Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 319–330

Warm-Up and Performance in Competitive Swimming

  • Henrique P. Neiva
  • Mário C. Marques
  • Tiago M. Barbosa
  • Mikel Izquierdo
  • Daniel A. Marinho
Review Article

Abstract

Warm-up before physical activity is commonly accepted to be fundamental, and any priming practices are usually thought to optimize performance. However, specifically in swimming, studies on the effects of warm-up are scarce, which may be due to the swimming pool environment, which has a high temperature and humidity, and to the complexity of warm-up procedures. The purpose of this study is to review and summarize the different studies on how warming up affects swimming performance, and to develop recommendations for improving the efficiency of warm-up before competition. Most of the main proposed effects of warm-up, such as elevated core and muscular temperatures, increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscle cells and higher efficiency of muscle contractions, support the hypothesis that warm-up enhances performance. However, while many researchers have reported improvements in performance after warm-up, others have found no benefits to warm-up. This lack of consensus emphasizes the need to evaluate the real effects of warm-up and optimize its design. Little is known about the effectiveness of warm-up in competitive swimming, and the variety of warm-up methods and swimming events studied makes it difficult to compare the published conclusions about the role of warm-up in swimming. Recent findings have shown that warm-up has a positive effect on the swimmer’s performance, especially for distances greater than 200 m. We recommend that swimmers warm-up for a relatively moderate distance (between 1,000 and 1,500 m) with a proper intensity (a brief approach to race pace velocity) and recovery time sufficient to prevent the early onset of fatigue and to allow the restoration of energy reserves (8–20 min).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henrique P. Neiva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mário C. Marques
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tiago M. Barbosa
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mikel Izquierdo
    • 4
  • Daniel A. Marinho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Sport SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for Research in Sport, Health and Human DevelopmentVila RealPortugal
  3. 3.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Department of Health SciencesPublic University of NavarreTudela (Navarre)Spain

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