We've all been told to spin easy for 15 to 20 minutes before a hard ride. But there's a more effective way to warm up. By focusing on a few short efforts that ramp up in intensity, you'll get your muscles in the groove sooner, without stressing them. Here is one of my favorite routines. It works great any time, but is even more beneficial during the winter, when it can take longer to prime your system. Do this: Pedal lightly for five minutes followed by two 60-second blocks during which you increase your cadence incrementally every 20 seconds. Pedal easy for a minute between each block. Your final 20 seconds should be at the fastest spin you can maintain without bouncing in the saddle. Do two more 60-second blocks, with a minute rest between them. This time, increase your resistance by shifting into a slightly harder gear every 20 seconds. For your final two blocks, increase your pace incrementally every 20 seconds, concluding with a short burst at your top speed. Spin easy for two to three minutes before starting your workout.