Warming up is one of the most important aspects that we must take into account when performing any type of sport and/or physical activity. This is so because thanks to it we put to work the muscles involved in the activity in a progressive way so that they warm up, which decreases the possibility of suffering a pull and any injury. But not only that, it also reduces muscle soreness after training, as well as joint pain. In the case of indoor cycling is exactly the same, the warm-up is very useful, above all, to avoid muscle pain in the legs, as well as the perception that we are short of breath or that we are drowning at the first change. Another of the benefits associated with cycling, especially when cycling on the road, is to increase body temperature and regulate the levels of perception and transmission of nerve signals, which will reduce the possibility of falls by improving coordination and reaction capabilities.
In this article, we explain several warm-up exercises before cycling on an exercise bike, specifically before using an indoor bike. Read on for more information!
General characteristics of the warm-up before spinning
To answer the question of how to warm up before exercise cycling, it is useful to know some general aspects that will help us to prepare our warm-ups properly. Thus, we recommend that you take into account the following:
- You should start progressively so that your body gradually gets used to the activity and warms up.
- The duration of the warm-up varies depending on the intensity of your indoor cycling training session. It should allow you to reach intensities very similar to those you will reach later (although with a shorter duration). Generally, the average duration of warm-ups is 10 to 15 minutes.
- If the ambient temperature is low (e.g. in the winter season), keep in mind that the body needs more time to warm up.
- The time of day also influences the warm-up, if you plan to participate in a competition in the early morning you will need more time than in an evening session.
Warm-up exercises before exercise cycling
Now that you have the basic and fundamental notions about the warm-up for exercise cycling, we will proceed to explain two types of warm-ups for exercise cycling (spinning or cycling): without using the bike and with it.
Warming up before spinning/spinning exercise bikes
In this case we are talking, above all, about stretching exercises. Below, we explain several exercises that you can perform, although it is not necessary to comply with all of them. As we indicated above, everything depends on the type of training you are going to do, as well as the intensity. You can try the following exercises:
- Squats: It is one of the most complete exercises to warm up the lower body. In addition, they can be very varied since we can perform them statically, as the ones of all life; or alternating with repetitions, for example, advancing a leg and bending, return to the original position and then repeat the process with the opposite leg.
- Strides: Place your hands on both sides of your body and step forward, with your back straight and your torso perpendicular to the ground, without swaying. The knee should not exceed the line with the toe of the foot to avoid injury. You can do a total of 8 to 10 strides per leg.
- Stretching the pectoral: With the bicycle, the pectoral is worked a lot since it is the one that absorbs the impacts and rebounds of the handlebars through the arms. Therefore, it is also advisable to stretch this area well. You can try 4 sets of stretches of 10 seconds each. This involves holding on to the handlebars of the bike and bending your back parallel to the ground while keeping your legs straight.
- Leg swings: These stretches focus primarily on the hips. Ideally, you should stretch for 30 to 45 seconds with each leg and do a total of two sets. The exercise consists of swinging on one side and supporting the leg while the other remains raised, and vice versa.
- Toe-heel: This exercise serves to stretch the calves, as well as the front area of the calf. It is the classic toe-heel movement, it also provides flexibility in the ankle. You can perform 10 steps with the heel (walking in line and making force on the heel) and another 10 with the toe (as if you were walking on tiptoe). Do a total of 2 sets.
Warm-up for cycling/spinning stationary bike
The warm-up before spinning on a bike consists of pedaling with gentle movements. After you have done the aforementioned stretching, get on your bike and pedal for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the total length of your training ride – remember that the duration of the warm-up should be proportional. This will increase blood circulation and warm up your muscles, which is the main objective. However, to avoid later fatigue or exhaustion in a short time, you should increase the intensity gradually so that your body gets used to the new situation to which it is exposed. So, after you have been pedaling at a gentle pace for several minutes, gradually increase the intensity of your pedaling (note that we are not talking about the intensity of the resistance). We recommend that you maintain this activity for another 10 to 15 minutes until you feel comfortable.
It is also important to focus on the main muscles that you are going to work and use during the session. In the case of indoor cycling training, it is best to focus on the quadriceps, as well as the hamstrings and even the back and arm muscles. Keep in mind that everyone is different and has specific needs, so don’t rely on what others are doing, but rather adjust intensities and duration to your physical condition. It is important that you listen to your body and do not push it too hard either in the warm-up or during the subsequent workout.