Are Exercise Cool-Downs Necessary?

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    Apr 19, 2014 2:53 PM GMT
    NYT “For a long time, the theory was that cooling down by continuing to exercise at a lower intensity would help the legs flush out lactate” and avoid soreness the next day, said Ross Tucker, a South African physiologist and a founder of the website The Science of Sport. “That’s still dogma among many coaches and athletes.”

    But it is a myth. “We now know that lactate isn’t responsible for muscle damage or soreness,” Dr. Tucker said, and cooling down does not rid muscles of it anyway.

    The available scientific evidence shows, in fact, little benefit from cooling down as most of us do it, with a prolonged, slow easing of physical effort. In a representative 2007 study, healthy adults briskly walked for 30 minutes backward on a treadmill set at an incline to simulate going downhill, an activity known to induce sore muscles.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/ask-well-are-exercise-cool-downs-necessary/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hpw&rref=health&_r=0
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    Apr 19, 2014 3:12 PM GMT
    I've been doing CrossFit for the past year now. The exercise couldn't be more intense and yet we never "cool down." We cool down by collapsing on the floor in front of a large box fan. And I've never had any issues from not cooling down.
  • jjguy05

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    Apr 20, 2014 2:00 AM GMT
    Without even reading the NYT article, the summary of the article you posted hits the nail on the head. "Cooling down" has no benefit whatsoever. Soreness is from your muscle repairing itself, especially if you gave it a serious pounding with some new exercise (or exercise you haven't done in a while). It's a good thing, not a bad thing, and I don't understand why some people think it's a bad thing that should [somehow] be avoided.

    And don't stretch before lifting either. At least don't stretch the muscle you're going to work. (you can stretch the opposite if you want, like your back muscles on chest day).

    Ah, the myths we learned in P.E. class.
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    Apr 20, 2014 2:03 AM GMT
    I do not stretch before lifting because you lose strength for the lifting.
  • jjguy05

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    Apr 20, 2014 2:05 AM GMT
    ^^ yep. awesome
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    Apr 20, 2014 3:17 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidI do not stretch before lifting because you lose strength for the lifting.


    I disagree. If I'm going to be doing squats or deadlifts, I'm damn well going to stretch my hamstrings and hips out before I touch the bar. And it does not make you weaker. Anything that allows you to do a full range of motion will likely allow you to lift more, not less.
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    Apr 20, 2014 3:20 AM GMT
    ^ NYT: One, a study being published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a bogglingly comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/reasons-not-to-stretch/
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    Apr 20, 2014 3:26 AM GMT
    I'm well aware of the study. They've been telling people for years not to stretch before working out, but I still don't agree. It's not a black or white answer. I would never stretch my chest before doing bench press for example, but I always stretch before squats or most compound movements.
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    Apr 20, 2014 1:28 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidI'm well aware of the study. They've been telling people for years not to stretch before working out, but I still don't agree. It's not a black or white answer. I would never stretch my chest before doing bench press for example, but I always stretch before squats or most compound movements.


    I honestly think that different things work for different people, and maybe a study like this wouldn't be universal to everyone. What do you think?

    I know I definitely cannot stretch before weighted squats, bench press, ect, but I do have to warm up my body with lower weight and higher reps before doing the real deal.

    For some reason I feel a lot better stretching at the end of my workout but I understand others don't really need it (kinda like what you said). I do dynamic stretches at the beginning though!

    Interesting stuffs! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 20, 2014 3:24 PM GMT
    JumpMan_Josh said
    Scruffypup saidI'm well aware of the study. They've been telling people for years not to stretch before working out, but I still don't agree. It's not a black or white answer. I would never stretch my chest before doing bench press for example, but I always stretch before squats or most compound movements.


    I honestly think that different things work for different people, and maybe a study like this wouldn't be universal to everyone. What do you think?

    I know I definitely cannot stretch before weighted squats, bench press, ect, but I do have to warm up my body with lower weight and higher reps before doing the real deal.

    For some reason I feel a lot better stretching at the end of my workout but I understand others don't really need it (kinda like what you said). I do dynamic stretches at the beginning though!

    Interesting stuffs! icon_biggrin.gif


    Dynamic stretching is still stretching though. A lot of people don't understand the difference between dynamic stretching and doing a stretch in a holding position. My guess is because it can get confusing for a lot of people, they just tell people not to stretch before exercise to be on the safe side. I personally consider dynamic stretching to be crucial before exercise. Here's a good article on the subject: http://www.norcalsc.com/what-is-dynamic-stretching-why-is-dynamic-stretching-important
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

    Posts: 3755

    Apr 23, 2014 12:37 AM GMT
    My cool down is my 15 minute walk from the gym to home.