Everything You Know About Cooling Down Is Wrong

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Everything You Know About Cooling Down Is Wrong

Everything You Know About Cooling Down Is Wrong

When we cool down, we’re generally trying too reduce muscle soreness.. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) however no matter how well you cool down if you’re training to build muscle then your muscles will be sore regardless.

However what you do immediately after you finish your workout does determine how good your recovery is going to be..

At the end of a session your body is in an extremely heightened and energised state. No matter wether you cool down or just stop you heart and your lungs will deal with the bodies byproducts of the energy systems. The slow and steady option is generally the better idea as it is more helpful with the body’s recovery.

Here are our top tips for cooling down properly after a hard session!

Keep Moving


The best cool down differs between cardio and strength training. For cardio there are a few easy ways to determine when you have sufficiently cooled down.

“From a cardiovascular standpoint, a cool-down should last as long as it takes for your heart rate to return to within 20 percent of your resting heart rate, and for you to stop sweating and breathing heavily,” says William P. Kelley, a doctor of physical therapy and strength coach who specialises in sports physical therapy.

After strength training it can be a little trickier to workout when you’ve cooled down enough, but Kelley has a suggestion:


“From a muscular standpoint, you need time to address all the muscles used during the activity you performed. A rule of thumb for cool-down time is 15 minutes, but it depends on the individual.”

Whichever training principle you’re cooling down from, the main goal is to keep moving. For example, if your workout was predominantly sprinting, slowly start jogging then slow  down even more to a walk is a really good way to start your cool down. On the other hand if you’ve just done an upper body weight session, you might want to start with a series of upper-body dynamic stretches.

Stretch Things Out

The best and really only time to incorporate static stretches is when your body is warmed up properly, post workout is obviously a good time for this. You don’t really want to be doing static stretches for warm ups because your muscles are cold and tight.

Hold your stretches between 30-90 seconds to help maintain as well as increase your flexibility and range of motion.  Try and wait until your respiratio


n and heart rate have slowed before you start these stretches.

Roll Out The Knots

When I ask my clients at the end of every session “Who wants a foam roller” generally none of them say yes.. maybe sometimes I’ll get one or two. Some studies do show that lying or rolling on a foam roller after a hard session can help in reducing DOMS the days after.

Foam rolling helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles and is like moving them but with pressure on knots. When you find a knot you should hold and try to dissolve it as best you can. This will leave you feeling far better than without.



Even though post-workout hydration isn’t capped out after your 15-minute cool-down, it is a really good time to start replacing the water your body has just depleted during your session via your sweat and respiration. All of your body’s chemical processes take place in  water, so being dehydrated after your session, means your body will have a lot harder time recovering.

Begin to rehydrate by sipping on your bottle of water as you’re cooling down. How much you need to drink varies depending on the type of exercise that you’ve done, how hard you pushed, and as well as that whether you trained inside or out.

A general rule to stick to is to start by drinking 1-2L of water in and around your session, then continue drinking based on your thirst. You want your urine to be pale yellow to clear yellow within a couple hours of your session.

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