Most athletes realize that to achieve peak performance and prevent injury, a good warm-up is a must. The problem is, most cyclists don't warm up correctly. It takes a lot of time, effort and patience, which can be hard to accomplish before a training ride or race.
So, if you aren't doing your warm-up properly, is it worth expending the energy? A proper warm-up can take a solid hour to complete. This includes 20 minutes of work in zone 1 and 2, a half dozen leg openers and a 10-minute cool down. If you're doing less than this, your time may be better spent not doing a traditional warm-up.
In fact, there are alternative ways of warming up all together that might be a better option for those cyclists who aren't doing a complete warm-up routine. Use these eight alternatives to get your muscles warm and your body ready to go in the moments before a race without jumping on the bike.
The Hot Shower
A hot shower before a ride or a race has many benefits. For one, ridding your skin of bacteria before you workout can help to prevent razor bumps and saddle sores. It will also open up your airways and get your blood circulating, two criteria that any good warm-up should accomplish.
The heat generated can also be a good way to relax tense muscles. Try it before a long weekend ride to see if it works for you.
More: 4 Bike Warm-Up Sets
After your hot shower, throw on a pair of knee warmers. This will help to keep your legs warm by trapping heat and moisture in your muscles. If you plan to eat breakfast or do other tasks before your ride, throw on a pair of sweats as well.
You won't need to wear them on your ride—the layers of clothing are simply to trap heat and keep your body temperature high.
On race days, self-massage is a must before getting on the bike. Before a training ride, this can be done after the hot shower as well.
A warm-up lotion can be used in conjunction with the self-massage too for added benefit. There are plenty of options on the market, but simple almond oil works just as well. It's inexpensive and doesn't' leave you feeling sticky or oily. Remember to use long strokes, moving away from the heart. Don't over do it.
More: Warm-Up or Die