The Art of the Warm-Up, Part 2: What is Happening Physiologically?

The Art of Warming Up

Have you ever had a student in your class who had no patience for warming up? You’ve barely begun and they are pushing hard, audibly huffing and puffing in the first 5 minutes. Or, perhaps you have some cycling buddies you ride with who burst out of the starting gate without a warm-up, leaving you either in the dust or pushing harder than you’d like to in the first few miles. Or maybe it’s that you’re the one who doesn’t see the value in a good warm-up, especially if you only have a 45-minute class. Why waste 5–10 minutes going easy to moderate when you want your students to remember how hard you kicked their butts?

One of the many misconceptions about warming up is that you should only ride or work at an “easy” intensity during a warm-up. I’ll address that in a moment with an analogy that will hopefully be a lightbulb moment for you. But first, let’s look at what is happening in the body as you warm up.


  1. Great series, Jennifer! Sharing with my classes as a special “back to school” series of profiles. Love this knowledge. Thanks for making me look good. 🙂 You rock!

  2. Love this series! I’d also love to read an article on the physiological benefits of cool downs.

  3. This is great! I completely agree with Melinda’s comment above & hope you will do a series on cool down & stretch. As always, thanks for great content!

  4. I believe warming up and cooling down are the least understood, and therefore the least emphasized, in most indoor cycling classes. This is a great series and I hope will be read and incorporated by instructors!

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