I’ve received a few questions about the best way to cool down and stretch after a kettlebell workout. Here’s a bootcamp and kettlebell cool down and stretch sequence that I use fairly often for myself and for the bootcamp classes that I teach. You’ll notice that I’ve also incorporated yoga technique so that it flows smoothly from one stretch into the next.
Why Cool Down and Stretch?
Strenuous exercise and vigorous activity causes muscles to tighten up. Overly tight muscles are easily strained or pulled, so it’s very important to stretch them properly after physical activity.
Additionally, when your heart rate is elevated from exercise, it’s important to bring it back down gradually. Allow your body temperature to slowly return to normal and allow your blood to slowly redistribute itself properly throughout the body. This helps alleviate any soreness from the build up of lactic acid, and prevents the blood from pooling up around your muscles.
Keep the blood flowing properly and encourage good circulation to prevent dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Static Stretching For Cool Down
The best type of stretching for cooling your body down is static stretching.
Dynamic stretching is best for the warm up. Dynamic stretching is controlled movements that heat up the body, and take you to the limits of your full range of motion. This prepares the muscles for more rigorous activity and loosens everything up for more active movement.
Static stretching is better suited for relaxing the muscles and easing tension that has been built up in the muscles from exercise. You want to take your static stretches deep, but not to the point where you feel any pain.
Static stretching involves slow, smooth stretching with longer holds of 20-60 seconds per stretch. I don’t actually like staring at a stopwatch while I’m stretching, so I usually time my stretches by the breaths that I take. Try holding each stretch for a good 5-10 breaths. You can vary the length of time in your stretches depending on how tight you feel, and the intensity of the work that you just completed. A really intense workout might require additional time for stretching.
The key to getting a good static stretch is in the breathing. Deep exhalations allow your muscles to relax and enables you to sink into your stretches a little deeper.
Do you have a stretch routine that you like to do after your workouts? I’d love to hear about it.
You can always save the link to this article or video on your phone, tablet, or computer and follow along with this stretch no matter where you’re working out.