The Cycling Warm Up You Can’t Afford to Skip
This specialized warm up will correct muscle imbalances and activate core muscle groups so you can ride at max efficiency.
Positioning is fundamental to performance on a bicycle. There are endless studies that explore the most favorable saddle height, reach and setback—a great wealth of diagrams, explainers and calculators that pinpoint optimum positioning. The idea is that the more you fine-tune your body to bicycle ratios, the more power you get in your legs. But beyond stem dimensions and saddle height, it is crucial to align the eight load-bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles) to allow for full range of motion before getting onto a bicycle. The body must be working as an efficient, cohesive engine to be able lock into a static position and maintain a powerful pedal stroke. Think about it: On a bicycle you lock into a fixed form—reaching and rounding to power your downstroke. If your spine is rounded at just the right angle and your arms have a 90 degree bend, you keep pressure off your lower back. This frees up the hips—and when your hips are properly loaded, you can drive hard with your legs.
However, without full function in your joints and activation in your hips and shoulders, all the diagrams on the web aren’t going to improve your pedal stroke. Ask any serious cyclist and they’ll agree: if your posture is off, your power output suffers. This carefully sequenced warm up will activate the hips and shoulders and align the load-bearing joints. And after a longer ride or a competitive race—try the cooldown. The Standing Arm Circles will rebalance the rounded posterior and release the lower back. Happy cycling!
Calves & Calf Nots | 10x per position:
- 1. Stand with feet pointed straight, fist width apart.
- 2. Raise and lower heels ten times.
- 3. Point feet out and raise and lower heels ten times.
- 4. Point feet in so that toes are touching and raise and lower heels ten times.
Deliberate Burpees | 10x:
- 1. Standing with your feet wider than hip width, squat into a down position with your palms and feet on the ground and hold for one second.
- 2. Kick your feet back so that your body is in the plank position, and hold for a second, pinching your shoulder blades together (this is key!).
- 3. Jump back into down position, knees bent, palms and feet flat on the ground, and hold for one second.
- 4. Spring up, jumping into the air and returning to down position to repeat process.
Glam Sequence | 8x:
- 1. Lying on your back with your arms relaxed to the side, extend your legs straight and pull your toes back.
- 2. Pressing your heels firmly into the ground, lift your hips and midsection off the ground, keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed, and hold for a second.
- 3. Lower your hips, spread your legs and angle your toes slightly in before you pull them back.
- 4. Lift your hips and midsection, keeping your shoulders relaxed, and hold for a second.
Zig Zag Lunges | 8x per side:
- 1. In a standing position, interlace your fingers behind your head, your elbows pulled back.
- 2. With your right leg, take a long, lunging step to the right.
- 3. Back in a standing position, now use your left leg to take a long, lunging step to the left, keeping your elbows back.
- 4. Repeat process for the allotted amount of time.
Squat to Plank—8x:
- 1. Stand with your feet a couple of feet apart, pointed straight, and bend your knees until you are in a squat position, your arms extended directly in front; hold the position for a second.
- 2. Drop your hands to the ground and walk them forward until you are fully extended on your hands and feet, hips up, shoulders pulled back—the plank position. Hold for a second.
- 3. Walk your hands back in and return to the squat position.
Standing Arm Circles | 60x:
- 1. Hand Position: Put your thumbs up and fold your fingers forward so that your fingertips are on the top pads of your palms.
- 2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Extend your arms directly sideways and point your thumbs forward, hands down. Pinch your shoulder blades back.
- 3. Move your arms up and forward in a circular motion sixty times.
Next flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and move your arms up and backwards in a circle sixty times.
Bent Knee Da Vincis | 8x:
- 1. Stand with your feet wider hip-width apart, your feet pointed straight ahead. Sit into a slight squat, knees bent, with a slight arch in your lower back. Extend your arms out to the side. Your hands should be palms-forward with the fingers spread wide.
- 2. Keeping your hips and head stable, bend to one side using just the spine and bend back to the other side.
Over Under Switches | 10x per side:
- 1. On your hands and knees, pop up onto your hands and feet with your knees bent.
- 2. Lift your left leg and drive it under your body, through the gap between your right leg and right arm, and finish on your hands and feet facing up, your back to the ground.
- 3. Lift your left hand and swing it over your body and land on your hands and feet, now facing the ground. Repeat process for allotted amount of time.
- 4. When finished with left leg, from the original starting position, lift the right leg and drive it under your body, through the gap between your left leg and arm, and finish on your hands and feet facing up.
- 5. Lift your right arm and swing it over your body and land on your hands and feet, facing the ground. Repeat process for an amount of time equal to what you exercised the left foot and arm.