Warm up and cool down are an essential elements of both training and competing. Warming up allows your body to perform at its best during your session and cooling down will aid recovery, ultimately helping you to achieve your goals.
Some keen cyclists jump straight into their training session without thought of warming up. However, a warm up offers many benefits, including:
Increased muscle temperature - Both contraction and relaxation is enhanced in a warmed up muscle, which means you can experience a boost in speed and power.
Increased core temperature - Raising the core temperature increases the speed of nerve impulses which improves your reaction time.
Capillary dilation - When starting exercise, your body releases adrenaline which increases heart rate and causes dilation of the capillaries. This increases elasticity in the muscles and reduces the risk of injury.
Mental preparation - A warm up gives you time to prepare yourself for the training session or race ahead, use the same warm up routine before each session to build focus.
If you are training in power and heart rate zones, we recommend the following warm ups. Remember, you need to complete your warm up 5-10 minutes before you start a session, you may also need to vary the warm up depending on the environmental conditions such as heat or humidity.
Recovery - Warm up for 5 minutes by pedalling slowly, choose a resistance level that allows you to pedal at 80-90 rpm below your recovery zone power and heart rate zone. Select the Wattbike model (Pro or Trainer) which gives you the right combination of resistance and rpm.
Zone 1 & 2 - Warm up for 5 - 10 minutes in recovery zone
Zone 3 - Ride a 10 minute progressive warm up through recovery, Zone 1 & Zone 2
Zones 4, 5 & 6 - Due to the nature of these high intensity sessions, they share a specific warm up based on your Maximum Minute Power. Find your session in our cycling test guide.
There are a number of benefits of a cool down after a high intensity session. It prevents blood from pooling in the extremities which can lead to dizziness and fainting, reduces heart rate and aids recovery.
If you are using a Wattbike to cool down, choose resistance level that allows you to pedal at 80-90 rpm whilst at the same time reducing heart rate. This will need a resistance level lower than the level used for warm up.
Recovery - Pedal slowly for 5 minutes at a resistance level that allows you to pedal at 80-90 rpm below your recovery zone power and heart rate zone.
Zone 1 & 2 - Ride for 5-10 minutes in recovery zone
Zone 3 - Ride for 10 minutes in recovery zone
Zones 4, 5 & 6 - Due to the nature of these high intensity sessions, they share a specific cool down. Find your session in our cycling test guide.