Do you ever wonder why your coach tells you to take 2-3 minutes after the WOD to go for a short run or to row and then stretch in the back for 5? It is because cool down should be an integral part of your training. Cool down aka getting your body to the state it was in pre-WOD. Cooling down is just as important as warming up, strength, working on your technique, or the WOD itself, you should never skip it. Sometimes we manage to get it into our 60minute class, other times your coach just gives you instructions and you are on your own.
Here are three reasons why cooling down is so important:
1. It helps remove accumulated “waste” and reduces the chance of blood clots
An intense WOD causes our bodies to create metabolic waste: lactic acid and hydroxyproline (amino acid). It is ideal to get rid of those before you rest to prevent muscle pain and to fasten regeneration. Additionally, during an intense work out, our blood vessels expand so that our muscles can properly wok. If we suddenly stop working out, our blood can clot in our legs and cause dizziness or weakness.
2. It reduces muscle pain in the days to come
Lactic acid doesn’t cause us pain the next day, micro-tears in our muscles that happen because of shrinking and stretching when we exercise do. There is no way to prevent this kind pain, but you can easen it by an easy aerobic load that helps to wash away the enzymes that cause muscle damage.
3. It helps your mobility
Our muscles are all warmed up and flexible after we work out. So use this opportunity to improve your mobility. Don’t focus only on your shoulders or heals, static stretching should include all the muscles you use during the WOD as well as the rest of your body.
Three phases that your cool down should include:
1. Easy cardio
You can run, row, jump the rope or ride the assault bike. Whatever gets you going before the WOD should help you calm your heart rate after it. How long? Ideally 5 minutes, but sometimes, especially after intense WODs (don’t mistaken with long) even longer.
2. Static stretching
This phase should be nice and relaxing, not painful. Be patient when you work on your mobility and increase the range of motion from day to day. Hold each position for at least 30 seconds, and the worst ones (for you) even for a minute. The big benefit of stretching is injury prevention.
You should drink enough fluids and eat your protein after you WOD. Your body just ate it all up when you were working out and to successfully regenerate it needs to recharge.
Stay calm & cool down 😉