In modern fitness gyms the warm-up, strength work, and metcon get most of the attention. That makes sense. Strength and metcon performance are numbers driven. Either you are improving or you’re not.
If you want to squat more or shave minutes off your Fran time you have to train intensely and progressively. It’s true, you do need to prioritize warm-ups and mobilization because these drills allow you to ensure proper position during key movements. Do that and you will be able to train at higher intensities while reducing joint wear and tear.
This stuff is obviously important, but is anything missing? Just a little bit. Oftentimes you’re in such a crunch to fit in all of the strength and conditioning work that you never think to do a proper cool down. You grab your gear, hit the showers and get out the door as soon as possible.
So, is a cool down really necessary? Yes, of course it is! It’s your opportunity to jump start the recovery process and improve performance. In just a few minutes you can perform a few simple, calming drills that will restore smashed tissues and bring full motion back to stiff joints.
You’re not ready to be finished right after a tough cool down
Try out some of these sample cool downs and see if they leave you feeling refreshed and better prepared to rock your next workout.
1. After a tough running workout:
- 2-3 rounds
- 1 minute in the bottom of your squat (move around)
- 30 seconds in downward dog (stretch your calves)
- 30 seconds in hollow hold
2. After a long metcon:
- Partner A does single unders while Partner B does 50 meters light waiter’s walk/arm. Then switch.
- Partner A does single unders while Partner B does 3 rounds: 10 no push up burpees, 15 pass thrus. Then switch.
3. After an Olympic weightlifting session:
Proper pulling position comes from mobilization before AND after training
4. After a heavy deadlift day:
- 1-2 rounds:
- 3 minutes of gymnastics practice (kipping pull ups? muscle up transition? whatever you need)
- 3 minutes lower body foam roll
- 3 minutes upper body lacrosse ball
Don’t miss Kyle’s book, “Welcome to the Box: The Athlete’s Guide
5. After “Cindy” (push ups, pull ups and air squats):
- 1-2 rounds: 30 seconds each:
- high skip
- arm circles (every direction)
- cossack squat
- toe touch to overhead reach
- roll to candlestick
- low step ups
Add or take movements away from each cool down until you find something that works well for you. Together with your post-workout shake, there’s no better way to speed up recovery and improve performance.
- Kyle Smith is a CrossFit coach based out of Kansas City, MO. He is the author of Welcome to the Box: The Athlete’s Guide and is a featured writer for the Performance Menu.
- Learn how to improve your mobility with the Maximum Mobility seminar course.
- Check out Kelly Starrett on Episode 89 of Barbell Shrugged