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22-01-2012 | Sports medicine | Article

Warming up to music improves muscular power


Free abstract

MedWire News: Listening to music during a sports warm-up session significantly improves muscular power output, especially in the mornings, report researchers.

"This is an important point for coaches and it may benefit athletes involved in sports requiring powerful lower-extremity muscular contractions," remark Nizar Souissi (Manouba University, Tunisia) and team.

Previous studies have found that muscular power can fluctuate depending on the time of day, with higher output levels being reported in the evening compared with the morning.

Because music has been used as a tool to "psych up" athletes in preparation for performance, Souissi and co-investigators assessed the effects of listening to high tempo music (>120-140 bpm) while warming up on daily fluctuations in muscular power output.

As reported in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, 12 male students (mean age 22.4 years) were instructed to complete four 10-minute warm-up tests in a random order: two in the morning (07:00-09:00) and two in the evening (17:00-19:00), with or without music.

During the warm-up the participants pedaled at a constant pace of 60 rpm against a light load of 1 kg.

Immediately after the warm-up the students completed the Wingate test, which involved pedaling as fast as they could for 30 seconds. The peak power output and the mean power, corresponding to the ratio between total work done and time to do it, were recorded at the end of the test.

As expected, peak and mean power significantly improved from morning to afternoon after the no music warm-up. But these time-of-day variations disappeared for mean power and were reduced for peak power by an attenuated morning-evening difference after the music warm-up.

In addition, both peak and mean power output were significantly higher after the music warm-up than no music warm-up at the two times of testing.

However, there was no significant difference in power output between the morning session with music and the evening session without music, notes the team.

"It is apparent that music during warm-up before a Wingate test seems to be effective to improve muscular power especially in the morning hours and to avoid the negative impact of time-of-day on power output," write Souissi and team.

They therefore suggest that music should be played during a warm-up before performing activities requiring powerful muscular contractions, especially when competitions are scheduled in the morning hours.

By Nikki Withers

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