Stay Cool!

cool-down stretch. Gettyimages

You just finished your heart-pounding, fat-blasting kettlebell workout. Your legs feel heavy, your arms are tired and you have most likely left a pool of sweat on the ground. Great job! Now you are ready to kick your feet up with a nutritious meal and start your recovery, right?

Not so fast!

Before you leave the gym or your “courage corner”, it is important to take at least 5-10 minutes to decompress and deactivate your body from the hard kettlebell workout you just completed.

A well-constructed kettlebell workout has 3 phases. First, you must prepare your mind and body for the work ahead with a warm-up (the Preparation Phase)  Next, you do your kettlebell workout, swings, presses, squats, etc (the Workout). Finally, you have to bring the body and mind back to a more normal, resting state with a thorough cool-down (the Final phase). 

Why Cool-down? 

Just as it is unwise to jump directly into your workout without first gradually warming your muscles and heart to get them ready for the more intense kettlebell training, It is likewise a bad habit to finish your kettlebell training session without first cooling down. 

A cool-down is like a reversal of the warm-up. During the kettlebell portion of your workout, your heart rate is rapid and there is an increase in activation of the nervous system and circulation of blood and hormones. To stop cold, such as to sit or collapse on the ground after your final gut-busting or heart-racing kettlebell reps, can actually cause some health complications, especially if repeated over the long term.

In some cases, there can be pooling of blood in your veins from the high increase of activity during the workout. Long term, this blood-pooling may cause health problems in some people and may cause dizziness or fainting. A cool-down allows the body to recirculate the excess blood pooling and restore normal circulation.

It takes your body approximately 3 minutes before realizing that it doesn’t need to keep pumping all the blood to your muscles that is needing during the intense exercise. A cool-down period should be a minimum of 3 minutes, and preferably 5-15 minutes. 

The cool-down period gradually reduces your heart rate, helps to decompress some of tightness or cramps in your tissues and allows the nervous system to deactivate and calm down. 

By allowing time to warm-up before kettlebell training and cool-down afterwards, you will help to prevent unnecessary injuries and reduce muscle soreness. If you are sore the next day after your kettlebell workout, a light warm-up before and cool-down after is a good way to reduce any lingering muscular tightness and soreness, and can be performed by itself even on non-kettlebell training days.  

Here are some good options for the cool-down:



Qigong (breathing exercises)


Steam room


A brisk walk

Joint mobility exercises



A light jog

Any of these options or combination of several can be a suitable way to relax your body after a hard kettlebell training and help you recover easier, while bringing your body back to a steady state.

The cool-down invites fresh blood and helps with lactic acid removal, while reducing your heart rate back to a resting pulse. It also will help you to unwind after the intense kettlebell workout and ease your transition back to your normal level of activity. Always be “cool” and save a few minutes for a cool-down . 

Continue Reading