Effect of muscle warming on sprint power of humans

This research by demonstrated for the first time that the magnitude of the effect of warming up human muscle on sprint power depended on the speed of movement. Thus, the faster the speed of movement the greater was the benefit of warm-up.

The study was made possible by the development of the isokinetic cycle ergometer which allowed the pedalling rate to be held constant during an all-out sprint effort. [see Anthony J Sargeant, Elizabeth Hoinville, Archie Young (1981)]

European Journal of Applied Physiology
Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1987;56(6):693-8

The effect of changing muscle temperature on performance of short term dynamic exercise in man was studied.

Four subjects performed 20 s maximal sprint efforts at a constant pedalling rate of 95 crank rev.min-1 on an isokinetic cycle ergometer under four temperature conditions: from rest at room temperature; and following 45 min of leg immersion in water baths at 44; 18; and 12 degrees C.


Muscle temperature (Tm) at 3 cm depth was respectively 36.6, 39.3, 31.9 and 29.0 degrees C. After warming the legs in a 44 degrees C water bath there was an increase of approximately 11% in maximal peak force and power (PPmax) compared with normal rest while cooling the legs in 18 and 12 degrees C water baths resulted in reductions of approximately 12% and 21% respectively. Associated with an increased maximal peak power at higher Tm was an increased rate of fatigue.

Two subjects performed isokinetic cycling at three different pedalling rates (54, 95 and 140 rev.min-1) demonstrating that the magnitude of the temperature effect was velocity dependent: At the slowest pedalling rate the effect of warming the muscle was to increase PPmax by approximately 2% per degree C but at the highest speed this increased to approximately 10% per degree C.


Strength training for athletes and in rehabilitation is very specific

Professors Anthony J Sargeant and David A Jones were the PhD supervisors respectively for Carolyn A Greig and Olga M Rutherford who both held PhD studentships awarded by the UK Sports Council.
Journal of Sports Sciences
J Sports Sci. 1986 Autumn;4(2):101-7
Olga M Rutherford, Carolyn A Greig, Anthony J Sargeant, David A Jones.


The effects of strength training of the quadriceps on peak power output during isokinetic cycling has been investigated in group of 17 young healthy volunteers. Subjects trained by lifting near-maximal loads on a leg extension machine for 12 weeks. Measurements of maximal voluntary isometric force were made at 2-3 week intervals and a continual record was kept of the weights lifted in training.

Peak power output was measured at 110 rev min-1 and at either 70 or 80 rev min-1 before and after the 12 week training period. Measurements of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) were made on 12 subjects before and after training. The greatest change was in the weights lifted in training which increased by 160-200%. This was accompanied by a much smaller increase in maximum isometric force (3-20%). There was no significant change in peak power output at either speed. The VO2max remained unchanged with training. The role of task specificity in training is discussed in relation to training regimes for power athletes and for rehabilitation of patients with muscle weakness.

Research into central and peripheral determinants of Maximum Oxygen Uptake

This research proposed and carried out by Professor Anthony J Sargeant examined the central and peripheral limitations and and changes in maximum oxygen uptake when different muscle mass was involved.
Journal of Physiology. 1975 Jan;244(1):50P

The first preliminary publication of research initiated by Anthony J Sargeant as part of his PhD thesis

Professor Anthony J Sargeant published this research in the days before high altitude training camps were adopted by athletes


A research project to examine when whether a hypoxia (as might occur at altitude) is an important factor in training for aerobic power output

Bone health and exercise – athletes and sedentary people

Professor Anthony J Sargeant was the Director of the Research Institute where this research initiated and driven by Professor Joern Ritttweger was carried out by Desiree Wilks (a PhD student under their joint supervision).
Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interaction
J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2009 Oct-Dec;9(4):236-46

Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether athletic participation allows master athletes to preserve their good bone health into old age. METHODS: Bone strength indicators of the tibia and the radius were obtained of master runners and race-walkers (n=300) competing at World and European Master Championships and of 75 sedentary controls, all aged 33-94 yrs. RESULTS: In the tibia, diaphyseal cortical area (Ar.Ct), polar moment of resistance (RPol) and trabecular bone mineral density (vBMD) were generally greater in athletes than controls at all ages. In the athletes, but not the controls, Ar.Ct, RPol (females) and trabecular vBMD were negatively correlated with age (p<0.01). Radius measures were comparable between athlete and control groups at all ages. The amalgamated data revealed negative correlations of age with Ar.Ct, RPol (females), cortical vBMD and trabecular vBMD (males; p<0.005) and positive correlations with endocortical circumference (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: This cross-sectional study found age-related differences in tibial bone strength indicators of master athletes, but not sedentary controls, thus, groups becoming more similar with advancing age. Age-related differences were noticeable in the radius too, without any obvious group difference. Results are compatible with the notion that bones adapt to exercise-specific forces throughout the human lifespan.