We Warmup … Why Not Cool Downs ….

Too many times I have witnessed athletes perform an excellent warm up, perform fantastically in the Workout, then well, do nothing, or immediately go to work and sit or go home and plop on the couch for the evening.

Sound familiar??

It is not unusual that you wake up the morning (or 2nd day) after feeling stiff, sore, and it is uncomfortable to move normally. Not addressing this soreness can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, and injury.
Why is this is?

When we tackle intense workouts that elevate our heart rate and increase the volume of blood pumping through our veins towards our heart. During these workouts, we must generate enough energy to overcome gravity and bring blood flow from our extremities to our heart in order for our vital organs and tissue to receive the ample blood flow needed to support this intense work capacity.

When we sprawl out on the floor after moving at 110%, our heart still beats at an elevated pace. However, since we have sprawled out and completely stopped physical activity, we no longer generate sufficient power to bring the blood needed to feed our organs and vital tissues from our extremities to heart (Molkin). This blood will then pool in our extremities and could lead to fainting or dizziness; not good for anyone.

So why do we warm up?

We warm up to elevate our heart rates to get our blood pumping efficiently throughout our body. That will allow our muscles and joints to become lubricated to reach full ranges of motion.

Let’s take a second to consider one of the most important reasons for warming up: INJURY PREVENTION! With a proper warm-up, we stand a much higher chance of avoiding injuries by both physically and mentally preparing for the rigorous work ahead.

Without warm-ups, we likely wouldn’t be able to achieve our PR’s, or improve our skills so significantly. However, while we put such an emphasis on warming up, why do we put so little effort into a proper cool-down?

I know I get… The cool-down can feel like a tedious process. We go from all out effort output in the Workout, to zero movement in a matter of seconds. We feel like we have absolutely nothing left in our tanks, hence the ever-so-famous collapse and lying on the ground for 5 minutes following a workout.

Moving and stretching immediately after a workout will make a world of difference in performance and lessen the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). There are a number of major goals involved in a proper cool-down. First, we want to progressively reduce our heart rates with a few minutes of light activity (jogging, walking or my personal favorite rowing). This will help us clear metabolic by-products which are produced during exercise, including lactate and hydrogen ion’s which majorly contribute to soreness.

Second, we want to focus on stretching out the major muscles involved in the workout (lucky for us, our workouts usually involve every major muscle group in the body). Pick several effective stretches, rolls or mobility techniques to hit those target areas and spend a couple of minutes at each. Not only will you find you have improved recovery, but you will also see increases in flexibility if you take 5-10 minutes a day to stretch.

I have been watching how high performance elite athletes train and I began to notice a common theme; they cool down….
I remember one of the key pieces of advice I took from my endurance certification is after your race you should go straight to the gym and “cool down”. It is the last thing you will want to do, but it will save you much pain and heart ache in the end!

So I put it to the test after my marathon I did a cool down walk, and performed a small 5rd workout with squats, kettle bell swings, dips, mountain climbers, and pushups. I was shocked when I didn’t feel much soreness the days following the race and I could perform my normal workouts with no pain.

When you train like an athlete you have to act like a true athlete. Recovery is just as important as the workouts. And a big part of recovery is cooling down after your workouts.

So for the next three weeks of my programming, you will see at the bottom of the Oboard *optional cool downs. This will not take away from your workout time only a suggestion for you to take a professional approach to your body!

The Oboard Says…

AMARAP 14 Minutes
15 Pull-ups + 15 Pushup’s (7 Muscle Up’s)
50 Wall-Ball Shots
100 Double-Unders

Cool Down:
3 Sets:
30 sec pigeon
30 sec down dog
30 sec up dog

Posted by: Annie