Q: Do I really need to do a cool-down after a workout?
A: Yes! The cool-down is one of the most important parts of your workout. It’s what helps your body transition into a recovery state—the time when your strength and size gains actually occur.
Instead of finishing your workout with your heart still pumping out of your chest, take five to 10 minutes to focus on bringing your body to a resting state. That will help your heart rate and body temperature gradually lower back to normal. While you do this, work on your mobility, either by performing static stretches or doing exercises with the foam roller (or both). This will help your muscles relax and lengthen, increasing blood flow to help remove the toxins that build up in your muscles during exercise.
Focus on the muscle groups you trained during your workout—or, if you’re coming off a practice or a game, stretch and roll major muscle groups like the hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, upper back and chest.