Cooling down after workout: A How-To

How to successfully warm down after a training session

Woman cooling down after a workout

Warming up before a workout has long been standard practice. But afterwards? Just shower and get back to everyday life? That shouldn't be all. The post-workout cool-down is just as important as the pre-workout warm-up. Read all about the benefits of a cool-down here and learn a few exercises to help you wind down and relax your body after exercise.



What is cool-down and why is it important?

Warm-up and cool-down. The yin and yang of sport, so to speak. Because your body is only in balance if you do both. The cool-down is less well known. It is often forgotten altogether. Yet warming down the body is just as important as warming up. It fulfills essential functions:

  • Stabilization of the cardiovascular system: During the cool-down after exercise, the heart rate is lowered, breathing is calmed and the intensity of the exercise is reduced.
  • Muscle regeneration: Targeted warming down reduces lactate in the muscles and loosens them up - this helps to prevent sore muscles and to be ready for the next workout.
  • Mental relaxation: During intensive workouts in particular, you also put a strain on your mind - cool-down also has a mental aspect and calms the mind.

5 cool-down exercises: Effective warm-down after sport

You will achieve the maximum effect if you give your cool-down exercises a clear structure. Ideally, divide them into two phases:

  • Phase 1: Regulate your cardiovascular system with light cardio training.
  • Phase 2: Regenerate and relax your muscles with targeted stretching exercises.
Woman and man jogging
A light run after the workout is the perfect start to warming down

1. Jog it out

A relaxed run after your main workout is the best way to gently slow down your cardiovascular system. Run at a moderate pace for about ten minutes. This will have the following effects:

  • Your cardiovascular system and breathing will calm down.

  • Your body excretes metabolic products more quickly.

  • It stimulates circulation.

  • You relax your muscles.


A run can be daunting for some athletes - even a short distance at a moderate pace. Therefore, use cardio equipment such as a bike for the first phase of your cool-down after sport. This will achieve the same effect.

2. Arm Stretches

Stretching your arms when warming down after sport is fundamentally important. Even if the arm muscles have not been overused in your training; The following exercises are suitable for stretching the arms:

  • Back shoulder: Extend your right or left arm - depending on where you want to start - across your chest. Then place the hand of the other arm on the forearm and press it lightly towards your chest until a slight stretching effect sets in . Hold for a few seconds and then switch sides
  • Biceps: Extend one arm to the side, lowering your hand slightly below shoulder height. Now turn the forearm so that the palm is facing upwards and pull the arm slightly backwards. Then turn your hand backwards until you feel a pleasant stretching effect. You should hold the exercise for 20 to 30 seconds. Then switch sides.

    This video shows you the bicep stretch in detail:
  • Triceps: Stretch one arm over your head with the elbow of the same arm pointing forwards. Now bend your arm so that your palm rests on top between your shoulder blades. With your other hand, stretch your arm backwards at the elbow so that you feel tension in your triceps.

    This is what the tricep stretches looks like:
  • Forearms: For the upper forearm, stretch one of your arms forwards and fold your wrist downwards by 90 degrees. Now gently pull your hand backwards with the other hand and hold the tension. For the lower forearm, move your arm to the same starting position with the difference that the wrist points 90 degrees upwards.
    Always remember to stretch both arms.


Further specific information and tips on stetching can be found in our owayo magazine.

3. Torso Stretches

The torso twist is an exercise that you probably won't want to do without after the first time you do it to cool down after sport.

Here's how:

Stand with both legs shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your knees are slightly bent. They should be springy, not stiff. Now raise your arms to just under 90 degrees and start to rotate your upper body from left to right. You can either bend your elbows or stretch them out. Do not rotate too quickly and keep your gaze forward. Otherwise you may experience dizziness.
The torso twist is an effective warm-up exercise for your shoulder and back muscles.

In this video you can see how to perform a torso twist:

4. Groin Stretches

To stretch the back and inner side of your legs and to warm up after your workout, start by standing on your mat or the floor with your legs apart. Your feet should be parallel and pointing forwards while you place your hands on your hips. Breathe in and push your hips slightly forward. Then exhale and slowly bend forward

Depending on your flexibility, your fingertips or palms touch the floor or float in the air. Breathe in and out calmly and hold the exercise for five deep breaths. Pleasant side effect: as well as stretching your legs, you also stretch your spine.

5. Hip Extensions

A perfect exercise to open up your hips is the so-called hip extension. We recommend integrating this exercise into your cool-down after sport, but also incorporating it into your daily routine in between. After all, sitting in front of the computer for hours on end often shortens our hip muscles.

The hip extension comes from yoga and is performed as follows:

The starting position is the four-footed stance. Now bring your left knee forward to your left hand and your left foot to your right hand. Place your lower leg on the mat - at a 90-degree angle or less, depending on your flexibility. Extend the other leg backwards, resting the back of your foot on the floor. With your hips facing straight forward, sit on the mat with your upper body upright. Hold the pose for a few breaths and then switch sides.

    Important tips and practical variations:

  • To protect the knee of the bent leg, pull the toes upwards.
  • By slowly moving the upper body and your hands forward, you intensify the tension.

  • This is how to perform the hip flexing stretch:


Combine the individual exercises to increase the effect of the cool-down. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can determine the time of the cool-down. A few minutes is usually enough. If you run a lot and regularly, you will also find specific Stretching exercises for runners.

Relaxation after training: 3 tips for your cool-down

In addition to targeted exercises, you can also increase the success of your cool-downs with relaxation measures. We give you three tips:

1. Massages and Fascia Training

A gentle massage relaxes your muscles after a workout. To counteract hardening and adhesions, you can also roll the muscles with a black roll.

2. Ice Bath or Cold Shower

Muscles and joints that are well supplied with blood regenerate more quickly. The cold also inhibits inflammation. These are all reasons why professional athletes go into the ice barrel after football tournaments, training sessions and the like. You don't have to copy this. A cold shower at home or in the gym is enough. We recommend it: Get over yourself. Because afterwards you will feel a clear relaxation effect.

3. Sauna or Hot Shower

If you can't bring yourself to take a cold shower, we have a solution for you. Take a hot shower or go to the sauna. Because heat opens the blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation and thus promotes regeneration. At the same time, your muscles relax. The cool-down effect is particularly great when you combine cold and heat. Alternating showers are a good option - or jumping into an ice-cold pool after a sauna session.

Woman cooling down in the sauna after sport
A sauna session also helps you cool down after sport.

Cool-down after exercising: faster regeneration and more balance

If you want to round off your workout in the best possible way, a cool down after exercise is essential. It counterbalances the warm-up, calms the cardiovascular system and breathing and accelerates the regeneration of muscles and joints. The risk of injury is also reduced - and it only takes a few extra minutes after training. Make warming down an integral part of your training plan.

Especially if you can walk around in sportswear for a few extra minutes. You can find high-quality outfits for every type of sport in the owayo online shop. With the help of the 3D Designer you can even design your own clothing.

Also take a look at our owayo magazine. There you will find articles on the perfect preparation for your sport, among other things.


Image Credits: Title Image: K.A./ /; Image 2: Dirima/; Image 3: Africa Studio/