Why bother with the “Cool Down”?
I just wanted to write a post and open up a dialogue about why there has been an increase in post work out cool downs including core strengthening exercises (heads up this is a lengthy post).
As much as I’d love to say this is going to get you abs...this is not the focus for including these exercises. In our Level One CrossFit certification there is a large focus on “core to extremity”, meaning the development of the core is essential to ensure proper movements, in lifting but also things like wall walks, t2b, etc. Keep in mind that core is not just your abs but everything that supports and stabilizes your midsection, including your spine and your internal organs.
"Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles" (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
This being said, do you find that when you deadlift you have a round back? Or when you wall walk you can't quite keep your pelvis pressed up, and it drops drown? Or how about in your push press or push jerk, when you start increasing your weight you find your pelvis shifts too far forward or too far back? Or when one of us coaches yell "keep your core tight!"...you think, what the heck are they talking about (confused face)? If you find yourself struggling with any of the things mentioned above, maybe it’s time to take a step back and focus on your core, and not think why am I not strong enough or why can't I do this.
Once our core breaks during a movement we lose our neutral spine, and it is almost inevitable, that the movement as a whole will suffer as well. Mayo Clinic (2017) notes that "Weak core muscles can lead to more fatigue, less endurance and injuries. Weak core muscles can also leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. Strengthening core muscles may also help improve back pain".
So what's the moral of the story? Please try to make the 5-10 minutes in your day at the end of your workout (which is often within the hour class) to complete the simple cool down exercises. But hey, don't stop there! We encourage you to ask the coaches for advice and suggestions on things you can add into your routine pre and post workout to be healthier and safer. If you do find yourself struggling with training and staying healthy you can always book a session or a few sessions with any of the coaches to devise a specific plan of attack to get you back on track and training with a purpose!
- Coach Katelyn