December 04, 2019 By BridgeAthletic

Benefits of a Weighted Warmup | BridgeAthletic



A study on endurance athletes found that a 5RM weighted squat jump improved performance in subjects completing a 5 x 1km time trial. While post-activation potentiation (PAP) has been shown to increase performance in explosive exercises--a 100m sprint or long jump, for example--little research to date has focused on endurance exercise.

The Method

12 endurance-trained males each completed two familiarization sessions and two intervention sessions. The familiarization sessions were designed to measure the athletes’ V02 max and their banded squat jump 5RM, test contractile properties, and familiarize them with testing equipment. The intervention sessions consisted of either 1) a warm-up + 4 x 5RM band-resisted jump squats followed by a 5 x 1km time trial (intervention) or 2) a warm-up (no squat jumps) followed by a 5 x 1km time trial (control).

During the experiment, the following testing measures were recorded:

  1. Maximum Isometric Voluntary Contraction force (MVIC): a standardized measurement of muscle strength
  2. Interpolated Twitch Technique (ITT): a measure of muscle voluntary activation
  3. Electromyography (EMG): a measure of muscle response to a nerve’s stimulation of the muscle
  4. 30-cm Drop Jump (DJ): a test in which participants move from a 30-cm platform, make a 2-footed landing on a mat and immediately jump as high as possible
  5. Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE): a measure of self-perceived exertion, rated from 6-20
  6. Heart Rate (HR): using a heart rate monitor, resting heart rate was measured 5 minutes prior to activity and continuously throughout the session

In both the intervention and the control, these tests were performed immediately after the warmup. Immediately following the tests, subjects in the intervention group performed 4 sets of 5RM weighted squat jumps, with 2 minutes rest between sets, followed by an 8-minute rest prior to beginning the run. The run was broken into 5 1km sprints at max effort, with 3 minutes for testing between each kilometer. Tests were also performed at 7 and 10 minutes post-run.

The Results

8 of 12 participants were faster in the jump squat session, and the jump squat condition reduced the time to complete all running intervals by 3.6%. In addition to completing the run in less time, participants also scored higher on numerous tests--jump height, reactive strength index, MVIC and ITT all increased at various points both during and after the run.

What it Means

This study expands on previous research focused on PAP and demonstrates that leveraging this type of warm-up is a valid tactic for improving the performance of mid-distance runners.

Watch Out for...

Continued studies around how PAP impacts performance across various time domains and at various levels of exertion. Also, we’ll be curious to learn whether PAP carries over to skill-based movements; we’d expect to see studies around whether PAP also increases coordination by priming muscles, or whether it is limited to temporary improvements in strength and explosiveness.

While PAP has shown to be well-suited for sprinters, jumpers and now mid-distance runners, there has been little research done on how PAP impacts team sport athletes. Yet with perhaps the largest gains being seen in the drop jump and reactive strength, it would seem that an increase in explosiveness would benefit athletes on the court or on the field, too.

With teams, coaches and athletes seeking to gain every edge possible, will we see an increase in PAP for team sport athletes even if its positive effects don’t carry over for the entirety of the game or match?


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About the Author


At Bridge, we are all athletes and coaches first. As athletes, our team has experienced everything from riding the pine on JV, to winning NCAA championships, to competing in the Olympic Games. As coaches, we have helped countless athletes reach their full potential, winning everything from age group section championships to Olympic Gold Medals.

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