Why warming up and cooling down are essential

Warming up and cooling down tend to be towards the bottom of the list when it comes to amateur cycling, whether that’s during training or a sportive, out on the road or training indoors.

But truth is, warming up and cooling down are 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.

Why warm up?

Some keen cyclists jump straight into their training session with no thought of warming up. However, a proper 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.

Prepare yourself mentally
A warm up gives you time to prepare yourself for the training session or race ahead. You can use the same warm up routine before each session to build focus.

Wattbike recommended warm ups
Based on training in power and heart rate zones, the experts at Wattbike recommend the following warm ups. Remember to complete your warm up five to 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.

Warm up for five 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. If you’re using a Wattbike, select the model (Pro or Trainer) that gives you the right combination of resistance and rpm.

Zone 1 & 2
Warm up for five to 10 minutes in recovery zone.

Zone 3
Ride a 10-minute progressive warm up through recovery, Zone 1 and 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 on the Wattbike website here .

Why cool down?

There are a number of benefits to cooling 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.

The Wattbike three-minute test video   shows exactly what can happen when you fail to cool down properly!

Wattbike recommended cool downs

If you are using a Wattbike to cool down, choose a resistance level that allows you to pedal at 80-90 rpm while at the same time reducing your heart rate. This will need a resistance level lower than the level used for warm up.

Pedal slowly for five 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
Ride for 15-20 minutes in recovery zone.