Post-workout static stretchingMany individuals understand the importance of the warmup before the workout but fail to appreciate the importance of the cool-down. Indeed, most people aren’t even aware that such a thing exists, let along know how to cool down properly!
The cool-down is very simple and can be quite beneficial. It basically involves gently stretching the muscles that you trained during your workout, and only takes five to 10 minutes. The type of stretching that you do is static stretching as opposed to the dynamic stretching that you did as part of your warmup.
As explained in the lesson How to warm up, static stretching is the regular kind of stretching that involves holding a position for 30 to 60 seconds in order to elongate the muscle, whereas dynamic stretching involves performing fluid, controlled movements that take your joints through their full range of motion. While static stretching is not suitable as part of your warmup (because it can impede the performance of your muscles), it can be beneficial after your workout. The reason is that static stretching helps to keep your tendons and ligaments strong, thus decreasing your risk of experiencing a tendon or ligament injury in the future. Post-workout static stretching also helps to prevent a reduction in the range of motion of your joints, which may occur if you consistently perform reps with a partial range of motion. By gently stretching your muscles after each workout, you ensure that no loss of range of motion is experienced, and you may even experience an increase in range of motion.
Watch the video below to learn how to cool down using static stretching. Note that static stretching has no significant effect on preventing or reducing muscle soreness—which is now considered to be a myth.