The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of different active warm-up (AWU) durations and the rest interval separating it from exercise on anaerobic performance. Eleven male physical education students (22.6 ± 2.52 years; 179.2 ± 4.3 cm; 82.5 ± 9.7 kg; mean ± SD) participated in a cross-over randomized study, and they all underwent the Wingate test after three AWU durations: 5 min (AWU5), 15 min (AWU15) and 20 min (AWU20), with recovery (WREC) or without a recovery interval (NREC) separating the AWU and anaerobic exercise performance. All the AWUs consisted of pedalling at a constant pace of 60 rpm at 50% of the maximal aerobic power. The rest interval between the end of warm-up and the beginning of exercise was set at 5 min. During the Wingate test, peak power (PP), mean power (MP) and the fatigue index (FI) were recorded and analysed. Oral temperature was recorded at rest and at the end of the warm-up. Likewise, rest, post-warm-up and post-Wingate heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded during each session. The ANOVA showed a significant effect of recovery interval, warm-up duration and measurement point on RPE scores (P<0.001). Although the effect of AWU duration on MP and PP was significant (P<0.05), the effect of the recovery interval on both parameters was not significant (P>0.05). Moreover, the analyses showed a significant interaction between recovery interval and AWU duration (P<0.001 and P<0.05 for MP and PP respectively). The AWU15 duration improves the MP and PP when associated with a recovery interval prior to exercise of 5 min. However, the AWU5 duration allows better improvement of power output when the exercise is applied immediately after the warm-up. Consequently, physically active males, as well as educators and researchers interested in anaerobic exercise, must take into account the duration of warm-up and the following recovery interval when practising or assessing activities requiring powerful lower limb muscle contractions.
Keywords: active warm-up; anaerobic performance; recovery.