"Acid up for Olmypic Gold"

Dr Mark Burnley

Dr Mark Burnley

06 June 2012

A sports scientist at Aberystwyth University has found new ways of warming up that can help improve an athlete’s performance and make the difference between gold and silver.

Dr Mark Burnley, a lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science (SES) at the University, has been studying high intensity exercises known as “priming”.

Dr Burnley and researchers from the University of Brighton and Exeter, have been studying how priming increases concentration of lactate in the blood, making the blood acidic and ultimately, improving performance.

The work improves performance in any event that lasts from around two minutes up to about 30 minutes.

In an athletics stadium, this means all events from the 800 metres to the 10,000 metres could be improved by priming exercise. Many cycling and rowing events will also be improved by priming exercise.

Consequently, many of the great performances in London 2012 could be achieved by an athlete “primed” by an “acid-up” developed by scientists in UK universities.

This research has been highlighted in a report showing the impact of universities’ research and sport development on the Olympic and Paralympic Games and UK sports industry.

More information about the report, including how to request a copy of the full report is available in English and Welsh