Don’t Lay Down, Cool Down: A Guide to the Cool Down at Shapesmiths

At Shapesmiths, we warm you up, with general and specific prep work, using the R.A.M.P protocol. In order to maximise training time AND encourage the community hanging out Post-WOD, it’s over to you for the cool down.

We encourage you to grab a class-mate, hang-out and chat whilst you complete an appropriate cool-down.

SO, what to do…simply, a MOVEMENT based cool down, straight after your WOD at Shapesmiths, will begin your body’s recovery process and make your life in the proceeding 72 hours a LOT easier. “Hurrah!” we hear you cry.

Here’s a simple guide to cool-downs, post-WOD.


CrossFit® should not only strengthen your body but also your mind. For sure, take a knee, or have a seat for a minute, but stay off your back. Sprawling out on the ground, as soon as the WOD is done, makes it look like we’ve been defeated rather than strengthened by the workout.  It’s best to keep moving and start the recovery process immediately. Go for a walk outside, put your kit away and then make your cooldown decision from the below.

  1. Shorter, Intense WODs = A longer cooldown. 

Examples; Karen (150 wall balls), Fran (21-15-9 Thrusters & Pull-Ups), Isabel (30 power snatch for time)

If you have just done a short, intense WOD, try and sit on an EchoBike, Rowing Machine or walk for 2-3mins outside.  This will bring the heart rate back down and will help flush the blood around your body and remove any nasty metabolites we don’t want in there.

Then focus on movement.

Some of you cycle to and from the gym. This is an AMAZING way of flushing out and beginning the cool down process. Just be sure to include a little more movement such as couch stretch and pigeon pose, twinned with some lunges, when you get off your bike on the other end.

  1. Longer, steady WODs = A shorter cooldown.

Examples; Chipper-style and most Mental Toughness WODs, Murph (1mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, 1-mile run).

These don’t require as much cooling down, as you will have been moving at a consistent pace, without an overly spiked heart rate.  Instead purely focus on movement (see below for more info).

  1. Use Movement, Because Movement > ‘Mobility’/Stretching/Foam Rolling in your cooldown.

The advantage of performing a movement based cooldown is the promotion of oxygenated blood flow into the muscles. This clears out the waste products of training whilst also keeping the muscles understanding the motion that you are trying to restore.

If you can add in some multi-directional, tri-planar motion to your cool down via lunges + reaching. You can even work with a partner and combine a few sets of 10 lunge plus med ball pass to one another. This will help promote the muscles to glide over each other in different directions, thus providing enough friction to help remove some of the adhesions and trigger points caused by repetitive movements, that can occur in day to day life, and in the gym.

Adhesions can form in the areas and directions that the muscles are not being moved in, due to a lack of blood flow and fluid to the area. Trigger points can form in muscles that are repeatedly moving in the same direction due to overload and hypersensitivity. 

   5. Repeat what you know from the RAMP

If the above isn’t your jam, you can simply REPEAT the AM) section of our RAMP warm up. That’s the Activation and Mobility section. It should be fresh in your mind and easy to work through.  Head to the dedicated stretching area upstairs on the mezzanine with a class mate and catch up whilst cooling down.

A Note on Foam Rolling.

Foam rolling feels really nice. It really does. It can be a nice way of self massaging post workout too. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the following though:  If you have been foam rolling the same areas, time and time again, for weeks or months, it is indicative that your mechanics aren’t changing for the better. The same areas are likely becoming overworked and hypersensitive for some reason.  Essentially by foam rolling you are treating the symptom not the cause and the foam roller is the paracetamol.

The reasons for the overworked muscles and hypersensitivity can be specific to an individual’s movement mechanics. SO, seeking advice from The Livewell Clinic is recommended to get things checked over and ironed out. It’s very possible that we can address mechanical issues and optimize your cool down. This dual approach can be to the point and very successful.

Certainly, the foam roller can help with the removal of waste products in the body as described above. But we would urge you to limit your time on the roller to 3-5:00 maximum. Whilst laying on the floor you are not spending your time optimally.  When you consider that improving human function in motion is our priority as a CrossFit® gym a whole body movement-based approach to your cooldown is best.

SO, when it’s time to cool down, don’t lay down.  Much love, everyone!