When you finish a workout, the first thought is “I didn’t die!”, the second thought is “shower”. The cool down stretch is often forgotten because in the moment you don’t feel like you need it.Β Ha.Β 

You need it.

Whether it’s a long slow stretch or a mobility routine, you should always prioritize the post-workout cool down.

After exercise, your heart is beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. Proper cool-down exercises allow a gradual decrease of levels. In addition, stretching is known to reduce the onset of muscle soreness and promote greater mobility.

Here are 5 cool down stretch exercises to incorporate into your day.

Cool Down Stretches

cool down stretch for spine

1. Bow and Arrow

How to do it: Start with your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Imagine you are pulling a bow and twist your torso as you reach your arm as far back as you can. Try to get your arm fully straight in the back.

Benefits: Spinal twists are incredible for lower back relief. I always try to incorporate them in my mobility and cool down stretch routines. This move is also good for shoulder strength, neck mobility, and hips.

cool down stretch for hamstrings

2. Hamstring Fold

How to do it: Spread your legs apart, at a comfortable distance. Bend down to one side and pull your body as close as you can to your leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Then do the other side. If you cannot bend this far, put a chair or small table in front of you and place your arms onto it for support.

Benefits: Stretching the hamstrings can prevent them from becoming too tight. And tight hamstrings can lead to lower back pain and other problems. This stretch will keep your hamstrings flexible helping you stand taller and improve your posture.

cool down stretch twist

3. Tall Twist - Cool Down Stretch

How to do it: Take your right arm high in the air and twist. Take your left arm and grab some booty meat. πŸ™‚ Seriously. Now, think about twisting both ways. You are reaching up and reaching down. Hold for 30 seconds per side.

Benefits: This cool down stretch helps improve circulation and promote detoxification. This move will improve back flexibility, reduce lower back tension, open your shoulders, and its a wonderful stretch for your abdominal muscles.

4. Quadriceps - Cool Down Stretch

How to do it: Grab the top of your foot and lift it behind you. Pull it as close to your butt as possible. Focus on pushing your pelvis forward while you stretch. Most people rush through this. Don’t. Hold it for a while.

Benefits: Tight quads are often related to back pain and hip discomfort.Β  Performed consistently, this cool down stretch can improve flexibility in the leg and also ease tension in the groin.

5. Big Ole Breaths

How to do it: To get the full benefits, you must breathe from your belly, not your chest. 90% of people do shallow breathing and miss out on the life changing benefits of belly breaths. More info on that.

Benefits: Taking big breaths has innumerable benefits. Proper breathing, from the belly, can improve digestion, lower blood pressure, relieve pain, help posture, and elicit full oxygen exchange.

Additional Tips

  • Let your heart rate come down before you begin stretching especially if you’re going to bend over.Β 
  • Once your heart rate feels good, hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. You can always stretch longer!Β 
  • It is beneficial to breathe deeply while you stretch. This will send a signal to your muscles that it’s time to relax.
  • Drink more water. You’d be surprised how good a hydrated body feels.
  • Incorporate mini stretch breaks into your day – not just after a workout.

Please note this is the bare minimum cool down. If you do nothing else, perform these moves. Do them often. Do them enthusiastically. πŸ™‚ This will prevent a lot of pain in the future.

β™₯ π™˜π™€π™–π™˜π™ π™–π™£π™œπ™šπ™‘

Angel has a M.S. Kinesiology and 15 years of hands-on experience. Her credentials include Cycle Instructor of the Year, Team USA duathlete, and Nike Trainer. To work with Angel or join the F&H community, send a message. Thanks for stopping by!

Want to do the cool down exercises with me? It will only take a few minutes and the entire cool down routine is standing. You can do this anywhere, at any time.