Your warm-up song sets the tone for your class; your cool-down song closes the chapter on your ride. Both are every bit as important as your energetic and inspirational songs sandwiched between them. Here are some of the guidelines I use when selecting warm-up and cool-down songs and some of the exceptions. Included here are two ICA bucket playlists for warm-ups and cool-downs with over 700 songs to choose from.
Here are three more sample warm-ups for five more profiles. Two of the warm-ups can be used for challenging high-intensity VO2 max or anaerobic capacity training sessions. One is an example of how you might design your warm-up for a loop profile consisting of repeated laps of the same terrain.
Some instructors and students believe that a “warm-up” always means an easy intensity, and is thus a waste of time. But remember that a body that is ill-prepared for the intensity of the workout will not deliver what is asked of it. In part 3 of this series on warming up, you will learn how perceived exertion does not follow heart rate in the early stages of a workout and why you should avoid heart rate cues during the warm-up. I also give you six factors to keep in mind as you design your profiles and deliver your class that may affect how quickly someone warms up.
How important is the warm-up in a 60-minute indoor cycling class? Far more than you might imagine! Too often instructors don’t give the warm-up the attention it deserves. In part 2 of this series, you will learn the physiology behind warming up. I give you an analogy that I think will greatly enhance your understanding of why having “all hands on deck” is so important to functioning properly during your event or training session!
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)