Team SKY Warm-up

Team SKY Warm-up


Team SKY Warm-up


By Simon Whiten


Adopting the Team SKY Warm-up may see you performing better this season


There are a number of scenarios where warming-up properly is essential, whether you are racing or training, so why not learn from the best?


Road-circuit – aka criterium or crit – racing, cyclocross, mountain bike races, track racing, and intense training sessions, all have one thing in common; they require a good warm-up. The efforts involved, whilst relatively short are very intense from the off, preventing a warm-up during the event. So whilst they are convenient time wise, being ready for the hard effort to come is very important; a proper warm-up will have you ready to perform and not just ride round.


With more and more busy riders discovering the benefits of the turbo for hard interval sessions at any time of day, a good warm-up is also highly important. Riders tend to concentrate their thoughts on the session they are about to undertake and rarely give much thought to the warm-up, even though warming-up properly may help to maiximise the effectiveness of their workout.


SKY Warm up


It used to be that an easy spinning, 10-minute warm-up sufficed but that is no longer considered to be enough, so here’s how the best do it. You may have seen this warm-up protocol from British Cycling and Team SKY before in the context of time trials, but it is well worth using for any intense workouts and shorter races. It transforms your warm-up from being a ‘bit of a spin’ to a proper integral part of your training regime or race preparation.


Being properly set-up for the efforts you are about to undertake will improve your ability to perform them, reduce the chances of injury and allow you to train harder. Just remember that you are warming up, so wear a few layers that you can easily remove as you warm-up. Knees are particularly vulnerable, whether outside or just sat in front of your turbo training cooling fan, so knee warmers won’t do you any harm; you can easily take them off.


This is the Standard Team SKY Warm-Up:


5 min light spinning
8 min progressive to Zone 5 – gradually increase the effort until reach maximum power output without sprinting
2 min easy – to recover from the above
2 min to include 3 x 6 second sprints to fully prime all the musculature involved in cycling
3 mins easy – to recover from the above before the race start


Note that this is identical to the British Cycling warm-up detailed below:


Time / Cadence / Instruction / Focus

5 Minutes90Smooth Pedalling
2 Minutes95Smooth Pedalling
2 Minutes100Smooth Pedalling
2 Minutes105Smooth Pedalling
1 Minute 30 Seconds110Smooth Pedalling
30 Seconds120-130Maintain Form
2 Minute90Relax and Recover
6 Seconds150+Max Rev Out
1 Minute90Smooth Pedalling
6 Seconds150+Max Rev Out
1 Minute90Smooth Pedalling
6 Seconds150+Max Rev Out
2 Minutes 42 Seconds90Smooth Pedalling


Since first publishing this article on we have adapted the SKY warm-up to the following, basically so it fits into a more convenient 15 minutes (we don’t have as much time as the pros after all):
5 mins easy spinning
4 mins increasing effort going up through the gears
1 min easy to recover from the above
3 mins easy but with 3 x 6 secs high cadence sprints
2 mins easy spinning
We’ve no scientific evidence but anecdotally we have definitely noticed an improvement in our workouts having implemented this warm-up. Give it a try and let us know how you get on. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting video with SKY’s Shaun Stephens talking about the warm-up in context of time trials.



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Team SKY


British Cycling


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