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Importance of warm up and cool down(7 posts)

Importance of warm up and cool downnn23
Aug 1, 2002 1:24 PM
It is something that you may have read a zillion times on this board, but in case you are new to the sport, like me, and still dont do it, read on...

1. Warm up before and cool down after any intense ride
2. Do recovery rides.

Till recently I didnt do either of 1 or 2. I figured, warm up and cool down routines were for the 35+ when the body starts showing signs of age and so I didnt do it. Also since I rode only thrice a week, I thought the rest day between two ride days was as good as a recovery ride. Besides my legs used to feel too tired after the ride to want to ride again on the rest (recovery) day.

O boy was I wrong!

In the last few days Ive added warm-up and cool-down routines before and after my high intensity rides (1 hr, no hills) and it sure has helped me far more than what I expected.

Due to the 15 min warm up my legs hurt a lot less when I finally start pushing hard. As my legs are not hurting I can push harder, attain higher peak speeds (up by 5 mph) and keep those speeds for longer during the main part of the ride. The 10 min cool down at the end takes away the lactic acid built up and I end the ride feeling a lot stronger than what I used to earlier.

The best part is that although I am spending 25 minutes of a 65 minute ride at a lower effort, my average speed for the entire ride has only gone up (+1.5 mph).

Recovery days are fun too. I gives me time to focus on cornering and spinning faster. Both of which help me attain higher avg and peek speeds on the other days.

Just wanted to share my thoughts.
I agree, as a member of the geriatric crowd I find...rwbadley
Aug 1, 2002 1:51 PM
I need that warm up. (They say) you need about 1 minute of warm up for every year of your age. Good grief, by the time I get warmed up, I'm done with the ride!

I like to warm up, stretch legs and back, warm up harder, stretch legs and back. Then I figure I'm good to go.

The odd thing is, it seems anymore I don't really start to 'feel good' until about the forty mile mark. :-)

I've experienced the opposite ...Humma Hah
Aug 1, 2002 2:31 PM
I'm all for warm-ups. Most mornings I start out slowly, feel a little discomfort in my 49-year-old legs at first, but by 1-2 miles of gentle warmup, I'm good to go another 70 or more.

However, on several occasions I've started out on a ride, intending to warm up, and spotted a "rabbit" up ahead. I have a real problem resisting the urge to catch a rider ahead of me, especially when fresh. I've been known to chase a kid up a 10% 50-foot grade, straight out of the parking lot, at a dead sprint, just so he'd know he got caught by an old man on a cruiser.

Every time I've done this, I've felt explosively powerful for about 50 miles. Those rides have produced my best times, usually by a fair margin.

I belive there's something profound going on at the biochemical level when I start a ride with a short anaerobic sprint. I ran into a couple of studies that suggest there's a distinct threshold for triggering high carbohydrate metabolism. While a gentle warm-up is supposed to encourage fat burning, a sprint may turn on carb burn.

I also think it may be possible to trigger BOTH, and may have done it last summer a couple of times. Start out gently, warm up, then do a sprint (not to exhaustion, but go a little anaerobic). See if that doesn't really light the fire.

But if you succeed, take it easy the following day. After I've had such explosive rides, and tried a long ride the following day, I've run into coughing spells and bonked at about 50 miles. The recovery ride IS vital.
I think it's important.fracisco
Aug 1, 2002 3:29 PM
I have about a 2.5 mile ride to the Tuesday/Thursday group ride meeting place, so I use it to spin at low mph. I think it's good to not only get some heat into the legs, but to bring my cardiovascular up to speed gently. I've got about 7.5 miles to the Saturday morning ride, and about 15 miles to the Sunday morning ride. And I really make an effort to not rabbit and chase someone down.

I haven't done recovery rides before, but I'm going to start doing them a couple days per week at lunch. It's time in the middle of the day where I'd otherwise be eating or sitting. I'm afraid that the people that ride at lunch don't do the early morning group rides, so they are going to want to hammer, so, I'll just let them go their way if I have to.
Jack Lalane on warming up before exercise:OffTheBack
Aug 1, 2002 5:22 PM
I read this in an interview w/ Jack about 6 or 7 years ago, and it still cracks me up:

"What a bunch of horse***t! Does a lion warm up before it chases a gazelle? No! It's not natural!"

Personally, I need a good 15 min. warm up before hammering.
re: Importance of warm up and cool downzray61
Aug 1, 2002 6:24 PM
Dr.Phillip Maffetone has written 3 or 4 books about the importance of warm up and especially cool down. His theory of heart rate zone training is also different.
I've used his approach and highly recommend it.
He also has a web site.
You have learned much, GrasshopperTig
Aug 1, 2002 7:23 PM
Each person has different needs when it comes to warm ups and cool downs. I've always needed more warm up time than my friends, especially before a crit, track, or MTB race. The initial intensity can make a cold body's heart rate blow up. About 8 or 10 miles does it for me. After about 5 miles, a few quick jumps and short intervals helps prepare the heart even more. Follow up with a good set of stretches and I can handle the intensity and surges of a fast race of ride much better and longer, and without cramps or aches. I've noticed that I'm stronger on my Sunday rides after Saturday's race-speed 40 mile group ride. Maybe it is a giant warm up?

Cool downs work well to flush the legs of lactic acid. Just a few miles followed by stretching makes for a good recovery, depending on what you've done to yourself.

I'll admit that I don't do enough recovery rides. There is an old saying, "most people ride too hard on their easy days, and too easy on their hard days." LFR said that the pro's she has ridden with will ride as slow as 12-14 MPH on their recovery days. This is where a MTB works out nicely.