5 Cycling Warm Up Tips

warmupsAs with any sport, it is important that you warm up before heading out on any sort of a ride, especially if you are expecting it to be a race or a hard or long session. It is not just good preparation for your body physically, it is also a great way to mentally prepare for why might lie ahead. It has been scientifically proven that warming up will also make you more alert.

By warming up properly, you are slowly preparing your body for the stresses and strains of the physical activity meaning that you are less likely to injure yourself or hurt in the morning. It also means that your body, as a machine will perform better, quicker. You will increase muscle and core temperature, get blood flowing and improve the uptake, transportation and utilisation of oxygen.

Whether you are embarking on a mega-ride or warming up for a sprint race, here are five warm-up tips for you:

1. Don’t bother with Static Stretching

Research shows that there is no point whatsoever in static stretching as a warm up technique as it doesn’t enhance performance nor prevent injury. The warm up exercises should be in line with the movements that you will be making and the muscles that you will be working when on the ride or race itself.

2. Warm up on the same bike as you will be using

Warming up on the same bike as you will be using has a number of benefits, but the main one is that it gets your body in tune with your bike, using the same muscles that you will be using, and warming up exactly the right areas. It also gives you a chance to warm up your bike, and check that everything is working as it should be.

3. Length of Time

There is no point in not warming up for enough time, or likewise, exhausting yourself out before you even start. As a rule of thumb, the longer that you are expecting to be cycling for, the shorter the warm up you need. So if you are going in for a sprint race, you’ll need the longest warm up of all.

4. Easy as 1-2-3

Most people take the three step approach to warming up. Break it into three sections:

  • The first should be a gentle lead in. Keep your heart rate at about 110-120 bpm for an average of about 5 minutes, and keep you jacket and leggings on if it is cold.
  • In the second phase you should be working your heart to be at about 85% your maximum heart rate. This will raise your body temperature and get your heart going at something which is closer to what it will be during your ride.
  • The third and final part of your warm up should be a couple of sprints which last about 20 seconds each. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to go!

5. Music

A great way to boost your warm up and get you motivated is to put on the headphones and listen to music. Not only does it shut out what other people are doing around you, it also helps you to focus your mind.

Having a good warm up routine is essential for your own personal performance to be at its best. It will take a bit of trial and error to work out exactly what is best for you, but by following these cycling warm up tips, you really can’t go wrong, will perform at your best and help yourself to avoid injury.