Types of Warm-ups

  • Passive: increase temperature by external means
  • General: increase temperature using non-specific body movements
  • Movement Specific: increase temperature using very similar biomechanics used in subsequent, more strenuous activity.
    • best option since it provides rehearsal of activity or event

Music Walking Treadmill

Warm-up Benefits

  • Rehearsal of movement
  • Elevation of body temperature
    • increase dissociation of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin
    • lowering of activation energy rates of metabolic chemical reactions
    • increase muscle blood flow
    • reduction in muscle viscosity
    • increase sensitivity of nerve receptors
    • increase speed of nervous impulses
  • Reduces incidence and likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Supplies adequate blood flow to heart
    • warm up of two minutes prior to sudden exertion can decrease relative myocardial hypoxia and decrease blood pressure during exercise.
    • warm up may precede strenuous exercise by as much as 10 to 15 minutes and still decreased arrhythmias indicative of inadequate oxygen to the heart.
    • warm-up may be particularly crucial for those with a degree of underlying coronary artery disease.
      • although the original study examined men ages 21 to 52 years who were asymptomatic to heart disease

Banard RJ, et al. (1973). Cardiovascular responses to sudden strenuous exercise - heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG. J Appl Physiology. 34: 833.

Shellock FG & Prentice WE (1985). Warming-Up and Stretching for Improved Physical Performance and Prevention of Sports-Related Injuries, Sports Medicine, 2: 267-278.

Weight Training Warm-up

Barbell Deadlift

  • Benefits of specific warm-up
    • Muscles and joints can be warmed up with the exact mechanics which will be performed during the workout set(s)
      • muscle and joint is less susceptible to injury
      • muscle can contract with greater intensity
      • motor skill and breathing can be rehearsed
    • Specific warm-up can be considered more effective for weight training than a general warm-up
      • Examples of general warm-up: jumping jacks, aerobic warm-up, etc.
  • Typically 12 to 15 reps performed before the workout set
    • Approximately 50% of workout weight (10 RM)
    • 30 seconds to 3 minutes rest before workout set
    • Example:
      • Warmup set: 12 Reps x 65 lbs (easy)
      • Workout set: 9 Reps x 130 lbs (very hard)
    • A second warm-up may be performed on heavy movements or if the muscles and joints involved may be more susceptible to injury (based on past experience)
      • Example: squats, deadlift, and possibly bench press
    • No warm-up set is required for high repetition exercises
      • Example: 20-30 on abdominal training
      • high repetition sets are not as intense and serves as a specific warm-up in themselves.
  • Progressive warmup sets
    • Appropriate for intermediate to advanced trainees performing low rep, multiset training for basic exercises
    • Example:
      • 5 reps x 135 lbs
      • 5 reps x 185 lbs
      • 5 reps x 225 lbs
      • 5 reps x 275 lbs
      • 5 reps x 295 lbs

Characterization of the warm-up phenomenon in patients with coronary artery disease

The warm-up phenomenon (WP) is a physiological response that produces attenuation of signs of myocardial ischemia when repeated bouts of physical activity occur. Historically, the presentation varies within individuals but individuals with stable angina, the WP displays around 10-15 minutes after initiation of exercise with increased ischemia occurring quickly after. Tumainen (2002) conducted a study consisting 52 participants who where assigned to 4 groups who underwent two successive bicycle ergometer tests. The main variable investigated was time to 0.1 mV ST-segment depression. The results indicated 85%, 31%, 31%, and 46% of the participants experienced WP. The researchers concluded there is no evidence for delayed protection in the WP and majority of participants with CAD demonstrated the WP (Tuomainen 2002). The authors concluded that the WP disappears within 40 minutes and coronary vasodilation likely plays a role.

Tuomainen P, Vanninen E, Halonen P, Peuhkurinen K (2002). Characterization of the warm-up phenomenon in patients with coronary artery disease. American Heart Journal, 144(5), 870-876.

Mechanisms of the warm-up phenomenon

The mechanisms powering the warm-up phenomenon (WP), which is the improved performance following the first exercise test, are poorly understood. The contributing causes of the WP are, improved oxygen supply collateral recruitment or myocardial redistribution, adaptation to ischemia and slower increase of cardiac workload. Tomal (1996) conducted a study consisting of 15 individuals who had chronic stable angina. Each individual underwent two consecutive treadmill exercise tests following the Bruce protocol with a third treadmill test 2-hours later. The results indicated during all three sessions, all individuals achieved 1.5 mm ST-segment depression. However, they found that the second exercise session was tolerated better than the first, indicating the WP. The authors stated the potential reasoning behind this was due to an increase or redistribution of myocardial perfusion, adaptation to ischemia or both. Lastly, the authors noted that there was a persistent increase of time-to-ischemia during the third treadmill session, despite the loss of an improved ischemic threshold. The rationale was thought to be from a slower heart rate and rate-pressure product during the third test.

Tomal F, Crea F, Danesi A, Perino M, Gaspardone A, Ghini A et al (1996). Mechanisms of the warm-up phenomenon. European Heart Journal, 17(7), 1022-1027.

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