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When warming up for the cycling race, less is more
Date:6/16/2011

the cyclists reached 95 percent of their maximal heart rates. This general warm-up was followed by four sprints at 8-minute intervals. The entire warm-up lasted approximately 50 minutes total. 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. This warm-up ended with only one sprint and lasted approximately 15 minutes.

The researchers used specific tests to measure the cyclists' muscle contractile response and peak power output before, during and after the warm-ups. Although they theorized that both warm-ups would elicit PAP, they also theorized that the traditional warm-up would generate enough fatigue to counteract PAP, whereas the experimental warm-up might not. 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 Tomaras, a co-author, "indicates that an even shorter warm-up might be better for athletes who want to tap into PAP."

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 say are significant, and could make a substantial difference in competitive events.

Implications

The fitness community has embraced PAP as a competitive strategy in recent years. As word spreads about PAP's benefits, trainers and coaches have attempted to time PAP to coincide with competition. But the Calgary team's findings suggest too much focus on promoting PAP could be self-defeating, as starting the process requires intense, but tiring, bursts of activity. In their conclusion, the researchers write, "A warm-up that is performed at too high of an intensity for longer than necessary can result in f
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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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