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Warm-Up Strategy and High-Intensity Endurance Performance in Trained Cyclists

Peter M. Christensen and Jens Bangsbo


To evaluate the influence of warm-up exercise intensity and subsequent recovery on intense endurance performance, selected blood variables, and the oxygen-uptake (VO2) response.


Twelve highly trained male cyclists (VO2max 72.4 ± 8.0 mL · min−1 · kg−1, incremental-test peak power output (iPPO) 432 ± 31 W; mean ± SD) performed 3 warm-up strategies lasting 20 min before a 4-min maximal-performance test (PT). Strategies consisted of moderate-intensity exercise (50%iPPO) followed by 6 min of recovery (MOD6) or progressive high-intensity exercise (10–100%iPPO and 2 × 20-s sprints) followed by recovery for 6 min (HI6) or 20 min (HI20).


Before PT venous pH was lower (P < .001) in HI6 (7.27 ± 0.05) than in HI20 (7.34 ± 0.04) and MOD6 (7.35 ± 0.03). At the same time, differences (P < .001) existed for venous lactate in HI6 (8.2 ± 2.0 mmol/L), HI20 (5.1 ± 1.7 mmol/L), and MOD6 (1.4 ± 0.4 mmol/L), as well as for venous bicarbonate in HI6 (19.3 ± 2.6 mmol/L), HI20 (22.6 ± 2.3 mmol/L), and MOD6 (26.0 ± 1.4 mmol/L). Mean power in PT in HI6 (402 ± 38 W) tended to be lower (P = .11) than in HI20 (409 ± 34 W) and was lower (P = .007) than in MOD6 (416 ± 32 W). Total VO2 (15–120 s in PT) was higher in HI6 (8.18 ± 0.86 L) than in HI20 (7.85 ± 0.82 L, P = .008) and MOD6 (7.90 ± 0.74 L, P = .012).


Warm-up exercise including race-pace and sprint intervals combined with short recovery can reduce subsequent performance in a 4-min maximal test in highly trained cyclists. Thus, a reduced time at high exercise intensity, a reduced intensity in the warm-up, or an extension of the recovery period after an intense warm-up is advocated.

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High-Intensity Training in Football

F. Marcello Iaia, Rampinini Ermanno, and Jens Bangsbo

This article reviews the major physiological and performance effects of aerobic high-intensity and speed-endurance training in football, and provides insight on implementation of individual game-related physical training. Analysis and physiological measurements have revealed that modern football is highly energetically demanding, and the ability to perform repeated high-intensity work is of importance for the players. Furthermore, the most successful teams perform more high-intensity activities during a game when in possession of the ball. Hence, footballers need a high fitness level to cope with the physical demands of the game. Studies on football players have shown that 8 to 12 wk of aerobic high-intensity running training (>85% HRmax) leads to VO2max enhancement (5% to 11%), increased running economy (3% to 7%), and lower blood lactate accumulation during submaximal exercise, as well as improvements in the yo-yo intermittent recovery (YYIR) test performance (13%). Similar adaptations are observed when performing aerobic high-intensity training with small-sided games. Speed-endurance training has a positive effect on football-specific endurance, as shown by the marked improvements in the YYIR test (22% to 28%) and the ability to perform repeated sprints (~2%). In conclusion, both aerobic and speed-endurance training can be used during the season to improve high-intensity intermittent exercise performance. The type and amount of training should be game related and specific to the technical, tactical, and physical demands imposed on each player.

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Metabolic Response and Fatigue in Soccer

Jens Bangsbo, Fedon Marcello Iaia, and Peter Krustrup

The physical demands in soccer have been studied intensively, and the aim of the present review is to provide an overview of metabolic changes during a game and their relation to the development of fatigue. Heart-rate and body-temperature measurements suggest that for elite soccer players the average oxygen uptake during a match is around 70% of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max). A top-class player has 150 to 250 brief intense actions during a game, indicating that the rates of creatine-phosphate (CP) utilization and glycolysis are frequently high during a game, which is supported by findings of reduced muscle CP levels and several-fold increases in blood and muscle lactate concentrations. Likewise, muscle pH is lowered and muscle inosine monophosphate (IMP) elevated during a soccer game. Fatigue appears to occur temporarily during a game, but it is not likely to be caused by elevated muscle lactate, lowered muscle pH, or change in muscle-energy status. It is unclear what causes the transient reduced ability of players to perform maximally. Muscle glycogen is reduced by 40% to 90% during a game and is probably the most important substrate for energy production, and fatigue toward the end of a game might be related to depletion of glycogen in some muscle fibers. Blood glucose and catecholamines are elevated and insulin lowered during a game. The blood free-fatty-acid levels increase progressively during a game, probably reflecting an increasing fat oxidation compensating for the lowering of muscle glycogen. Thus, elite soccer players have high aerobic requirements throughout a game and extensive anaerobic demands during periods of a match leading to major metabolic changes, which might contribute to the observed development of fatigue during and toward the end of a game.

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Active Relative to Passive Ischemic Preconditioning Enhances Intense Endurance Performance in Well-Trained Men

Danny Christiansen, Casper B.L. Olsen, Frederik Kehler, Anders P. Hansen, Søren Jessen, Peter M. Christensen, and Jens Bangsbo

Purpose: This study tested the hypothesis of whether ischemic exercise preconditioning (IPC-Ex) elicits a better intense endurance exercise performance than traditional ischemic preconditioning at rest (IPC-rest) and a SHAM procedure. Methods: Twelve men (average V ˙ O 2 max ∼61 mL·kg−1·min−1) performed 3 trials on separate days, each consisting of either IPC-Ex (3 × 2-min cycling at ∼40 W with a bilateral-leg cuff pressure of ∼180 mm Hg), IPC-rest (4 × 5-min supine rest at 220 mm Hg), or SHAM (4 × 5-min supine rest at <10 mm Hg) followed by a standardized warm-up and a 4-minute maximal cycling performance test. Power output, blood lactate, potassium, pH, rating of perceived exertion, oxygen uptake, and gross efficiency were assessed. Results: Mean power during the performance test was higher in IPC-Ex versus IPC-rest (+4%; P = .002; 95% CI, +5 to 18 W). No difference was found between IPC-rest and SHAM (−2%; P = .10; 95% CI, −12 to 1 W) or between IPC-Ex and SHAM (+2%; P = .09; 95% CI, −1 to 13 W). The rating of perceived exertion increased following the IPC-procedure in IPC-Ex versus IPC-rest and SHAM (P < .001). During warm-up, IPC-Ex elevated blood pH versus IPC-rest and SHAM (P ≤ .027), with no trial differences for blood potassium (P > .09) or cycling efficiency (P ≥ .24). Eight subjects anticipated IPC-Ex to be best for their performance. Four subjects favored SHAM. Conclusions: Performance in a 4-minute maximal test was better following IPC-Ex than IPC-rest and tended to be better than SHAM. The IPC procedures did not affect blood potassium, while pH was transiently elevated only by IPC-Ex. The performance-enhancing effect of IPC-Ex versus IPC-rest may be attributed to a placebo effect, improved pH regulation, and/or a change in the perception of effort.

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Four Weeks of Intensified Training Enhances On-Ice Intermittent Exercise Performance and Increases Maximal Oxygen Consumption of Youth National-Team Ice Hockey Players

Jan Sommer Jeppesen, Jeppe F. Vigh-Larsen, Mikkel S. Oxfeldt, Niklas M. Laustsen, Magni Mohr, Jens Bangsbo, and Morten Hostrup

Purpose: We investigated whether 4 weeks of intensified training consisting of speed endurance training (SET) enhanced high-intensity exercise performance in youth national-team ice hockey players. Methods : Utilizing a randomized crossover design, we subjected 17 players to 4 weeks of SET, comprising 6 to 10 × 20 seconds at maximal effort (>95% maximum ice skating speed) with 120-second recovery performed 3 times weekly, or maintenance of regular training (control period). Before and after each period, players completed ice-hockey-specific tests on ice, including a Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 test, a 30-m sprint test, and an agility test. On a separate day, players were assessed for body composition with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and performed countermovement jump, maximal voluntary isometric knee extensor contraction, a 15-second maximal sprint test, and a submaximal and incremental test on a bike ergometer in which pulmonary oxygen consumption was determined. Results : Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 test performance increased (P < .001) by 14% (95% CI, 201–496 m) during the SET period. Maximal pulmonary oxygen consumption (P < .05) and time to exhaustion (P < .05) were 4.8% and 6.5% higher, respectively, after the SET period than before. Fat-free mass increased (P < .01) during the SET period by 1.7 kg (95% CI, 1.0–2.5), whereas fat mass remained unchanged. These effects were superior to the control period. Conclusions : These findings underpin the effectiveness of SET for improving on-ice high-intensity performance and highlight that elite ice hockey players can benefit from implementing SET.