Cool, Cool, importance of the Cool Down
So you of course did your warm up before you climbed, oh you didn’t well check out this link to get the benefits of a warm up. After you have read that make sure you incorporate the warm ups in your regular pre-climbing routine. You enjoyed your climb and now it is time to down before you pack everything up and leave. Just as the name implies a cool down is meant to lower your body back to a healthy normal state instead of a quick drop from a period of high activity to little to no activity. Benefits are helping you recover faster, and to become more flexible.
When doing a cool down you want to target your heart rate through easy non strenuous physical activity. Stretching is great for this and it benefits you in more ways than one. Engaging in a stretch that targets your worked muscles dissipates the lactic acid that builds up. Lactic acid will increase the PH balance in the cells which decreases the effectiveness of enzymes involved in cellular metabolism. What this means is that your muscles will take longer to repair.
When stretching you should be doing static stretches for about 12-30 seconds. This will help build stronger muscles flexibility and joint mobility. When the muscles get to tight it may lead to tightness which may cause problems elsewhere. For example a tight pectoral can supinate the shoulder which limits mobility. Make an assessment of your body while doing the cool down to figure out what is fatigued, tight, or sore. Make sure you are stretching those places you find and you are doing them correctly. It will suck if you get injured off the wall because of improper stretching techniques.
Yes it may sound a little critical that I am saying you are stretching wrong. Well I’m not there to see but if I were I could tell you. If you feel like you need some knowledge on how to stretch and target specific muscles check out some of my stretching videos. Most people are misinformed about proper stretching so I suggest quickly looking over the articles and videos on Strength Climber, we want to make better climber with smarter training.
You can also perform some self myofascial massage techniques using a roller, lacrosse ball, or any other specific tool used. They will help displace that lactic acid as well. When in conjunction with stretching these tools become awesome to take you to the next level.