Stop it, the warm-up doesn’t matter

Before we get carried away with the magical powers of the warm-up, it’s important to call out recent research suggesting that the warm-up might not actually matter after all.

A recent study compared three different warm-up conditions before a 20k time trial. The first condition followed a traditional warm-up with 10m of riding at a moderate intensity. The second condition sought to activate PAP with some moderate riding followed by three 10s all-out sprints. The third condition was no warm-up at all. 

Researchers found that both the standard and PAP warmup improved jumping ability when compared to the “no warm-up” condition but not subsequent cycling performance [12].

Should this research have you ditching your warm-up routine all-together?

Under some conditions (like when it’s hot) ditching your warm-up might make sense, but for most other cycling contexts, I think dialing in a warm-up routine still makes the most sense and that’s where we’re headed next. 

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References

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  2. Racinais, S. and J. Oksa, Temperature and neuromuscular function. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2010. 20 Suppl 3: p. 1-18.
  3. Bailey, S.J., et al., Optimizing the “priming” effect: influence of prior exercise intensity and recovery duration on O2 uptake kinetics and severe-intensity exercise tolerance. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2009. 107(6): p. 1743-56.
  4. Tillin, N.A. and D. Bishop, Factors modulating post-activation potentiation and its effect on performance of subsequent explosive activities. Sports Med, 2009. 39(2): p. 147-66.
  5. Silva, R.A.S., et al., Acute Prior Heavy Strength Exercise Bouts Improve the 20-km Cycling Time Trial Performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2014. 28(9): p. 2513-2520.
  6. Boullosa, D., et al., Title: Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in Endurance Sports: A Review. 2018.
  7. Tod, D., J. Hardy, and E. Oliver, Effects of self-talk: a systematic review. Journal of sport & exercise psychology, 2011. 33: p. 666-687.
  8. Karow, M.C., et al., Effects of Preferred and Nonpreferred Warm-Up Music on Exercise Performance.Percept Mot Skills, 2020. 127(5): p. 912-924.
  9. Gonz├ílez-Alonso, J., et al., Influence of body temperature on the development of fatigue during prolonged exercise in the heat. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1999. 86: p. 1032-1039.
  10. Jones, P.R., et al., Pre-cooling for endurance exercise performance in the heat: a systematic review.BMC Med, 2012. 10: p. 166.
  11. Faulkner, S.H., et al., Reducing muscle temperature drop after warm-up improves sprint cycling performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2013. 45: p. 359-365.
  12. Barranco-Gil, D., et al., Warming Up Before a 20-Minute Endurance Effort: Is It Really Worth It?International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2020. 15(7): p. 964.