Research shows high-intensity warm-ups at half time intervals increased performance for soccer players.
Research by Victoria University Institute for Sport, Exercise & Active Living's Dr James Zois compared lower limb power, speed and soccer-specific passing ability in players after different half-time routines.
Those who did five repetitions of maximum load leg presses and passing/dribbling exercises at half time were more powerful, faster and skilful after the break than those who rested.
"The focused high-intensity activity at half time does not tire the players out as it is only brief, but it does improve muscle contractile properties with an effect lasting for the next 26 minutes of exercise," Dr Zois said.
"The maximum load leg presses activate higher-order motor units responsible for increased muscle activation and efficiency," Dr Zois explained. "This makes the production of mechanical power in the legs more efficient, even during strenuous exercise bouts, as was the case in this study."
Meanwhile the skill based warm-up exercises were shown to be important for improvement in subsequent passing accuracy and speed in dribbling the ball.
"Re warm-up can be just as important as the initial warm-up because it helps minimise temperature related performance decrements and, as shown by this study, can actually improve physical and skilled tasks in second half efforts," he said.
He said currently most A League clubs did generic warm-up activities at half time but were potentially not optimising this period as much as they could be.
"Re-warm-ups can have a real bearing on subsequent physical performance and more emphasis is required to get this important process right before players step out onto the pitch."
The study involved eight soccer players from division one of the Victorian Football Federation and was published recently in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.
Available for interview:
Dr James Zois, researcher
Institute for Sport, Exercise & Active Living, Victoria University
(03) 9919 4643; 0413 497 090; [email protected]
Michael Quin, Research writer
Public Affairs Department, Victoria University
(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; [email protected]