Extending Warm-Up vs. Cooldown?

Is there a physiological/training effect difference in extending the warm-up vs the cooldown? If I’m feeling like I can do a little extra, I’ll generally extend my cooldown by 10-15 minutes and increase the intensity so that it’s about the same or lower than that first warm up period at the start of the workout. I was thinking, though, that if I know I’ve got the time and energy for the extra 10-15 minutes, would there be any benefit/difference in extending the warm-up instead?

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To me it’s more dependent on fatigue and the workout ahead. I’ve had to extend the warm up by five minutes for my last two VO2 sessions and that’s been just extra time at ~50% or whatever. If I extend the cooldown it’s for endurance and I’m riding somewhere around ~70%.

YMMV of course, but that’s how I approach it.

One final thought is that (currently) the AT system doesn’t recognise extended warm up or cooldown time as far as I’m aware. So if you’re doing any endurance work for conditioning, and have any interest in feeding the system for if/when you use AT, then it might be worth jumping into a second endurance workout.

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Some of the workouts skimp on the warmup to fit within a certain timeframe (60,75,90 min) and there isn’t a way to fit the workout in without the warmup being 5 min or less. Those workouts I like to extend the warmup so I’m not needing to hit 95% after my legs have only been moving 4 minutes.

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I’m a slow warmer upper: my normal warmup is about 20 minutes. Without this a blow workouts pretty frequently

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Yeah, I often extend the warm up, pedaling very, very easily for the first 5 min or so, before starting the “proper” TR warm up.

Like @AlphaDogCycling, it takes me a while to get going (i.e., for my aerobic system to fire up).

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I used to always extend the cooldown, but then I realized I’m riding at 4:45AM and don’t have time to eat a proper meal, if I extend the warm up, I give the gels and/or mix a chance to get into the blood stream if I extend the warm up. I’ll usually add 10 minutes to the warm up for hard efforts and then 20 minutes to the cool down for an hour workout.

Isnt there a difference in glycogen levels? When you do a longer cool down at %70ftp you are operating with low glycogen levels which will give a better adaptation than a longer warm up. So I would choose a longer cool down.

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If you add 15 minutes x 4 per week to your workouts, that’s 52 extra hours of endurance training every year. That’s a decent amount of extra volume if you are a low volume rider.

It’s not going to make you a monster on the group ride but it will give you a little extra endurance.

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Also if those 15min are at the end of the session then you are oxidizing more fat because you are in a glycogen depleted state.

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I’ve found a proper length warm up means I hit VO2 max intervals far more consistently than after a short one. My engine doesn’t like running cold for hard efforts. The cool down I just see as getting my HR back down to normal levels and giving my legs time to clear out any byproducts of the high intensity. I’ve generally settled having them both at 15 mins but if I had to shorten one it would be the cool down.

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I think a proper length war up is what people often need, me included. I usually just want to get a work out done and don’t extend them, perhaps I should though. I have extended cool downs on shorter workouts when I have time but the standard workouts are so long though I don’t do it often.

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Just been reading on old post on the Humon muscle oxygen sensor. From that they reckon the leg muscles need about 25 mins warm up before they maximise their oxygen take up capabilities

One of my lab tests indicated it took my aerobic system about 40min to get going… :angry:

I’d never want to warm up more than I need. So long as my spin is up to speed and light enough, I’m good to go. I wouldn’t want to deplete energy that could be used for the work ahead.

Now cooling down with endurance, to me, has a huge benefit. Keeping tired legs spinning is a skill all to itself and worth the extra effort to do it when I can. If I was looking at working on doing hard work on tired legs, I’d do a whole separate endurance workout, bail before it cools down, and jump right into the big workout of the day. I wouldn’t try to turn the warm up into something it’s not, but that’s me.

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I don’t think I have ever extended the warm-up, and wouldn’t see why I should — unless I felt that the warm-up was too short (which was never the case). But I sometimes feel the cooldown is too short and/or I just want to spend a few extra minutes spinning my legs. Usually I am limited by time, so just from a practical perspective, it is better to do my homework first and then do extracredit as I see fit.

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