Home Sports and Fitness Cool-down: the right technique

Cool-down: the right technique

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 358 views

The cool-down is the opposite of the warm-up. The heartbeat and breathing slowly come to rest. At the end of the training session, it initiates the body’s regeneration phase and promotes team spirit. Read here why you shouldn’t neglect the cool-down, how best to approach it and why the cool-down even improves performance.

Cool down – the right technique

“Cool-down”, also known as “warming up” in German, is the final part of a workout. It is the counterpart to the warm-up, in which you prepare your body for the upcoming loads at the beginning of your training.

Many athletes tend to neglect cool down. Here you can regenerate your body and mind in the best possible way with minimal effort. This also benefits performance during the next training session.

Here’s the best way to go about cooling down:

Reduce load slowly

The warm-down is usually started with exercises such as a relaxed run-out or extension. You should gradually reduce the speed. The aim is to reduce the heart rate to around 60 percent of the maximum load.

Plan enough time

Plan your workout so that there is enough time to cool down. Five minutes is usually enough to cool down. The more intense and the longer the exercise, the more time you should invest in the cool down.

Proper stretching during cool down

The following applies to subsequent stretching and mobilization exercises during the cool-down: slight stretching loosens the muscles. Do not stretch too much, it will only put unnecessary strain on already strained muscles. Avoid jerky movements.

Carry out the movements calmly and consciously. Make sure you breathe deeply and evenly. Feel into all muscles, especially those that you are currently stretching or relaxing.

If you work with a fascia roller, carefully dose the pressure. If the foam roller hits so-called adhesions of the fascia, it can be painful. Move the relevant part of the body carefully over the fascia roller, this will loosen the adhesion.

Emotional comedown during cool-down

Use the exercises during the warm-up to consciously end your training session. For the psyche , too, a cool-down is a relaxing conclusion to training.

Cool-down – that’s what’s behind it

The cool-down after exercise is very important: the body that has been heated up by the exercise is cooled down, the cardiovascular system and the psyche should come to rest. The basis is usually a loose run-out or extension. This is followed by stretching and mobilization exercises. The following processes take place during cool-down:

  • The breath calms down
  • The cardiovascular system calms down
  • The body starts the regeneration
  • Muscle tension decreases
  • Perspiration is reduced
  • The athlete comes down mentally
  • Mental relaxation sets in

Cool down – that’s what it takes

During the cool-down, the cardiovascular system gradually calms down, muscle tone is reduced, and the body and mind are given a signal that they can now relax. Studies show that regular warm-up promotes body regeneration. Relaxing exercises, for example, stimulate the removal and breakdown of unfavorable metabolic end products that accumulate during training. An example is lactate.

  • Improved regeneration
  • Greater increase in performance
  • Less sore muscles
  • Less muscle tightness and cramps
  • Fewer injuries
  • relaxation for the psyche

For whom is a cool-down important?

Every athlete benefits from a cool-down program! Five to 15 is enough to slowly and gently take the body from stress to rest. Cooling down is particularly important in the following cases:

After intense training

The harder the workout, the more important it is to cool down. Take a few minutes to gradually wind down your body and mind, relax your muscles and catch your breath. In this way you already support your body during regeneration.

For back pain

If you generally suffer from tension and pain in the back area, you should also pay more attention to this part of the body when warming up: Movements such as shoulder circles, gentle stretching of the back muscles, etc. promote relaxation during the cool-down and reduce pain and cramps.

In the recovery period after injuries

If you are recovering from an injury, for example a cruciate ligament tear, you have had to do without sport for months. Your body has to slowly get used to the training load again. The cool-down – here too with a focus on the affected parts of the body – serves to deliberately and gently relax the muscles. Careful, dynamic stretching improves the mobility of joints (in the example the knee), muscles and tendons.

Team sport cool down

In team sports, the cool-down can also have positive social effects. Joint exercises during the cool-down strengthen the group feeling. Tensions between the players can also be reduced.

Cool down & pregnancy

Of course, pregnant women who do sports also benefit from a cool-down. You can do a gentle workout until just before the birth. The corresponding cool-down concludes the training in a meaningful way.

Avoid doing unfamiliar exercises when warming up to minimize the risk of injury. Then the cool-down contributes to your well-being and keeps muscles, tendons and joints flexible.

Cool down – the equipment

You basically don’t need much equipment for the cool-down. Depending on the sport, this part of the training can also vary. But with the following three tools you are definitely on the right track:

sports mat

A comfortable, non-slip sports mat makes sense for every athlete. It is suitable for a wide variety of gymnastics and yoga exercises: During cool-down, it is used to calm down and gently stretch the muscles.

When buying, make sure that the mat is long and thick enough for you. If you have sensitive knees, it should be at least five millimeters. Most mats are made of durable plastic. There are now also models made of cork, cotton or even new wool. Sports mats are available from around 20 euros in stores.

yoga strap

A yoga belt is a great help when warming up, especially for people who are less flexible. Exercises that stretch the muscles are much easier with this tool. The yoga belt acts as an extension of the arms. Yoga straps are available from around 10 euros. Alternatively, you can also use a normal towel.

foam roller

A current trend are the so-called fascia rollers or foam rollers. These devices are mostly made of hard foam. They are available in different sizes and degrees of hardness. Controlled rolling of individual muscle groups over the fascia roller is intended to loosen the muscles during the cool-down and improve blood circulation. Here, adhesions of the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding the muscles ) should be avoided or loosened.

You should be careful when performing cool-down exercises with the foam roller, as the pressure on some areas (e.g. the outside of the thighs) can sometimes be quite painful.

Cool-down – Mistakes to avoid

Try to avoid these common cool-down mistakes:

Inappropriate exercises

Especially when stretching, you should not make any violent, jerky movements. While dynamic stretching is gaining popularity again, use caution. From time to time, feel your way a little further towards a larger range of motion and only stretch until you feel a slight pull in the muscle.

Too long cool down

The warm-up is the training section that concludes the workout, it takes about five to 15 minutes. Otherwise the body cools down when the blood flow to the muscles decreases after the workout. Especially in the cooler months of the year, take the cool-down inside or at least put something warm on – this is how you prevent colds and muscle tension.

Forgo the cool down completely!

Even if time is short, you should always allow a few minutes to cool down. After all, when an intense workout ends abruptly, it’s like putting a stick between the spokes on a bicycle. The abrupt stopping irritates the body, it has no chance to slowly calm down again.

In addition, the warm-up not only improves the transition from training to the rest phase, with the right exercises you also increase your mobility, flexibility and strength.

You may also like

Leave a Comment