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Coaches Blog

A Great Bike Warm Up

BLUF: You need to warm up before you cycle! Expand your warm-up OFF the bike BEFORE you start riding!

A Bit of Anatomy:

There are a lot of muscles used in cycling. The major ones include the glute max, hamstring, quadricep, calf, and shin. Other muscles used in cycling include the latissimus dorsi (‘lats’), pectorals, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and abdominals. I also contend that your hand and foot muscles do some work while you’re cycling.

A Coach’s Perspective:

You’ll have a more successful bike ride if you take the time to do some warming up off the bike. It doesn’t need to be more than 10 minutes. Here are some exercises that will prepare your body to ride!

Taking your time, I recommend 3 sets of 5 reps each, working through the list as a circuit. For the standing hip flexor, I recommend holding for about 30 seconds rather than reps. Click on the exercise to see an example!

Standing Cat-Cow is a great way to start warming up your abdominals, hamstrings, quads, back, and neck. You’ll also be working on your breathing and lung and rib expansion.

Spinal roll-downs start to loosen the entire posterior chain. This exercise is performed slowly and focuses on each spinal segment. Most athletes have very tight muscles; this will start loosening them up before your ride.

Do these from a standing position. Squeeze your shoulders back and open slowly. Take your time doing this stretch.

This looks similar to a forward half-lunge, where you’re bending your knees to about 45 degrees. If you need to increase the stretch, raise the arm that corresponds to the leg that is back.

This stretch mobilizes ankles, hips, legs, and mid-back. You can also do this stretch with the back knee on the ground.

Squats wake up the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. They improve posture and balance. I strongly recommend stopping at 90 degrees or less - we’re just warming up!

Heel raises target the calves (soleus and gastrocnemius). Make sure you’re standing up tall and that you keep all five toes firmly pressed into the ground.

Wrist Rolls/Finger Wiggles


Ankle Rolls and Toe Raises

The ankle rolls are self-explanatory. To do the toe raises, keep your four smaller toes on the ground and raise your big toe off the ground. Then, put your big toe on the ground and lift the smaller four toes off the ground.

Happy training!


Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at



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