You’ll probably find that about 45-60 minutes into an intense workout, your body starts to hit a wall. Your heart is pounding, your lungs feel like they’re going to explode, and one more squat is going to cause you to collapse on the floor in a puddle of sweat.
Particularly, when performing heavy compound lifts, your nervous system will just start to feel tapped out. Pushing yourself to your limits is great, but it’s also good to know when to stop and wind your training session down.
So it's crucial to end everything with a mellower Cool Down series of movements that not only gently condition areas against injury, but also keep your limbs flexible so your body won’t feel like it got hit by a truck when you wake up the next day in bed.
A good 10 minute Cool Down session after your hardcore workout is indeed as essential to your body as was heavy strength training, so don’t neglect it.
Find yourself a comfortable mat and a quiet section of the gym floor. Start with some all-around body stretches.
Muscles tend to tighten after lifting so, stretching your arms, back and legs will keep you limber and better suited to working out again the next day. After stretching, try some isometric exercises (exercise that does not bend or stretch your limbs) combined with controlled breathing.
Some fantastic ones to try are the Wall Sit and the Elbow Plank. These will all condition your core, keep you fit, and prevent further injury. You’re no use to anyone, let alone yourself if you put your shoulder out and can’t workout for a week.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.