Using an exercise bike is a great way to achieve a higher level of physical fitness. Before you start your workout routine, however, it is essential to complete warm up exercises in order to get your body prepared. While there are several exercises that you can do to help with the warm up routine, here are five of the best warm up exercises to consider.
After riding for a period of time, your hips can become really tight. To help prevent this, include leg swings as part of your warm up routine. Not only will it help to prevent tightness, but leg swings also help to generally increase hip-flexor mobility.
To do leg swings, stand with your bike to one side as you hold the seat for stability. Next, swing your outside leg forward and backward, making sure to keep it straight and extended the length of the swing with each repetition. Repeat this process 10 times before turning to face your bike and swinging your leg side to side. Be sure to stretch your outer hip, thigh muscles and groin muscles. Repeat this ten times before changing sides and working the other leg.
Cycling can be tough on the calves, but doing a heel-toe walk can help warm up your calves while also increasing ankle flexibility. To do a heel-toe walk, step forward and land on the heel of your right foot. Remain on your heel and briefly lower your torso so it is over your right leg. Next, raise your torso back up and transfer your weight to your right foot before rolling from the heel to the ball of your foot. Then, rise up on the ball of your foot as high as you can before lowering down and taking a step forward with your left leg and landing on your heel. Continue this walk for 30 to 60 seconds.
Many people fail to realize that the shoulders are impacted when riding a bike. To loosen them up, engage in a shoulder reach before riding. To complete a shoulder reach, reach your arms over your head and shrug them up and down while standing tall. Your biceps should be next to your ears while your fingertips reach for the sky.
Since the glutes are the powerhouse when riding, they need to remain flexible. Similarly, the back can become quite stiff from hunching over while riding, which means the muscles around the spine need to be stretched and warmed. To do this, do a cat-cow stretch for 30 to 60 seconds by first getting on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists and your knees underneath your hips. Slowly arch your back while inhaling, allowing your belly to drop toward the floor and your hips and shoulders to rise up. Reverse this position while exhaling, tucking in your pelvis and rounding your spine.
The chest muscles can become tight from hunching over handlebars while riding. Dynamic chest stretches can help prepare this part of the body while also targeting the legs and back. To complete this stretch, stand facing the side of your bike with your feet hip-distance apart. Grab the top tube, seat or handlebars before leaning forward at your waist in such a way that your back is parallel to the ground. Press your chest down toward the ground, hold for three seconds and then stand up tall before assuming the position again for five to 10 repetitions.