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What is "warming up"(7 posts)

What is "warming up"Kristin
Jun 9, 2003 11:12 AM
When I was doing aerobics--which I'm convinced did a lot of nothing for my body--I was taught to warm up with a few minutes of easy effort before demanding more from you muscles and heart. When I take up other sports, I tend to transfer my my previous learned definition of warming up to that sport. In other words, warming up always means go easy for a few minutes. So lets define warming up as it applies to cyling. When is it necessary? And should you warm up differently for different types of riding? (i.e. racing as opposed to a century as opposed to a 20 minute recovery ride.)
re: What is "warming up"TNSquared
Jun 9, 2003 11:22 AM
As long as we are transferring from other sports, from 15 years of competitive running at distances from 1 mile on the track to marathons, I agree with much of what was said in your first post. The whole point in the warm up process is to prepare the body for the effort at hand through a gradual build up. If the effort is going to be all out, then only a light warmup has not completed that build up.

The more strenous and immediate the actual effort, the more intense the warm up needs to be. For a moderate training run, the first few miles I just take it easy.

For an intense workout, like 800 meter repeats at 95% effort, my warmup is 25-30 minutes easy running, then several laps on the track with hard surges in the turns, and then lots of stretching. At the start of a 5k race, I like to be sweating an breathing hard. Otherwise, it hurts like h#ll about 1/2 mile into the race as your physiology tries to catch up with the effort.

For a marathon, nothing. 26 miles is far enough to run, thank you! :)

Admittedly, I'm not as big on warming down. After a race, 10-15 minutes of easy work and then light stretching. Otherwise, nada.

Now, transfer to cycling.
I'm guilty of not following what I preach...eschelon
Jun 9, 2003 11:22 AM
but that does not negate knowledge and experience...my definition of warming up is not simply working the muscles easily for a few miniutes...rather it is also to prepare the muscles for the rigours of hard exercise. To simply spin is not enough...because your musculature system is constantly in a state of atrophy and contraction/tension due to less circulation (not exercising) and lack of intensive use...since we can't exercise 24 hours a day, our muslces will always want to revert to its state of non-exercise use state. Jumping right into intensive use, will over time catch up to you and can increase the likelihood of injuring yourself...which is why I usually stretch before races and before fast group rides in addition to stretching during those rides.

The easy days...well, I usually don't make it a priority to stretch due to the stress being minimal.
Oops, I meant "20 MILE recovery ride..." nmKristin
Jun 9, 2003 11:26 AM
Warming up is important for high power demands. I'vebill
Jun 9, 2003 11:29 AM
read stuff on why it's important, which I can't remember, but I've become convinced that it is. I think it's probably in part psychological -- getting your mind and body used to a little suffering by working up to it I'm sure has some value. I'm convinced that it's physiological as well. I know that without any difference in perceived exertion, I can go faster after some warm-up (well, I guess that could be psychological).
I only worry about warming up, though, for a real effort. For just riding, it's all the same.
Getting your body ready for whatever you.........MR_GRUMPY
Jun 9, 2003 11:33 AM
are going to put it through. If a person is going to ride around at 13 mph, a one block "warm up" at 10 mph should be enough. If a person is going to take off in a 30mph crit, the "warm up" might last 45 minutes.
I was going to say that the definition of "warm up" is when the first dish hits the doorway, when you come back from a race, three hours late.
The longer the race...Brooks
Jun 9, 2003 3:28 PM
the shorter the warmup; conversely, the shorter the race, the longer the warmup. The same is true with training rides, club rides, interval work, whatever. For a crit or TT, warm-up for nearly an hour. This includes easy spinning, ramping up to hard, short sprints with recovery. Somewhat mimicing the effort you will need to produce in the race. You should come to the line sweating but your heart rate down to recovery zone. You will have cleared the gunk out of your lungs, prepared your heart, lungs and muscles for the immediate hard effort. Blood is flowing to the muscles, the muscles are firing with the energy needed. Warming down is important too. This is a fast spinning in a low gear to make the muscles clear out the lactic acid that has built up. Your muscles aren't being stressed by a big gear or hard effort but the heart and blood flow are pumping. This really helps the muscles recover and not feel so sore later on (which is lactic acid sitting in the muscles).

For a century ride, maybe warm-up a few minutes or not at all. Same with recovery rides, these are meant to be slower, never anaerobic, heart rate running about 60% max.