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Is Warming Up for Cycling Worth It?

8 Sep 2020
Randall Cooper
Warming up for sport is under the microscope at the moment, and various researchers have published papers in recent times on whether the warm up is effective or not. Another study just published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance adds to the body of evidence.

The researchers from Spain looked at whether warming up provides any improvement to endurance cyclists’ performance in a 20-minute time trial event. Using 15 male cyclists of equal endurance capacity, the study had the athletes conduct a 20-minute cycling time trial in three randomised groups: one after no warm-up, the other after a ‘standard’ warm up (10 minutes at 60% of VO2peak), and the third after a more intense warm-up (5 minutes at 60% of VO2peak + three 10 second all-out sprints).

Researchers then compared the differences in the cyclists’ time trial results as well as measuring a range of other metrics, such as the cyclists’ perceived exertion, physiological responses and heart-rate variability. 

The results indicated that while the cyclists who engaged in warm-ups before their time trial enjoyed some benefits, such as improved jumping ability and decreased heart-rate variability, as well as higher initial power output for those who conducted high-intensity sprints, no meaningful difference could be observed between any of the groups in terms of their overall time-trial or their perceptual or physiological responses.

Essentially, the study found that the cyclists who warmed up, even strenuously, fared no better in the time trial than those who didn’t warm up at all.

I think this study needs to be interpreted with caution as it was a laboratory test with cyclists on an ergo – not really a ‘real world’ scenario, however interesting all the same.

Link to the full paper: Click Here.

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