We all know the aim of a warm up is to gradually prepare the body for work. A good one will help prevent injury, increase blood flow to the muscles so they react quicker, and allow for greater range of movement in your joints.

It’s good to have a routine that you know works when it comes to warming up. Especially before a race or big event.

I have three warm-ups I use regularly:


5 minute stepped warm-up

I usually do this one before a Threshold session on the turbo where I’m not going straight into a vO2 Max or harder interval. The 6 second spin-ups help get the legs pinging without introducing the fatigue that a big gear sprint might.

0 – 1min
Start in easiest gear (36×27 for me) and spin the legs > 100rpm

1 – 1:06min 6 seconds
Down 2 gears on the block. Spin the legs as fast as you can, hold form and don’t bounce in the saddle.

1:06min – 2min 54 seconds
Back up 1 gear on the block. Cadence > 100rpm

2min – 2:06min 6 seconds
Down 2 gears on the block. Spin the legs as fast as you can, hold form and don’t bounce in the saddle.

2:06min – 3min 54 seconds
Back up 1 gear on the block. Cadence > 100rpm

3min – 4:06min 6 seconds
Down 2 gears on the block. Spin the legs as fast as you can, hold form and don’t bounce in the saddle.

4:06min – 5min 54 seconds
Into the big ring, easiest gear on the back. Comfortable cadence, ready for the first interval.

5min-warm-up
A quick visual representation of the warm-up. 1 is an easy gear down to 5 which is a more difficult gear but will still only put you somewhere in zone 2.


10 minute sweet-spot warm-up

This is one to do if your first interval has you going really hard straight away. I like to take a bit more time to get warm, and do a 3 minute sweet spot effort to get the legs firing.

0 – 1min
Start in easiest gear (36×27 for me) and spin the legs > 100rpm

1 – 1:06min 6 seconds
Down 2 gears on the block. Spin the legs as fast as you can, hold form and don’t bounce in the saddle.

1:06min – 2min 54 seconds
Back up 1 gear on the block. Cadence > 100rpm

2min – 2:06min 6 seconds
Down 2 gears on the block. Spin the legs as fast as you can, hold form and don’t bounce in the saddle.

2:06min – 3min 54 seconds
Back up 1 gear on the block. Cadence > 100rpm

3min – 3:30min 54 seconds
Back up 1 gear on the block. Cadence > 100rpm

3:30min – 4min 30 seconds
Back up to your easiest gear at the back, onto the big ring at the front. Comfortable cadence.

4min – 7min 3 minutes
Ride sweet-spot at a comfortable cadence.

7min – 9:30min 2.5 minutes
Into the big ring, easiest gear on the back. Comfortable cadence, ready for the first interval.

10min-warm-up
This version briefly works you at the top end of zone 3 / bottom end of zone 4 for a more thorough warm-up.


The British Cycling warm-up

This one I’ll do before a race, hill climb, or time trial. It’s my take on the British Cycling / Team Sky warm-up using power zones for maximum affect. This eases you in to the workout making sure you’ve spent time in every zone before you hit the start line.

0min – 5min 5 minutes
Zone 1. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

5min – 7min 2 minutes
Zone 2. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

7min – 9min 2 minutes
Zone 3. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

9min – 10:30min 1:30 minutes
Zone 4. Smooth pedalling. Increased cadence.

10:30min – 11min 30 seconds
Zone 5. High Cadence. Try to maintain form.

11min – 13min 54 seconds
Zone 1. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

13 – 13:06min 6 seconds
Zone 7. Sprint.

13:06min – 14min 54 seconds
Zone 1. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

14 – 14:06min 6 seconds
Zone 7. Sprint.

14:06min – 15min 54 seconds
Zone 1. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.

15 – 15:06min 6 seconds
Zone 7. Sprint.

15:06min – 18min 2minutes 54seconds
Zone 1. Easy smooth pedalling. Comfortable cadence.