It has long been known that warm-up before physical exercise can improve your performance significantly.
In many of my training programs, I recommend you to perform an incremental warm-up before interval training starts.
Physiological benefits of warm-up
- Metabolic processes are temperature-dependent, thus many enzymes perform better at higher temperatures.
- Oxygen transport from blood to tissue is more rapid.
- Faster transmissions of nerve impulses.
The bottom line is that your body is better prepared for strenuous exercise after proper warm-up.
In my opinion, it’s an easy decision whether you should perform a warm-up or not before important events. For example, suppose you want to deliver the best performance in cycling races, e.g. time trials, then you should learn how to warm up. The best place to figure out is the best warm-up protocol for you is when you perform difficult intervals.
Use the Trial and Error principle for Warm-Ups
It might sound a bit pragmatic, but the best way to make a personal warm-up protocol is to use the principle of trial and error. If you do challenging, intensive intervals sessions, it’s almost perfect test material to see how your warm-up protocol works. Yes, some circumstances are different for races. Since I expect you to perform regular interval training at least twice per week, there should be lots of chances to try different setups… 😉
Basic principles of warm-up before endurance events
- Start at low workloads. If you begin at a high workload, you spend too much anaerobic power too early due to oxygen dept. It’s demotivating and might decrease your performance.
- Make small increments in workload. When you’ve started your warm-up your oxygen consumption will go up. If you make small steps in workload during the warm-up, you will to a large degree avoid oxygen dept. That will prepare your body for the most important part of your training session: The interval training.
Example: Quick, effective warm-up before interval training (~15min)
1. Begin easy pedalling, ~100Watts.
2. Every 2min, increase workload ~35-50Watts depending on fitness level.
3. Take a short break when you hit the lower limit of your heart rate target zone.
4. Easy pedalling 3 to 5 minutes (if you are in a hurry, please skip this step)
5. Begin your interval training
Enough theory. Take action!