Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of three different warm-up regimes on cycling work output during a 7-min performance trial.
Methods: After habituation to the experimental methods, 12 well-trained cyclists completed a series of 7-min performance trials, involving 2 min of constant–work rate exercise at ∼90% V̇O2max and a further 5 min during which subjects attempted to maximize power output. This trial was performed without prior intervention and 10 min after bouts of moderate, heavy, or sprint exercise in a random order. Pulmonary gas exchange was measured breath by breath during all performance trials.
Results: At the onset of the performance trial, baseline blood [lactate] was significantly elevated after heavy and sprint but not moderate exercise (mean ± SD: control, 1.0 ± 0.3 mM; moderate, 1.0 ± 0.2 mM; heavy, 3.0 ± 1.1 mM; sprint, 5.9 ± 1.5 mM). All three interventions significantly increased the amplitude of the primary V̇O2 response (control, 2.59 ± 0.28 L·min−1; moderate, 2.69 ± 0.27 L·min−1; heavy, 2.78 ± 0.26 L·min−1; sprint, 2.78 ± 0.30 L·min−1). Mean power output was significantly increased by prior moderate and heavy exercise but not significantly reduced after sprint exercise (control, 330 ± 42 W; moderate, 338 ± 39 W; heavy, 339 ± 42 W; sprint, 324 ± 45 W).
Conclusions: These data indicate that priming exercise performed in the moderate- and heavy-intensity domains can improve severe-intensity cycling performance by ∼2–3%, the latter condition doing so despite a mild lactacidosis being present at exercise onset.