Trainers Love These 11 Cool-Down Exercises & Stretches For After A Workout

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The best cool-down exercises and stretches to do after a workout.


A cool-down is a low-intensity exercise and stretch period that happens after a workout. These moves promote recovery, reduce your risk of injury, and get your body back to a resting state, says trainer Lalitha McSorley, PT. Here, 11 cool-down exercises and stretches to try.



Walking lowers your heart rate and breathing to pre-workout levels, says trainer Michael Hamlin, making it a great cool-down.

- Walk at an easy pace, indoors or out.

- Continue strolling for five to 10 minutes.

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Child’s Pose

Trainer Natalia Cordero recommends this calming yoga pose to reduce stress hormones in your body post-workout.

- Kneel on a mat with knees under hips.

- Sit back onto heels.

- Fold forward, extend arms in front of you.

- Rest forehead on mat.

- Hold for 30 seconds.


Downward Dog

Try this move to release tight hamstrings on leg day, says Hamlin.

- Place your hands on the floor.

- Step legs back.

- Lift hips to downward dog.

- Relax head and neck.

- Press one heel down and then the other.

- Alternate pedaling heels.

- Repeat for 30 seconds.


Tricep Stretch

Hamlin recommends this cool-down move after an upper body workout.

- Bring one arm up and over your head.

- Bend elbow, lower hand toward shoulder blades.

- Use other hand to press on elbow, deepen stretch.

- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

- Switch arms.

- Repeat 2-3x.



A gentle pedal after a sweaty bike ride or quad workout always feels right, Hamlin says.

- Pedal on a bike at an easy pace, indoors or out.

- Continue for 5 to 10 minutes.


Cobra Stretch

This is a good stretch for your abs and core.

- Lie on stomach, hands under shoulders.

- Push up with arms, keep hips on ground.

- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

- Release.

- Repeat 2 to 3 times.


Hip Flexor Stretch

This cooldown move is ideal if your hips feel tight after exercise, Hamlin says.

- Step one foot forward.

- Lower back knee to ground.

- Lean forward slightly, back straight.

- Hold 15 to 30 seconds.

- Switch sides.

- Repeat 2 to 3 times.


Foam Rolling

McSorley suggests a quick foam rolling sesh to reduce soreness and improve circulation.

- Use a foam roller to massage different muscle groups.

- Roll out your back, legs, glutes, and arms.

- Spend 1 to 2 minutes on each muscle group.



This yoga move will release tension in your back and improve flexibility, says Hamlin.

- Get on hands and knees.

- Arch back, look up at ceiling.

- Round back, tuck chin to look down.

- Slowly repeat 10 times.


Shoulder Stretch

Cordero is a fan of this stretch to relieve shoulder stiffness after a workout.

- Bring right arm across your chest.

- Use left hand to gently pull your right arm in.

- Feel stretch in shoulder.

- Hold 15 to 30 seconds.

- Switch sides and repeat 2 to 3 times.

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Quad Stretch

This classic stretch is a good go-to after a run or round of leg exercises.

- Stand with feet hip-width apart.

- Bring one foot behind you, grab ankle.

- Pull foot toward butt.

- Hold 15 to 30 seconds.

- Release and switch legs.

- Repeat 2 to 3 times.

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