Shrugged Collective

Don’t skip the cool down

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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.14.58 PM

 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:

3. After an Olympic weightlifting session:

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 11.19.00 PM

 Proper pulling position comes from mobilization before AND after training

4. After a heavy deadlift day: 


Don’t miss Kyle’s book, “Welcome to the Box: The Athlete’s Guide

5. After “Cindy” (push ups, pull ups and air squats):

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.

Happy training,


Learn on

Mike Bledsoe


  • I’m a weightlifter and tried this last night. I did stiff-legged deadlifts for the first time as an accessory and my lower back was super fatigued after. Normally I would just stretch a bit and then hop in my car. Instead I tried your recommended cooldown for weightlifters. Incredible improvement! I felt much better afterwards and fresh as a daisy this morning.

    One question: would you recommend using this same cooldown after every workout or would you make slight modifications each time? If so, can you give a simple rule of thumb for how to modify it? I.e. if the workout was squat heavy, try using A and B movement, but if it’s pull or press heavy, use C and D movement, etc.

    Thanks for the great article!

    • Mike, thanks for trying out the cool down! I’m really glad you found it so helpful.

      Ditto Chris’ comment. Slight variations on the theme are great because they teach you what works and what doesn’t. And having fun is imperative, if you’re not having fun you’re not going to do it.

      One more big picture thing to consider. A warm up is a bridge between not being ready to workout to being ready to workout. Examples: do a few push ups before bench press, jog before you sprint, wrist circles before overhead squat.

      A cool down is the bridge on the other side of the workout. Have you ever tried to stop a car going 60 MPH by slamming your foot on the brake? I don’t recommend it. Examples of bridging out of your workout: just finished squatting do some foam rolling. Long running workout, stretch your calves. Focused on the posterior chain, give the anterior one some loving.

      If it works, you feel better and perform better later, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

  • Hi ! well done with these protocols they are wonderful (feeling good with it !).
    Just to know : how would you cool-down for a typical crossfit WOD mixing BB gym and cardio in the 10-20 time domain ?
    Thank you !

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.