#24 – The 4-Step Winkel Warm-up
The Warm Up for the Older Athlete-- by Glen Winkel
When I first started bike racing 40 years ago, I didn’t know anything about the warmup, stretching, etc. Sometimes, I would literally jump out of my car, pin my numbers on and hit the start line. And then drill it from the start! Nowadays, I am much more methodical in my warmup and I want to share with you what I have learned and tie in the cardiovascular and muscular aspect of it all. But now I have to warmup to keep from getting injured and to wake up my body so I can perform well. So, how do I do it?
First question I ask: Will you be going full speed from the gun? For a time trial, since the clock is running from the final countdown till you cross the finish line, you have to get to your maximum speed and stay there the whole time, so the answer would be “YES”!
What about a Criterium, Road Race, Gran Fondo, Hill Climb, Track race (points race, pursuit, sprints) or gravel ride, cycle cross or mountain bike race? For some of these, you might answer that depends. For example, let’s take the Morgal Bismark RR. “Normally” it starts off pretty leisurely (for masters) and we mosey over to the bottom of the wall, and then all hell breaks loose! Or some criteriums, start off fairly easy as everyone gets oriented and then someone attacks after the 2nd, 3rd or 4th lap into the race. Or sometimes, the race goes from the gun, so in that case you better be ready to go! The mountain bike races I have done, the start is a full on sprint till the single track and then it settles down somewhat. Often, you will make the decision before hand and you’ll get it wrong… therefore if doing well in an event is important to you, it would be prudent to be fully prepared to go hard at the start. With that concept in mind, let’s get you ready to go, so no matter how the race starts from the gun, whether it starts off leisurely or like a field sprint you will be ready.
Now the next question you must be able to answer is: What type of riding will I be doing in this race? Steady state Time Trial effort, hill climb, road race with hills, criterium with large bursts of power plus lots of short intervals. Once you have answered this question, you now know what type of riding you are preparing for.
Let me describe what I do and why. You may have your own warmup method that works great for you and you may want to stick to that. Or you might want to try out my method instead of what you are accustomed to or you might want to pick and choose those aspects to add to what you are already doing. Each cyclist has their own tried and true method of warmup. My hope is that you learn another method of warming up and if your results are not what you want them to be, perhaps due to a poor warmup, then try to incorporate some of these suggestions and see if it makes a difference. If you find that it’s beneficial, then make it a part of your regular program.
TimingI now have a rule of thumb about when I arrive at races. I like to have a minimum of 1.5 hours to get warmed up. Which means that I have to arrive at the race venue 2 hours before my race starts to get my race number, find the porta-potties, get the bike ready, put my gear on and start my warmup. This wasn’t true years ago when I was younger, but now it’s a general rule. You may find this a bit extreme, but then perhaps you are not over age 65 either, so plan your warm up time accordingly.
So assuming I have 1.5 hours to warmup. There are 6 phases to my warmup: These are 1) general warmup, 2) stretching 3) warmup ramp, 4) cardiovascular 5) muscles 6) Final warmup
General warmup (1)Basically, I get on my trainer and I just turn the pedals. You might see me in my sneakers (I often don’t wear my cycling shoes during this phase). This is because I don’t need them. For this phase, I am only getting the blood starting to flow, loosening up the legs from the drive, warming up the muscl