Evaluating Warm-Up Strategies for Elite Sprint Breaststroke Swimming Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises within the warm-up can enhance sprint freestyle performance. The authors investigated if these interventions would also elicit improvements in sprint breaststroke swimming performance.


Ten national and internationally competitive swimmers (~805 FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) 2014 scoring points; 6 men, mean ± SD 20 ± 1 y; 4 women, 21 ± 3 y) completed a standardized pool warm-up (1550 m) followed by a 30-min transition phase and a 100-m breaststroke time trial. In the transition phase, swimmers wore a conventional tracksuit and remained seated (control) or wore tracksuit pants with integrated heating elements and performed a 5-min dryland-based exercise routine (combo) in a crossover design.


Performance in the 100-m time trial (control: 68.6 ± 4.0 s, combo: 68.4 ± 3.9 s, P = .55) and start times to 15 m (control: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; combo: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; P = .81) were not different between conditions. It was unclear (P = .36) whether combo (–0.12°C ± 0.19°C [mean ± 90% confidence limits]) elicited an improvement in core temperature maintenance in the transition phase compared with control (–0.31°C ± 0.19°C). Skin temperature immediately before commencement of the time trial was higher (by ~1°C, P = .01) within combo (30.13°C ± 0.88°C [mean ± SD]) compared with control (29.11°C ± 1.20°C). Lower-body power output was not different between conditions before the time trial.


Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises in the transition phase does not enhance sprint breaststroke performance despite eliciting elevated skin temperature immediately before time trial commencement.

McGowan, Thompson, and Rattray are with the University of Canberra Research Inst for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), Canberra, Australia. Pyne is with the Discipline of Physiology, Australian Inst of Sport, Canberra, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Courtney McGowan at Courtney.mcgowan@canberra.edu.au.