External muscle heating during warm-up does not provide added performance benefit above external heating in the recovery period alone

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Nov;113(11):2713-21. doi: 10.1007/s00421-013-2708-6. Epub 2013 Aug 23.


Purpose: Having previously shown the use of passive external heating between warm-up completion and sprint cycling to have had a positive effect on muscle temperature (T m) and maximal sprint performance, we sought to determine whether adding passive heating during active warm up was of further benefit.

Methods: Ten trained male cyclists completed a standardised 15 min sprint based warm-up on a cycle ergometer, followed by 30 min passive recovery before completing a 30 s maximal sprint test. Warm up was completed either with or without additional external passive heating. During recovery, external passive leg heating was used in both standard warm-up (CONHOT) and heated warm-up (HOTHOT) conditions, for control, a standard tracksuit was worn (CON).

Results: T m declined exponentially during CON, CONHOT and HOTHOT reduced the exponential decline during recovery. Peak (11.1 %, 1561 ± 258 W and 1542 ± 223 W), relative (10.6 % 21.0 ± 2.2 W kg(-1) and 20.9 ± 1.8 W kg(-1)) and mean (4.1 %, 734 ± 126 W and 729 ± 125 W) power were all improved with CONHOT and HOTHOT, respectively compared to CON (1,397 ± 239 W; 18.9 ± 3.0 W kg(-1) and 701 ± 109 W). There was no additional benefit of HOTHOT on T m or sprint performance compared to CONHOT.

Conclusion: External heating during an active warm up does not provide additional physiological or performance benefit. As noted previously, external heating is capable of reducing the rate of decline in T m after an active warm-up, improving subsequent sprint cycling performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Heart Rate
  • Heating
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Warm-Up Exercise / physiology*