The Best Way to Cool Down After Strength Training

The Best Way to Cool Down After Strength Training

After a tough workout| there’s nothing better than giving your muscles and mind a little R&R. I recently chatted with Eoin Finn of Blissology Yoga at Wanderlust Whistler about the poses he suggests after a tough strength-training workout.

Eoin says it’s important to start with something dynamic before heading into full chill-out mode. This way| your nervous system has time to switch gears from “”the fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest mode.”” When you do the poses in this order| you’ll leave your workout feeling energized| focused| and refreshed. Eoin suggests starting with three standing postures and then hitting the floor for an additional three. Be sure to breathe deep and link your breath with movement to make the most of your stretching session.

Source: Shutterstock

| Runner’s Lunge

Release tension in your hip flexors and psoas with this common stretch. If it is difficult for you to swing your leg up to the above position| start on your hands and knees| then extend your back leg in the lunge position.

  • Starting in a plank position| bring your left foot up and around and to the outside of your left hand.
  • Hold for five seconds| and bring the foot back into the plank position. Repeat this movement on your right side.
  • Complete 10 reps on each leg.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Open Triangle

Open Triangle is a great pose that has double the stretching power: it’s a forward bend plus a twist.

  • From Runner’s Lunge| step back to Downward Facing Dog| step your left foot forward for Warrior 1| and open up into Warrior 2.
  • Straighten your left leg and turn your right toes slightly to the front of your mat| making a 45-degree angle. Lower your left hand| resting it on your left shin or a block| or place your palm flat on the floor. Extend your right arm straight up| and gaze at your right fingertips.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths. Then lift your torso up| and switch sides. Step your right foot forward between your hands| and repeat this pose on the right side.

Source: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

| Revolved Triangle

Revolved Triangle will be a challenging pose to anyone working with tight hamstrings| hips| or an ITB| but it’s well worth the struggle.

  • From Open Triangle| lift your torso slightly and plant your left palm on the floor next to the outside edge of your right foot. If this hurts your hamstrings| rest your hand on a block or on your shin.
  • Inhale to raise your right arm straight up| stack the shoulders| and engage your core by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Pull your left shoulder away from your hips to lengthen through both sides of the ribs equally.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Frame your front foot with both hands| and press back to Downward Facing Dog. Perform Revolved Triangle on your other side for an additional five breaths| before stepping back to Downward Facing Dog.

Source: Jenny Sugar at Laughing River Yoga Studio

| Seated Spinal Twist

Eoin suggests working the outer hips| obliques| and shoulders with a nice Seated Spinal Twist.

  • From Downward Facing Dog| drop your knees to your mat| and sit with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Bend your right knee| and place your right heel to the left of your bended left knee. Your left heel will be facing the back of your mat.
  • Reach your right arm behind you| and plant your palm on the floor. Press your right hand on the floor behind you to help lengthen your spine. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you twist.
  • Stay here for five or more breaths| working on drawing your right shoulder back. Use each inhale to lengthen the spine and each exhale to rotate further. If you’re finding it hard to breathe deeply| release the bind| and bring your right hand back behind you.
  • When you’re done| take a counter pose by slowly twisting your body to the left for a breath| and then switch sides.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

| Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend brings a deep stretch to the back of your legs. Instead of leading with your head| move your chest toward your toes to get the biggest benefit.

  • After your Seated Spinal Twist| sit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you (your starting position from the last pose).
  • Reach your hands underneath your tush| and pull the fleshy part behind you so your pelvic bones are grounded. This will help to tilt your tailbone up so you get a deeper stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Focus on sitting up tall and making your spine as long as you can. Take a deep inhale| and extend the crown of your head straight up away from your hips| elongating your spine as much as possible.
  • Slowly hinge at your hips| lowering your torso toward your thighs. Maintain a straight back| and fold as far as you need to feel a nice stretch in your back and hamstrings. Don’t worry about folding your body completely in half| unless this is comfortable for you.
  • Stay like this for at least five deep breaths.

Source: Shutterstock

| Pigeon

A basic yoga pose| Pigeon is one of the most effective hip openers because you can focus on one hip at a time. If you want an even deeper hip stretch| Eoin suggests going for Double Pigeon Pose.

  • From Seated Forward Bend| place your hands down on the mat on either side of your legs| bend your right knee| and extend your left leg behind. Pull the right heel in toward your left hip| or if your hips are more open| inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins to open up toward the ceiling| draw your right foot back in toward your body.
  • Stay here with your hands resting on your right thigh or your hips| or walk your hands out in front of you| allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here| breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.
  • Repeat this pose with the left knee bent.

Source: Louisa Larson Photography