muni: warming up to the first big climb of the day?

How do you do it? How do you warm up so that you can make it up the first big climb?

The local trail begins with 400 feet elevation gain over 3/4 of a mile, and then continues uphill for a ways at a lower grade. I’ve been up it twice in the past few days and a few times before that. I’ve never made it in one shot, but it seems that I can climb the worst parts of it much more easily after I’ve already been riding for an hour or so. I’m not sure if this is due to being warmed up or loosened up (or both).

I’ve ridden this trail many times in one shot on my single speed mountain bike, and I just warmed up as I went. But, either I’m getting old, or warming up gradually just doesn’t seem to work as well on the muni.

Any suggestions? Should I do jumping jacks in the parking lot?

Warm ups are for wimps. Real muni rides start immediately with the climb. My favorite ride starts with an 1100 vertical foot climb starting right at the parking lot. No warm up. Get on the unicycle and go.

As a matter of fact, I did that ride today. The climb is the warm up. I end up feeling well warmed up by the time I reach the top.

I do stretch before starting the ride. But no real warm up.

Like John says, often the climb is the warm-up. Just take it a bit easier and don’t worry too much about not clearing in it one go.


I’ve never bothered much with warm-ups and stretching, I just ride… perhaps when I get older I’ll wish I had. When I was time-trialling I used to “warm up” by riding to the start, while most people drove there then jogged/stretched/whatever before the race. I’m a bit of a speed freak (can’t get the time-triallist out of my brain), so I tend to ride everywhere flat out (whether I’m on a bike or a unicycle). I don’t think it’s done me any harm, although as I said before, we’ll see as I get a bit older, but I’d say just ride as fast as you feel comfortable - if it hurts, back off a bit.


i’ve noticed climbs that are easier an hour into the ride than immediately at the beginning.

like the others mention, i just use that hill as my warm up, i’m all set to go by the time I ride/walk to the top of it.

could i do it all in one shot if i rearranged my route and did that hill an hour into the ride? sure. do I bother? nope

I actually find the opposite is true, that I do better on the trickier technical downhill stuff once I’m a little warmed up. I’m always a little tight and nervous on the first couple of drops; once I’ve hit a few, I’m looser and able to go for it more.

Uphill, no problem.

That’s what we used to call the Brett Bymaster warmup. Get uni out of car, head up the hill. By the time you get to the top you should be warmed up! :slight_smile:

None of us are exercise physiologists, but one thing I have learned over the years, and had reinforced by nearly everything I’ve read on the subject, is to not stretch cold muscles. Stretches are much more effective (and less dangerous) when done after warming up. So do it at the top of the hill!

Obviously heading straight up a major hill is not the best way to get warmed up, but it depends on the logistics of your ride. If the trail starts with a hill you may not have a choice.

Back when I actively “trained” for unicycle racing, I would start by riding the mile or so to the local track, which would get me warmed up. On arrival, I’d stop and do a bunch of stretches, then time myself doing four laps as fast as I could. Then I’d do a number of cool-down laps, without stopping. One regular, one backwards, one with the right foot, one with the left foot, then a partial lap of wheel walking. Then I’d practice all the short races. That was a good workout for track racing back in the day…

Speaking as someone who’s injured their kness before (cycling) what I’ve been told is that warming up before riding just means that you’re performance will be better from the start, but it isn’t necessarily the best thing for preventing injuries. Seems to tally with what people are saying.
What’s really important is to warm down at the end, that’s what stops you getting injured apparently.

Believe me, I like that idea–right now, but not when I’m out of breath and have to stop to let the mountain bikers pass me.

I should mention that I’m pretty sure I can make it in one shot with my 24" muni. The 29" muni is what’s giving me problems. I guess I’ll just keep trying without much warmup. Maybe it’ll get better.

Easy - ride up the hill to get warmed up, then ride back down the way you came. You can now start the first climb fully warmed up.

You are warming up from the time you get out of bed

I found that the activity of riding unicycle is a warm up. Low impact,low gearing etc. The sport doesn’t envolve kicking your leg over your head or some kind of unusual body movements; Like dancing or kick boxing.

I got into yoga 30 years ago to be more flexible in Freestyle Frisbee. This sport has your body doing more things than a game of twister. I still got lots of pulled muscles. When riding muni I never pull anything --except on UPDs!!!

It’s good to have some flexibility when wiping out. It’s also not good to put a horse away wet without a brushing after a good ride. Muscles build up alot of waste and trama after any good ride, so it’s probaly more important after.

99% of all people could use more stretching and warms ups. There is only so much time in the day. Where are your priorities?

I would like massages before and after a ride. Now that would be a great warm up… and down.:smiley:

I ww to warm up. That helps alot because it gets your entire body moving.

Better Balance - Warm up has no Added Value

After you ride for an hour you have a sharper sense of ballance than at the beginning. Warm up is useles for Unicycling. Just think of channeling the energy that you would have used in warming up into the climb and you come out way ahead.


I have to warm up and stretch before I get into anything at all on the unicycle. Otherwise I wreck my knees. I’ve evolved a set of crunches, pushups, idles, super-idles, and mini-hops that I do before riding, often right there in the parking lot. I believe that I can do a lot more than I would be able to do if I didn’t do all that stuff. And the knee thing is simply a must – if I didn’t do the warmups and stretches I wouldn’t be riding. I do them all again after I’m done if at all possible.

Think along Olympic lines, as though you were training for the Olympics, that’s my opinion. Pretend you’re 30 years in the future and MUni is a full-fledged amateur/professional sport. How would you train? What would your year’s schedule be? What diet would you have? What cross-training would you do? What would your post-ride recovery times be? What custom exercises would you develop? What mix of aerobic, agility, strength, mental training would you have?

With this mindset, you can imaginatively look next to you at the other Olympic athletes – the mountain biker, road racer, high-jumper, sprinter, decathelete, gymnast – and see that you are doing the same things that they are doing to evoke top performance from themselves.

An open letter to Unicorn…

Nice avatar.

I can’t climb at just the beggining of a Uni session: hear rate does not follow.
I nees one hour to let my heart adapt.

When I get to a climb that I can’t do and know is possible on the first try. I’ll try it again, if that doesn’t do it.
I’ll hit it every day till I do.
If you can make it on your 24" then you can make it on your 29".

There were days I couldn’t make it up certain climbs on my 24", after hitting it daily it became cake.
Now I can make it up the same climb’s with the Coker, but only after attacking it daily.

Repetition will build your stamina and technique.

Just remember “don’t stop pedaling”

A mountain biker (woman) once passed me on a major long vertical climb on this fire road upstate NY (Woodstock) on my 26" at the time.
When she came back down I stopped her and asked how she did it (believe me it was unimaginable), she answered “don’t stop pedaling”.

Train your body to be ready from the start. Don’t let it train you.

From that point on, I make climbs that I never would have before.

Don’t give up

Just One Wheel

Good advice. I can make it up that hill now with either sized wheel without too much difficulty. I think the difference now is that I have better uphill pedaling technique than then, so I use less energy to maintain my balance.

This is what is strange to me, I can do better on my 29" up hills with 150 cranks than with my 24" with 165s

That’s been my experience too. I currently run 150s for both sizes for that reason.