Got stiff joints and muscles? A cool down is lower-intensity exercise – such as stretches or mobility drills – performed directly after a vigorous training session. Using a foam roller to cool down your joints and muscles is a winning idea for reducing your risk of injury and improving your mobility and posture.
What follows are flexibility movements using a foam roller that can make a positive difference in your body and improve the quality of your future workouts.
Benefits of a Foam Roller Cool Down
A good cool down can accelerate recovery of blood lactate while helping to reduce depression in your immune system and promoting speedy recovery for your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Also, when your muscles are pumped full of warm blood and oxygen directly after a workout, it’s the perfect time to improve muscular flexibility and joint mobility.
As modern humans become increasingly sedentary from texting, computing, and driving, the neck and hamstring muscles also require enhanced flexibility movements in order to unstick the tissues in these areas:
- The ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders and hips are areas where injuries commonly occur from exercise, as well as the sensitive vertebrae of the lower back.
- Injuries aside, the are certain key exercises – such as pressing and squatting – that can only be done effectively if there is already a certain level of mobility in the shoulders and hips.
From an ancestral perspective, muscles and joints are meant to be supple.
What is Synovial Fluid and Why Does It Matter During a Cool Down?
Your body produces a substance called synovial fluid to lubricate its joints.
Just as car engines have motor oil, your body has synovial fluid so that your bones can move past one another effortlessly.
See the video lower within this article for movement examples that will help keep your synovial fluid moving freely around your joints.
The more sedentary you are the less your body thinks you need fluidity. If you don’t use it, you lose it – as the saying goes – and soon your joints become sticky, abrasive, and at risk for injury the next time you decide to move quickly, spontaneously, or under a weight-bearing load.
This is why, with each passing year, cooling up properly after exercise becomes even more important.
What is Spinal Compression and Why Does It Matter During a Cool Down?
Our spines are meant to be long and bendy.
During pre-history, our ancestors did not sit in chairs.
Modern life, on the other hand, involves sitting for absurdly long periods of time – and this can shorten spines.
A compressed spine means vertebrae are too close to one another, and this can put undue pressure on spinal nerve endings resulting in slipped discs, extreme pain, or – at the very least – unattractive posture.
Try This Foam Roller Cool Down
This series of movements is designed to mitigate sticky synovial fluid and spinal compression – and to restore joint and muscular mobility.
Refer to the video to see how each specific movement is executed.
This cool down is for both men and women. Modify the movement to accommodate your unique fitness level and limitations.
As always, consult with your own medical doctor before beginning any new movement regimen.
Cool Down Movement Series with Supported Spine:
- Robot Arms
- Around the World
- Crunch and Hold
- Bird Wings
Foam Roller Movement Series with Elevated Hips:
- Knee Circles
- Hip Flexor Stretch
Cool Down Reclined Series:
- Foot Rolls
- Knee Hug
- Human Ball
- Lower Back Stretch
- Hamstring Hug
- Happy Baby
- Adductor (Cobbler’s) Stretch
Sitting on Foam Roller:
- Glute Roll
When rolling, the idea is to try to deeply relax the area you are targeting:
- You’re looking for the sweet spot – the specific place where the muscle feels tight or uncomfortable.
- Then, you roll the area while taking slow deep breaths with the intention of loosening the tight fibers surrounding that particular place.
Narrative Review of Cool Down Effects – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-018-0916-2
Research of Cooling Down Benefits – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Scientific Validation of Cool Downs – https://simplifaster.com/articles/cool-down-exercise/
More Cool Down Ideas – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517