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Quench'd: Warm Ups and Cool Downs for Cyclists

June 15th, 2024 | by Kate Kuzminski

Kate Kuzminski is a certified strength and mobility coach living in Burlington, VT, whose main goal is to keep athletes pushing and adventuring hard. Her perfect summer day includes either a gravel ride or hike, followed by a trip to a refreshing swimming hole, and by a burger from a local VT eatery, shoutout to the Rez in Waterbury. Can’t get much better than that!

As a kid, I played a bunch of different sports, such as softball, track, swimming, basketball and tennis. Once I got to high school though, my main focus was to play basketball and make the Varsity team. I succeeded, but quickly realized I wasn’t strong enough to go against the other post players and my knee was hurting all the time.

Fast forward to college and I started lifting weights a little more and my pain started to subside a bit. And now, fast forward to outdoorsy loving adventure Kate who just loves to snowboard all winter long and I’ve never felt better. I’ve had a few pretty gnarly falls where my knee has contorted all sorts of ways, I’ve fallen hard on my shoulders and wrists and yet, knock on wood, I was okay. I’m not here to say that my strength and mobility program has made me invincible, but I 100% contribute my “injury threshold” to be higher because of the type of training I do outside of my hobbies. Strength and mobility training go hand-in-hand to help mitigate injuries and make your body more resilient to whatever kinds of crazy activities you decide to throw at it.

Kate Kuzminski is a certified strength and mobility coach living in Burlington, VT, whose main goal is to keep athletes pushing and adventuring hard. Her perfect summer day includes either a gravel ride or hike, followed by a trip to a refreshing swimming hole, and by a burger from a local VT eatery, shoutout to the Rez in Waterbury. Can’t get much better than that!

As a kid, I played a bunch of different sports, such as softball, track, swimming, basketball and tennis. Once I got to high school though, my main focus was to play basketball and make the Varsity team. I succeeded, but quickly realized I wasn’t strong enough to go against the other post players and my knee was hurting all the time.

Fast forward to college and I started lifting weights a little more and my pain started to subside a bit. And now, fast forward to outdoorsy loving adventure Kate who just loves to snowboard all winter long and I’ve never felt better. I’ve had a few pretty gnarly falls where my knee has contorted all sorts of ways, I’ve fallen hard on my shoulders and wrists and yet, knock on wood, I was okay. I’m not here to say that my strength and mobility program has made me invincible, but I 100% contribute my “injury threshold” to be higher because of the type of training I do outside of my hobbies. Strength and mobility training go hand-in-hand to help mitigate injuries and make your body more resilient to whatever kinds of crazy activities you decide to throw at it.

I’ve now entered my gravel biking era and isn’t it just the best? Our bikes can take us on some pretty breathtaking adventures, whether it be a chill, little class IV gravel road in my backyard of Waitsfield, VT, or a winding bend overlooking the Swiss Alps (living vicariously through my friends with this one) or just as simple as a commute to your local co-op because you can’t be bothered to drive. Having the freedom and ability to cycle is truly a gift. 

And with this gift, comes the great responsibility of caring for our bodies. If we want to keep adventuring well into our 80s and 90s, we must recognize the importance of joint, muscle, tendon and ligament health. Yes, yes, I know. This is the “boring” stuff that sometimes gets pushed aside to make room for our other, more fun hobbies. BUT if longevity in our sport(s) is what we’re after, now’s the time to start incorporating a more regular strength and mobility routine.

Raise your hand if your warm-up and cool-down involves more than just going slower for the first and last couple of miles of your ride. Hmmm. It’s okay. I’m guilty of it too. But oh man, do my rides actually feel so much better when I do prep my muscles and joints beforehand.

I’ve now entered my gravel biking era and isn’t it just the best? Our bikes can take us on some pretty breathtaking adventures, whether it be a chill, little class IV gravel road in my backyard of Waitsfield, VT, or a winding bend overlooking the Swiss Alps (living vicariously through my friends with this one) or just as simple as a commute to your local co-op because you can’t be bothered to drive. Having the freedom and ability to cycle is truly a gift. 

And with this gift, comes the great responsibility of caring for our bodies. If we want to keep adventuring well into our 80s and 90s, we must recognize the importance of joint, muscle, tendon and ligament health. Yes, yes, I know. This is the “boring” stuff that sometimes gets pushed aside to make room for our other, more fun hobbies. BUT if longevity in our sport(s) is what we’re after, now’s the time to start incorporating a more regular strength and mobility routine.

Raise your hand if your warm-up and cool-down involves more than just going slower for the first and last couple of miles of your ride. Hmmm. It’s okay. I’m guilty of it too. But oh man, do my rides actually feel so much better when I do prep my muscles and joints beforehand.

Warm-Up Checklist:

  • Mobilize
  • Dynamic 
  • Tendon-loading


Spend 5-10 minutes (8ish minutes is a nice, sweet spot) on hitting the below movements. Essentially, you're preparing your body for the workout you're about to perform. You want to make sure your joints are moving well throughout their proper ranges of motion (mobilize) then you want to prep your body with more compound and dynamic movements (think high knees, butt kicks, hamstring touches, glute bridges, etc.) (dynamic) and then lastly preparing your tendons and ligaments to accept the load of your weight (lots of quick hops, single and double, jumps, A skips, etc) (tendon-loading).

Remember, keep it moving and keep it dynamic. Quick, strong, powerful movements are going to be your best friends here. Your goal is to warm your body up and mimic the movements you’ll be doing when you cycle, paying attention to the muscles and joints that will be absorbing the most load. 

Warm-Up Checklist:

  • Mobilize
  • Dynamic 
  • Tendon-loading


Spend 5-10 minutes (8ish minutes is a nice, sweet spot) on hitting the below movements. Essentially, you're preparing your body for the workout you're about to perform. You want to make sure your joints are moving well throughout their proper ranges of motion (mobilize) then you want to prep your body with more compound and dynamic movements (think high knees, butt kicks, hamstring touches, glute bridges, etc.) (dynamic) and then lastly preparing your tendons and ligaments to accept the load of your weight (lots of quick hops, single and double, jumps, A skips, etc) (tendon-loading).

Remember, keep it moving and keep it dynamic. Quick, strong, powerful movements are going to be your best friends here. Your goal is to warm your body up and mimic the movements you’ll be doing when you cycle, paying attention to the muscles and joints that will be absorbing the most load. 

Cool-Down Routine: 

Your cool-down is the exact opposite. It's bringing your heart rate and nervous system back down, it's getting you into a calmer physiological state while also stretching out the muscles you just worked.

Walking does wonders for my sore muscles and I highly recommend walking it out post hardcore exercise bout. But also, cooldown stretches are a game changer as well. A walking + stretching combo is ideal but do what you can!

Cool-Down Routine: 

Your cool-down is the exact opposite. It's bringing your heart rate and nervous system back down, it's getting you into a calmer physiological state while also stretching out the muscles you just worked.

Walking does wonders for my sore muscles and I highly recommend walking it out post hardcore exercise bout. But also, cooldown stretches are a game changer as well. A walking + stretching combo is ideal but do what you can!

With a basic explanation of these concepts, much nuance can get lost in the shuffle. However, if you are able to at least focus on the movements linked above, you'll be far better off than without them. Sure, we all have our areas that we might need to focus on a little more (for me, it's mobility in my left foot) that we should be including in our specific warm-ups and cool-downs but this is at least a great place to start!

GO DO YOUR WARM-UPS MY FRIENDS AND KEEP ADVENTURING HARD! 

Get in touch with Kate: kate@emerge802.com or IG: @emerge802

With a basic explanation of these concepts, much nuance can get lost in the shuffle. However, if you are able to at least focus on the movements linked above, you'll be far better off than without them. Sure, we all have our areas that we might need to focus on a little more (for me, it's mobility in my left foot) that we should be including in our specific warm-ups and cool-downs but this is at least a great place to start!

GO DO YOUR WARM-UPS MY FRIENDS AND KEEP ADVENTURING HARD! 

Get in touch with Kate: kate@emerge802.com or IG: @emerge802

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