Context: Warming up in very cold climates and maintaining an elevated body temperature prior to a race is challenging for snow-sport athletes. Purpose: To investigate the effects of active (ACT), passive (PAS), and a combination of ACT and PAS (COM) warm-ups on maximal physical performance in a subzero environment among snow-sport athletes. Methods: Ten junior alpine skiers completed 3 experimental trials in −7.2 (0.2)°C. The ACT involved 5 minutes of moderate cycling, 3 × 15-second accelerations, a 6-second sprint, 5 countermovement jumps (CMJs), and a 10-minute passive transition phase, while in PAS, participants wore a lower-body heated garment for 24 minutes. In COM, participants completed the active warm-up, then wore the heated garment during the transition phase. Two maximal CMJs and a 90-second maximal isokinetic cycling test followed the warm-up. Results: CMJ performance was likely (P = .150) and very likely (P = .013) greater in ACT and COM, respectively, versus PAS. Average power output during the cycling test was likely (P = .074) greater in ACT and COM versus PAS. Participants felt likely to almost certainly warmer (P < .01) and more comfortable (P = .161) during ACT and COM versus PAS. In addition, participants felt likely warmer (P = .136) and very likely more comfortable (P = .161) in COM versus ACT. Conclusions: COM resulted in significantly improved CMJ performance versus PAS while both ACT and COM led to likely improved 90-second cycling performance. Participants felt significantly warmer during ACT and COM versus PAS and likely warmer in COM versus ACT. Therefore, a combined warm-up is recommended for alpine skiers performing in subzero temperatures.
McGawley, Olofsson, and Andersson are with the Swedish Winter Sports Research Center, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden. Spencer is with the Dept of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway, and the Dept of Sport Science and Physical Education, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway.
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