Recovery benefits of cycling, 15-30 minutes after training

How does (very) low intensity cycling aid recovery, 15 tot 30 minutes after training?

I recently experimented with 5 minutes of very low intensity cycling, 15-30 minutes after a training session (any kind). I noticed that i suffer less from DOMS / soreness. I wouldn’t say i recover faster, but at least i feel better.

Any experience with this?

With very low intensity i mean: ‘no meaningful force’, which comes down to approx 100 watts where my FTP is near 270.
Why 15-30 minutes after training: because that is the time i need to get home. No science in that.

Do you do a cool-down during your training, and if so, how long, and what intensity? I found that a longer warm up, before a high intensity session, then longer cool down; led to better quality sessions.

I don’t know the physiology of it, but I figured warming up allows your body to get ready, before you rev your engine, and cool-down allows your body to consume any lactate and other metabolites in the muscles produced during high intensity (is that a word?) before stopping.

cooldown → approx 5 minutes, max hr zone 2, normal skating or ‘upright’
warming-up → 5 to 10 minutes at various intensities, slow and short sprints, average <= HR zone 2.

Most of my sessions have 20% of HR zone 2 before cooldown.

There’s a great point in one of the latest Fast Talk Podcast episodes when Joe Friel is comparing muscles to a water pump. Looking from a blood dynamics perspective, our muscles work like a “back pump” helping the blood to return up to the heart, lungs and so on. Thus, the working muscles are taking an active role in the process of getting themselves nutrient-rich blood and let out any metabolites.

That’s why it’s sometimes recommended to go for a walk to speed-up recovery. The same goes with the cool down after any workout - we’re simply prolonging the period of a faster blood cycle, and so the rebuilding nutrients are coming much quicker to the muscles.

I’d suggest though to skip the cool down portion of the workout when you’re doing a long ride. When you’re working out for over 90-120 minutes, it would be much more rational to eat something than to ride at easy pace for another half hour.

1 Like

Sounds like a logical explanation.
I often eat or drink something before I get on the bike for the ‘recovery spin’. That seems to be fine.
I am really happy with the result of this.