I used to race mountain bikes years ago, but if I knew then what I know now about proper warm-ups I would have been much better prepared and probably would have performed better! This article is part 1 of a 6-part series on effective warm-ups for cycling classes. The purpose of this first article is to get you to pose the question to yourself, “Are you warming up properly in your classes? What can you be doing better?” (Originally posted in 2016, this series has been updated with new information and tips)
A new instructor posed this excellent question, and because it depends on so many caveats, I am creating a series out of this topic. Part 1 provides the most basic, short-term way to assess how hard or easy your class is for your riders. But instructors, get ready to do a little self-analysis—I’ve got some homework for you. This series may very well pave the path to tremendous personal growth!
Using a power to weight ratio is an easy and effective way to determine the amount of watts to target during various efforts. It is a very simple approach that is easy for instructors to use in classes where bikes with power meters are available. With any simple approach, there will be factors to consider for those who desire to be the exception.
One of the gold standards of power is Functional Threshold Power (FTP): the maximum average power one can sustain, with or without puking, for 60 minutes. Sounds fun! If that is more excitement than you can handle in a single sitting, there are other methods or field tests that one can enjoy to determine FTP. However, I recommend first determining whether FTP is practical or applicable for your indoor cycling classes.