Warm Up Drills

Ronde Picarde

Dianne, at the Ronde Picarde
not yet warmed up!

The warm up is vitally important to the quality of any training session you undertake.  Too short and your body isn't ready for the intense efforts being asked of it, too long or too intense and you may not have enough physical or mental capacity to complete your training session's objective.

Everyone is different and the same prescriptive formula will not work for everyone,  So you need to find what works best for you.  However, there are certain recommendations and guiding principles you can follow to get the best from your warm up routines.

Get the Juices Flowing
A warm up should be exactly that, a warm up.  You need to bring your body, muscles and internal systems all up to "operating" temperature.  See the Warm Up Routines factsheet for a detailed explanation and more in-depth recommendations.

Suggested Turbo Warm Up
Take at least 10 minutes, and if you have time up to 10 kilometres, to bring your self mentally and physically up to the point where you are ready to give full commitment to your training session.

Start off at a couple of minutes at 150 watts or high cadence/low power leg spinning to get the muscles firing in the right order.  "Smell the flowers" pace if you were outdoors.

Once the legs get loose and your breathing and body temperature have settled  to match your environmental conditions you're ready to crank it up a bit.  Basically, if you're in a cold room or garage and you still feel cold, you're not yet ready for the next stage.

Over the course of a minute, slowly (no shocks to the system) build your power, speed, cadence to a fast cruise.  Hold it for a minute, then ease back to smell the flowers mode.  After a further minute, build back to fast cruise mode.

After a minute at fast cruise, slowly, over the next minute, build up to chain gang pace.  Now you should be breathing rhythmically and starting to get a bit of a sweat on.  At the end of that minute, spin back down to smell the flowers.

After a further minute, go from smell the flowers, briskly but without attacking, back to chain bang pace and at the end of a minute throw in a seated, lead out interval of around 15 seconds or so.  Not a sprint, just a spirited push to raise the heart beat.

Now you'll be breathing hard, sweating heavily and at the level you expect to be at the start of your chosen turbo session. 

Bring the warm up to a close by easing back to chain gang for 30 seconds, then back to smell the flowers for a minimum of two minutes or until your heart rate and breathing return to steady state riding levels.

The Session
Every change of pace should be calmly, but briskly, introduced.  No out of the saddle, screaming pace changes.  Your warming up in anticipation of training, this isn't training as such.  No shocks to the system, everything in moderation.

Two minutes; smell the flowers 0
 ▼  One minute; fast cruise 2
One minute; smell the flowers 3
One minute; fast cruise 4
One minute; chain gang pace 5
One minute; smell the flowers 6
One minute; chain gang pace 7
15 second lead out interval  
30 seconds; chain gang pace 8
One minute; fast cruise 9
Two minutes; smell the flowers 10

Session Timings

Warm Up    
Total Session Time



How it should look

  intensity shown up the side duration along bottom

The Message
The quality of your warm up will determine the quality of your following training session.  Don't compromise the latter by rushing the former.

The above works for me, it may or may not work for you.  Try it and if it works fantastic; if it doesn't hit the spot, keep juggling until you find something that does, then make it a habit. 

There are no shortcuts in a warm up.

Train hard, train right and train to a purpose.  The rewards, be they personal or trophy-based, will come as sure as night follows day.