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Warm Up Before Strenuous Cycling

In order to get themselves to their best point of physical exertion when they are cycling, most athletes will try to reach PAP, Post-Activation Potentiation. This is a time frame when, for about 5-10 minutes, your muscles’ contractile response is at its highest and best. Though strenuous warm-ups can create this biochemical change, fatigue from too intense of a workout can also prevent it. If you push yourself too hard in a warm-up, the exhaustion may very well take over and keep you from getting to your best. Instead of doing a 40-minute warm-up, try for a 15-20 minute one. This can still get you to your PAP potential with less risk of exhausting yourself in the process.

– For several good 20-minute warm ups, you can start off by selecting an rpm of Zone 1 or 2 Intensity and going at it for 5 minutes. Then, for 15 minutes, create this pattern and repeat 3-5 times: go 1 minute at 90, 1 minute at 100, 1 minute at over 100, and then ride for 2 minutes at a slow Zone 1 rpm.

– Try riding at a low intensity for 10 minutes to get yourself going. Then, increase the tension of your ride until you get the intensity goal you desire for your warm up, and ride at that for 90 seconds. 90 seconds is a good time frame in which to ride at an intense speed and really get a good warm up. Then take a 3-minute slower ride before you get back up to your 90-second intensity. Repeat the whole sequence 4-6 times.

– Start off with 5 minutes at a low intensity zone, and then repeat the following sequence multiple times for up to 15 minutes. Find a hill if you are outside, and if you are on an indoor bike, simulate a hill, and then pedal on it seated for 30 seconds. Then do another 15 seconds at an increased intensity. Then, increase the tension but stand up on the bike for 15 seconds. Sit down and spin for 2 minutes at a low intensity before repeating.

– Stretch your calf by standing on your bike pedals while keeping the cranks vertical. Take your stretching leg and lower the heel past the platform of the pedal while keeping the heel of your other leg straight on its pedal, hold for 20 seconds, and then switch.

– For quadriceps, grip the handlebars in the middle with your left hand, then grab your right foot with your right hand and pull it until it touches your behind, hold and switch.

– Stretch your hamstrings by standing horizontally on the pedals, keeping both legs straight but steadily moving forwards until your shoulders are lowered and your pelvis tilted enough for you to feel the stretch.

– You can stretch your neck before a bike ride by bending your head slowly to one side and then the other without rotating it.

– Stretch your lower back and your legs by lying flat on the ground, and pull your upper legs towards your chest one at a time.