Varied Warm-ups and Leg Press Performance

Varied Warm-ups and Leg Press Performance

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Dryland, Training Leave a Comment

The precise warm-ups for dry-land and swimming are unclear areas. Finding the balance between warming up the muscles, yet avoiding fatigue is a fine line, which often requires individualization. Despite this, many coaches request the same warm-up for each swimmer.

Moreover, the specific event likely contributes to the amount of warm-up required for the athlete. For example, the warm-up for the same athlete may vary depending on the upcoming event, due to the different energy system emphasis (50 free vs. 500 free).

The purpose of this study was to compare leg-press 1RM with different warm-up protocols (GWU).

What was done

Sixteen strength-trained males with at least 12 months of strength training experience were used in this study. These participants performed a maximal cycle ergometer test to determine their aerobic capacity. Then, they performed two sessions to become familiar with the leg press machine.

Then, participants were tested at five different sessions with four different GWU protocols (one control).

The warm-up protocols included:
 Short-duration and low-intensity (5 min and 40% VO2max)
 Short-duration and moderate-intensity (5 min and 70% VO2max)
 Long-duration and low-intensity (15 min and 40% VO2max)
 Long-duration and moderate-intensity (15 min and 40% VO2max)


Leg press 1 RM was significantly higher after the low-duration and low-intensity GWU and control.


When performing a maximal power exercise, it appears a short-duration and low-intensity GWU improves performance. This result suggests a longer, more intense warm-up fatigues the body. It has yet to be determined if the fatigue is peripheral or central, but it seems more likely central fatigue is the cause secondary to the exercise volume.

Practical Implication

In swimming, 50-yard/meter events utilize the most powerful and perhaps require less intense GWU prior to the event to prevent potential neural fatigue. However, many studies suggest warming-up at the race-like intensities benefit performance. The correlation between a 1-RM and a 50-yard/meter event is difficult, but a necessary consideration.

Related Reading

‘Perfect’ Swimming Warm-up



  1. Barroso R, Silva-Batista C, Tricoli V, Roschel H, Ugrinowitsch C.
    The effects of different intensities and durations of the general warm-up on leg-press 1RM.
    J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Originally Posted July 2012

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