An Analysis of Warm-Up Strategies at a Cross-Country Skiing National Championship

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $114.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $152.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $217.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $289.00

Purpose: To provide a descriptive analysis of the warm-up (WU) strategies employed by cross-country skiers prior to distance and sprint competitions at a national championship and to compare the skiers’ planned and executed WUs prior to the respective competitions. Methods: Twenty-one national- and international-level skiers (11 women and 10 men) submitted WU plans prior to the distance and sprint competitions, and after the competitions, reported any deviations from the plans. Skiers used personal monitors to record heart rate (HR) during WU, races, and cooldown. Quantitative statistical analyses were conducted on WU durations, durations in HR-derived intensity zones, and WU loads. Qualitative analyses were conducted on skiers’ WU plans and their reasons for deviating from the plans. Results: Skiers’ planned WUs were similar in content and planned time in HR-derived intensity zones for both the distance and sprint competitions. However, 45% of the women and 20% of the men reported that their WU was not carried out as planned, with reasons detailed as being due to incorrect intensities and running out of time. WU activities including skiing across variable terrain, muscle-potentiating exercises, and heat-maintenance strategies were missing from the skiers’ planned routines. Conclusions: Skiers favored a long, traditional WU approach for both the sprint and distance events, performing less high-intensity and more moderate-intensity exercise during their WUs than planned. In addition, elements likely relevant to successful performance in cross-country skiing were missing from WU plans.

The authors are with the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden. Govus is also with the Dept of Dietetics, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

McGawley (Kerry.McGawley@miun.se) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Bishop D. Warm up I: potential mechanisms and the effects of passive warm up on exercise performance. Sports Med. 2003;33(6):439454. PubMed ID: 12744717 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Bishop D. Warm up II: performance changes following active warm up and how to structure the warm up. Sports Med. 2003;33(7):483498. doi:

  • 3.

    McGowan CJ, Pyne DB, Thompson KG, Rattray B. Warm-up strategies for sport and exercise: mechanisms and applications. Sports Med. 2015;45(11):15231546. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Fradkin AJ, Zazryn TR, Smoliga JM. Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(1):140148. PubMed ID: 19996770 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Jeffreys I. The Warm-Up: Maximize Performance and Improve Long-Term Athletic Development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2019.

  • 6.

    Mujika I, De Txabarri RG, Maldonado-Martín S, Pyne DB. Warm-up intensity and duration’s effect on traditional rowing time-trial performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2012;7(2):186188. PubMed ID: 22634969 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Mandengue S, Seck D, Bishop D, Cissé F, Tsala-Mbala P, Ahmaidi S. Are athletes able to self-select their optimal warm up? J Sci Med Sport. 2005;8(1):2634. PubMed ID: 15887898 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Solli GS, Haugnes P, Kocbach J, van den Tillaar R, Torvik , Sandbakk Ø. The effects of a short specific versus a long traditional warm-up on time-trial performance in cross-country skiing sprint. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2020;15(7):941948. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Barranco-Gil D, Alejo LB, Valenzuela PL, et al. Warming up before a 20-minute endurance effort: is it really worth it? Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2020;15(7):964–970.  doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Bunn JA, Eschbach LC, Magal M, Wells EK. The effects of warm-up duration on cycling time trial performance in trained cyclists. Cent Eur J Sport Sci Med. 2017;17:513. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Tomaras EK, MacIntosh BR. Less is more: standard warm-up causes fatigue and less warm-up permits greater cycling power output. J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(1):228235. PubMed ID: 21551012 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Losnegard T. Energy system contribution during competitive cross-country skiing. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019;119(8):16751690. PubMed ID: 31076890 doi:

  • 13.

    Andersson E, Supej M, Sandbakk Ø, Sperlich B, Stöggl T, Holmberg H-C. Analysis of sprint cross-country skiing using a differential global navigation satellite system. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;110(3):585595. PubMed ID: 20571822 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Andersson EP, Govus A, Shannon OM, McGawley K. Sex differences in performance and pacing strategies during sprint skiing. Front Physiol. 2019;10:295. doi:

  • 15.

    Andersson E, Holmberg H-C, Ørtenblad N, Björklund G. Metabolic responses and pacing strategies during successive sprint skiing time trials. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016;48(12):25442554. PubMed ID: 27414686 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Losnegard T, Andersen M, Spencer M, Hallén J. Effects of active versus passive recovery in sprint cross-country skiing. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10(5):630635. PubMed ID: 25569354 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Gastin PB. Energy system interaction and relative contribution during maximal exercise. Sports Med. 2001;31(10):725741. doi:

  • 18.

    Carlsson M, Carlsson T, Wedholm L, Nilsson M, Malm C, Tonkonogi M. Physiological demands of competitive sprint and distance performance in elite female cross-country skiing. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(8):21382144. PubMed ID: 26808846 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Granberg PO. Human physiology under cold exposure. Arctic Med Res. 1991;50(suppl 6):2327. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1811574.

  • 20.

    Karlsson Ø, Laaksonen MS, McGawley K . Training and illness characteristics of cross-country skiers transitioning from junior to senior level. Plos One. Published online May 14, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0250088

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Sandbakk Ø, Ettema G, Leirdal S, Jakobsen V, Holmberg H-C. Analysis of a sprint ski race and associated laboratory determinants of world-class performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(6):947957. PubMed ID: 21079989 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    jamovi. The jamovi project. 2020. https://www.jamovi.org.

  • 23.

    Durlak JA. How to select, calculate, and interpret effect sizes. J Pediatr Psychol. 2009;34(9):917928. PubMed ID: 19223279 doi:

  • 24.

    Patton MQ. Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications; 1990.

  • 25.

    Karlsson Ø, Gilgien M, Gløersen ØN, Rud B, Losnegard T. Exercise intensity during cross-country skiing described by oxygen demands in flat and uphill terrain. Front Physiol. 2018;9:846. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Burnley M, Davison G, Baker JR. Effects of priming exercise on VO2 kinetics and the power-duration relationship. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(11):21712179. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Boullosa D, Del Rosso S, Behm DG, Foster C. Post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance sports: a review. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018;18(5):595610. PubMed ID: 29490594 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    McGowan CJ, Pyne DB, Raglin JS, Thompson KG, Rattray B. Current warm-up practices and contemporary issues faced by elite swimming coaches. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(12):34713480. PubMed ID: 27097379 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Sporer BC, Cote A, Sleivert G. Warm-up practices in elite snowboard athletes. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2012;7(3):295297. PubMed ID: 22356830 doi:

  • 30.

    McGawley K, Spencer M, Olofsson A, Andersson EP. Comparing active, passive and combined warm-ups among junior alpine skiers in −7°C. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2021;16(8):1140 -1147. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 704 704 121
Full Text Views 69 69 25
PDF Downloads 130 130 48