Any unicycling-specific warm-up exercises?

My quadriceps is tightening very quickly, after about 30 minutes or so. I am thinking that maybe there are some warm-up exercises that can help increase the time I have before my quadriceps start tightening up. Do any of you experience any benefit from warm-up exercises, particularly for thigh muscles? If so, can you describe the exercises you do and their benefits?

Funny you mention this because I have recently added stretching and strengthening on rainy days. I am focusing on loosening up my ability to twist and on leg strength to be able to ride bigger/longer hills.

FYI In my life i have been a martial artist, gymnast, and tri-athelete and dated a professional ballerina. Between these I have learned about a zillion stretches. But describing stretches in words is not helpful. Luckily we have the web.

Start with a google search for ‘cyclist stretches’ here is one to get started: http://www.thestretchinghandbook.com/archives/stretches-cycling.php#stretches

A google search on:
‘Quadriceps’ or ‘Quad’ stretch - http://www.exrx.net/Stretches/Quadriceps/Standing.html
‘Hip flexors’ stretch - http://www.abc-of-fitness.com/leg-stretch/hip-flexor-stretch.asp

These two are probably the two most important for stretching the front of the leg which gets overdeveloped in Uni/cycling

To avoid leg muscle imbalance and keep a strong healthy back look up stretches for these as well:

‘Hamstring’ stretch
‘Illio-tibial’ stretch
‘Piriformis’ stretch.

If your lower back gets sore like mine does add:
‘Sacroiliac’ stretches

If you add the word ‘standing’ to the search you will find stretches you can do before riding without sitting on the ground.

Also you can look up ‘standing yoga stretches’ for some other general warm up stretches you can do before and after riding without sitting on the ground

Twisting is another stretch that will help riding the Uni. Here is the king of twisting stretches: http://www.sissel-online.com/exercise/yoga_supine_spinal_twist.php

You do these searches and you will have plenty of stretches to choose from and find which ones work for you.

cross-training your legs will also help you ride longer. I do these on rainy days

Walking up steep hills - this will develop both your quads and hamstrings and Glutes as well as help stretch out your calf muscles which tighten up from riding Uni.

Wall Sits - http://exercise.about.com/od/exerciseworkouts/ss/howtosquat_8.htm - Wall sits will kick your butt and make your legs burn but they will make you be able to ride longer. Every sport from skiing to martial arts uses wall sits to build strength/endurance of the thigh muscles. Shoot for 30 seconds to start. When you can do three sets of 30 seconds, then go to 45 seconds. And so on. If you can get to 3 sets of 3 minutes you will have legs of steel!

Lunges - http://www.myfit.ca/exercisedatabase/viewanexercise.asp?exercise=Lunges&table=exercises&ID=9 These build the thighs and help stretch the thighs at the same time if you do them with a straight back leg.

I have a bad back and knees so I stay away from Squats but doing squats, especially single leg squats will make your legs very strong.

This should keep you busy for awhile and will make you a stronger and less injury prone rider.

One last thing I will add is stop riding before your legs are really burning, take a couple of minutes rest, shake your legs out and then ride some more. Do this 3-4 times to ride for an hour instead of riding for 1/2 hr till your thighs are on fire. Soon you will find yourself riding longer with less leg pain.

Thank you for this long list of helpful resources.

I trust this post is relevant and does not highjack the thread. Had intended to start a new thread but thought it would fit here as it basically extends on the same general topic of excercising for unicycling.

I am mindful of my fitness level since, for me, unicycling is a relatively physically demanding and stressful achievement. I think keeping track of diet and other workouts helps me to improve my unicycling abilities. I wondered whether other dudes followed fitness regimes in support of their unicycling.

I use this to help me www.vidaone.com/vodf_win.htm and the image shows a screen dump from my programme. At my age I kind of have to consider extra exercise to help me unicycle and prevent injury. I guess enough has been said about diet on these forums albeit to add that I link diet with an exercise regime and they work together.

What do other people do to keep up their levels of fitness? Do people think that unicycling is enough exercise in itself to improve? Is there such a thing as a ‘leisurely’ unicyclist - someone who’s unicycling activities work within some sort of ‘comfort-zone’? If you aspire to achieve more in unicycling do you support this with an exercise and/or diet programme?

About one day a week, i wear a wrist GPS and do what I call a fitness ride for time/distance. I’m up to about 30-45 minutes. I have also added some hill training every few days. I have a short steep hill and a long gradual hill in front of and next to my house. I just made the short steep one for the first time the other day. On another one of my rides is a shorter hill and I do laps on that hill. I can do 5 laps before I start UPD somewhere on the hill.

That’s about it for ‘training’ for me. Mostly I just ride for fun, work on new skills (not as often as I should) and fitness is just an added but important benefit.

As for food, I eat real brown rice an vegetable and a black bean burrito for both meals every other day. I drink plenty of dark berry juices to keep my prostate/adrenal glands healthy and I try to eat a wide variety of foods/fruits. But I also eat burgers and other less good foods like that. I drink a few different herb teas and use a seaweed/kelp seasoning as a condiment. I also have a single cup of coffee to get going in the morning.

I keep no record of my training, except for what I have mentioned.