPE: similar Re-
WU
2
?Re-WU
3
[Re-
WU
1
15 (2 926 min
intermittent
running)
CMJ RSA: Re-WU
3
[Re-
WU
2
[Re-WU
1
; LSPT: Re-
WU
2
[Re-WU
3
[Re-WU
1
RPE: Re-
WU
3
[Re-
WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
CMJ
velocity
peak
:
Re-
WU
3
[Re-
WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
Re-WU
2
:
3 min
SSG
2 vs 2 RSA
Re-WU
3
:
5RM leg
press
LSPT
Lovell
et al. [166]
7 T (M) Re-WU
1
: 0 HR: Re-WU
2
?Re-
WU
3
[Re-WU
1
*
15
(2 916.5 min
intermittent
running)
RST:
40 915 s
(10 s rest)
Total distance covered in RST:
Re-WU
2
?Re-WU
3
[Re-
WU
1
*
T
core
: Re-
WU
2
[Re-
WU
3
?Re-
WU
1
*
Re-WU
2
:
7 min
cycle
70 % HR
max
Re-WU
3
:
7 min
RSA drill
70 % HR
max
Mohr et al.
[122]
25 T (M) Re-WU
1
: 0 15 (2 945 min
game play)
RST:
3930 m
(25 s rest)
Sprint time: Re-WU
2
\Re-
WU
1
HR: similar
Re-WU
2
:
7 min
running
HR: 70 % HR
max
*135 bpm
T
muscle
(*2°C),
T
core
(*1°C): Re-
WU
2
[Re-
WU
1
*
5RM 5 repetition maximum, bpm beats per minute, CMJ counter-movement jump, CoD change of direction, HR heart rate, HR
max
maximum heart rate (bpm), Hz hertz, IAE intermittent agility exercise,
LSPT Loughborough soccer passing test,Mmale, mmetres, min minute, Re-WU re-warm-up intervention, RPE rate of perceived exertion, RSA repeat-sprint ability, RST repeat-sprint test, ssecond,
SSG small-sided game, Ttrained team-sport athletes, T
core
core temperature, T
muscle
muscle temperature, velocity
peak
peak velocity, WBV whole-body vibration, WU warm-up intervention
*P\0.05
C. J. McGowan et al.
123
strategies [167]. Regarding longer re-warm-up strategies,
completion of a 5 min repeat-sprint drill enhanced repeat-
sprint and CMJ performance in comparison with no re-
warm-up [168], while a 7 min repeat-sprint drill or cycle
exercise prompted an increase in the distance covered
within the second half [166]. Improvement in second-half
performance was also correlated with better T
core
mainte-
nance resulting from completion of either of the two active
re-warm-up strategies [166].
Finally, a 7 min half-time re-warm-up strategy involv-
ing continuous running at 70 % HR
max
improved [169] and
maintained repeat-sprint performance [122] in comparison
with no activity. Ball possession in the second half was also
greater following a continuous sub-maximal re-warm-up
[169], while the decline in T
core
and T
muscle
was attenuated
during a 15 min half-time break (0.97 ±0.1 and
2.17 ±0.1 °C higher than control, respectively) [122] with
this re-warm-up strategy. It appears that completion of an
active re-warm-up during the half-time break can enhance
subsequent performance, and although only a small time-
frame has been identified (*3 min) for a re-warm-up to be
completed, it is known that steady-state moderate-intensity
exercise increases T
muscle
at a rate of 0.15–0.38 °C per
minute [45,170]. Thus, players may still be able to par-
tially offset the 1.5 °C to 2.0 °C reduction shown to occur
in T
muscle
/T
core
during a 15 min half-time break [122]or
substitution periods.
In summary, the inclusion of SSGs in a pre-match
warm-up strategy for sports such as football and rugby may
enhance subsequent performance but only if the duration of
the warm-up strategy is B16 min. The pre-match warm-up
should also be completed as close to match start as possi-
ble, with passive heat maintenance strategies considered if
the transition duration exceeds 10 min. Completion of a
3–7 min half-time re-warm-up strategy involving activities
such as SSG, repeat-sprint drills or continuous running can
also enhance second-half and repeat-sprint performance by
minimizing the decline in T
core
/T
muscle
during the half-time
break.
5 Future Directions
Although completion of a pre-event warm-up is common
practice in sports, several questions remain unanswered.
Much research has investigated the influence of warm-up
completion on sprint and sustained high-intensity perfor-
mance, with few studies on endurance performance. In
addition, researchers should expand study designs beyond
simply comparing one warm-up intervention strategy,
either passive or active, with a control strategy in which no
warm-up is performed, given that these days it is virtually
standard for athletes to complete some form of pre-event
warm-up. Studies in which multiple warm-up strategies are
examined and then compared for their efficacy are needed
to provide more meaningful information. Access to
equipment and transition/marshalling period length have
been overlooked, and future studies should replicate com-
petition conditions as closely as possible for external
validity. Finally, within cycling and rugby, passive heat
maintenance strategies, such as heated athletic garments,
have been shown to assist in maintaining some of the
beneficial temperature effects induced by an active warm-
up throughout lengthy transition phases. It would be per-
tinent to examine the influence of passive heat maintenance
in sports such as athletics and swimming, where the tran-
sition phase also extends beyond *10–15 min.
6 Conclusions
Despite a previous scarcity of well-controlled studies and
minimal empirical evidence supporting coaches’ and ath-
letes’ belief that a pre-event warm-up is essential for
optimal performance, extensive research over the past
decade has provided substantial support for pre-competi-
tion warm-up completion. Passively or actively elevating
T
muscle
can markedly influence subsequent exercise per-
formance via mechanisms such as increases in ATP turn-
over and muscle cross-bridge cycling rate, as well as
improvements in muscle fibre functionality and conduction
velocity. Athletes competing in sprint and sustained high-
intensity events seem the most likely beneficiaries of ele-
vations in body temperature due to increases in muscle
glycogen availability and the rate of force development. A
speeding of VO
2
kinetics following completion of a prim-
ing exercise bout may also enhance subsequent endurance
performance, possibly via sparing of finite anaerobic stores
and/or prompting an increase in motor unit recruitment,
such that the ‘strain’ placed on each individual muscle fibre
is reduced. The short-term contractile history of skeletal
muscle has also been shown to have a significant effect
upon a muscle’s ability to generate force. Athletes seeking
to harness the benefits of PAP should complete several sets
of ballistic exercises, such as drop jumps or CMJs, while
wearing a weighted vest, and should experiment with dif-
ferent transition durations to determine the optimal length.
The majority of the recent research supports the notion
that a well-structured active warm-up elicits improvements
in performance across a wide range of sports, while passive
heat maintenance devices, such as heated athletic garments
and blizzard survival jackets, can preserve the beneficial
temperature effects induced via an active warm-up during
lengthy transition phases. The initial aerobic portion of an
active warm-up should be shortened to\15 min, and a few
Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise
123
(e.g. 1–5) activation sprints/race-pace efforts or dynamic
PAP-inducing exercises should be completed to elicit
improvements in subsequent sprint and sustained high-in-
tensity events. Finally, for team sports, such as football or
rugby, the addition of SSGs to the pre-match warm-up, as
well as completion of a brief, sub-maximal active re-warm-
up involving activities such as repeat-sprint drills or con-
tinuous running during the half-time break, elicits
improvements in repeat-sprint and second-half
performance.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Funding No sources of funding were used in the preparation of this
article.
Conflict of interest Courtney McGowan, David Pyne, Kevin
Thompson and Ben Rattray declare that they have no conflicts of
interest that are relevant to the content of this review.
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... It is expressed that both coaches and participants believe that warming up helps achieve an athletes optimal physical and psychological readiness which is required for a successful sporting performance (McGowan et al. 2015). A warmup before training or competition (exercise) is said to be the body and minds transition from calmness to activity; mobilising joints and muscles, initiating the cardio-respiratory system and getting into the psychological zone for participation (Radu 2017). ...
... Academic papers have evidenced the physiological benefits warming-up poses on the body (Bishop 2003, Gray and Nimmo 2001, McGowan et al. 2015. By enhancing core temperature muscle contractions increase and muscular relaxation is reduced (Gray and Nimmo 2001), lowering the resistance within the muscles and improving oxygen flow to them as an effect of exercise (Bishop 2003). ...
... Warm-ups are used within individual and team sports (Radu 2017). Warm-ups can be classified as 'active', using physical activity, or 'passive', using external influencers to increase muscle and body temperature, such as heat pads, hot showers or garments to retain body heat (McGowan et al. 2015, Woods et al. 2007). Warming-up actively is said to be the most common method used within sport (McGowan et al. 2015), improving muscular abilities and psychological capabilities due to this methods content. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to statistically analyse survey data submitted by Scottish Gymnastics clubs (n = 25) to determine whether or not coaching position, coaching qualifications, type of club (recreational or competitive) and location influenced whether the general children’s gymnastics warm-up delivered at each club was in line with Jeffreys (2007) ‘RAMP’ principle. Clubs were asked to complete a 14-question online survey including a copy of their current general children’s gymnastics warm-up protocol. The survey included questions relating to coaching position, club name, whether the club class themselves as rural or city, age of club (years), type of club (recreational, Competitive), number of coaches and position (full-time paid, part-time paid, volunteer), length of typical warm-up component, level of qualification of the person who designed the warm-up and whether or not this warm-up deviated much from the one provided. The researcher then scored the warm-ups of each club compared to the ‘RAMP’ protocol as either following or not following the ‘RAMP’ research. Four Chi-square (C2) statistical tests were carried out testing for significant differences (p < 0.05) between the ‘RAMP’ score as awarded by the researcher and club personnel, coach qualification, region and whether clubs were recreational or competitive. The only statistical significance was observed between coach’s qualification and the ‘RAMP’ score (p = .041). A Chi-square statistical test, Appendix 5, evidenced that 100% of Level 1-2 coaches (n = 10) were statistically less likely to meet research than 33.3% of level 3 and above coaches (n = 5), C2(1, N =25) = 4.2, p < 0.05. Concluding that coaches who hold a lower qualification were statistically less likely to deliver a warm-up in line with current recommendations.
... Warming up prior to competitive events is considered an effective means of enhancing performance, with increases in muscle temperature, priming of oxygen uptake (VO 2 ) kinetics and the neuromuscular system, and enhanced feelings of readiness to perform proposed as effective mechanisms. [1][2][3][4] Typically, warmups (WUs) are structured using the RAMP principle to raise the heart rate (HR) and muscle temperature, activate the key musculature, mobilize the relevant joints, and potentiate for the upcoming event. 5 There is some published guidance on WU strategies with a comprehensive review of the available literature indicating that active WUs consisting of brief (∼15 min) aerobic activity, 4 to 5 sprints or race-pace efforts, and muscular potentiating activities elicit improved performance in certain sports. ...
... 5 There is some published guidance on WU strategies with a comprehensive review of the available literature indicating that active WUs consisting of brief (∼15 min) aerobic activity, 4 to 5 sprints or race-pace efforts, and muscular potentiating activities elicit improved performance in certain sports. 3 However, there remains a dearth of research on optimal WU strategies for crosscountry skiers, who typically compete in cold environments. ...
... 17,18 As such, WU strategies should probably be tailored to the specific demands of the event. 3 In XC skiing, cold environments negatively affect core and muscle temperatures. 19 Despite the unique challenges involved in the sport, the WU practices of high-performing XC skiers during real-world competition have not been detailed in the literature. ...
Purpose: To provide a descriptive analysis of the warm-up (WU) strategies employed by cross-country skiers prior to distance and sprint competitions at a national championship and to compare the skiers' planned and executed WUs prior to the respective competitions. Methods: Twenty-one national- and international-level skiers (11 women and 10 men) submitted WU plans prior to the distance and sprint competitions, and after the competitions, reported any deviations from the plans. Skiers used personal monitors to record heart rate (HR) during WU, races, and cooldown. Quantitative statistical analyses were conducted on WU durations, durations in HR-derived intensity zones, and WU loads. Qualitative analyses were conducted on skiers' WU plans and their reasons for deviating from the plans. Results: Skiers' planned WUs were similar in content and planned time in HR-derived intensity zones for both the distance and sprint competitions. However, 45% of the women and 20% of the men reported that their WU was not carried out as planned, with reasons detailed as being due to incorrect intensities and running out of time. WU activities including skiing across variable terrain, muscle-potentiating exercises, and heat-maintenance strategies were missing from the skiers' planned routines. Conclusions: Skiers favored a long, traditional WU approach for both the sprint and distance events, performing less high-intensity and more moderate-intensity exercise during their WUs than planned. In addition, elements likely relevant to successful performance in cross-country skiing were missing from WU plans.
... Warm-up (WU) represents one of the most employed pre-exercise routines anticipating a physical activity, both in health-related and competitive sporting environments [1,2]. It is widely considered effective to promote specific effects related (e.g., increased thermoregulatory strain and decreased resistance of muscles and joints) and non-related (e.g., post activation potentiation and psychological effects) to temperature changes [1]. ...
... It is widely considered effective to promote specific effects related (e.g., increased thermoregulatory strain and decreased resistance of muscles and joints) and non-related (e.g., post activation potentiation and psychological effects) to temperature changes [1]. Typically, warm-up may occur actively and passively with the former and latter being capable to enhance muscular function [2], eliciting potential improvements in performance. An active warm-up is exercise-mediated with an individual being subjected to a broad spectrum of loads (e.g., physiological, metabolic, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, mechanical, and cognitive) [1,2] in the attempt to increase her or his readiness for an immediate performance. ...
... Typically, warm-up may occur actively and passively with the former and latter being capable to enhance muscular function [2], eliciting potential improvements in perfo