How to Cool Down after a Skating Session

Extra cooling down can be done anywhere - Christina Chitwood at an Obserstdorf, Germany, train station.

Extra cooling down can be done anywhere – Christina Chitwood at a train station in Germany.

Cooling down is very important for competitive skaters. Just getting off the ice after an intense skating workout without any type of cool down can lead to stiffer muscles and joints. This stiffness can lead to injury. Also, stretching and cooling down can help reduce muscle pain and soreness the next day by relieving the tension built up by training.

A short cool down can be helpful for every skater, but the longer and harder you train the more important your cool down will be. I recommend a few cool-down laps at the end of a session or ending with easier elements such as footwork or spins to lower your heart rate. Once you get your skates off, spend 5 to 15 minutes stretching, holding each stretch at least 20 seconds.

Here are the most helpful stretches to do on both legs.

  • Put your leg up in front or to the slide on the skating boards and then reach for the foot for a hamstring stretch.
  • Hold your foot and then bend that leg behind your back for a quad stretch.
  • Bend the front leg and keep the back leg straight for a calf stretch.
  • Flex the front foot up to the board and lean forward for another calf stretch.
  • Split your legs halfway while standing, then bend one leg and lean your body toward the straight leg for a groin stretch.
  • Hold a lunge position for a hip-flexor stretch.
  • Straighten one arm and pull it across your body with the other arm for a shoulder stretch.
  • Bend one arm behind your head and pull it back with the other arm for another shoulder stretch as well as triceps stretch.
  • Bend one wrist back by pulling the fingers of that hand back with the other hand for a wrist stretch.
  • Also, head rolls, body rolls, ankle rolls, and arm- and shoulder rolls are helpful in cooling down.

If you feel comfortable sitting on theĀ groundĀ at the rink, here are a few more good stretches.

  • Reach for your toes with both legs straight while pointing your toes for a good hamstring stretch.
  • Do a straddle split and lean body to both sides and then forward for a hamstring and groin stretch.
  • Lie on your back and keep one leg straight on the ground and then bend the other leg over the top. Twist your body against the bent leg for a back stretch.
  • Turn your front leg out and bend on ground and turn the back leg in on ground. Then lean reach forward over the front leg for a hip-flexor stretch.

These stretches will help you feel more limber and will help improve your flexibility. You get far more from stretching when your muscles are already limber because they can expand farther than when your muscles are cold. Remember, even stretching 5 minutes every day after skating will make a difference in your flexibility.


May 27, 2010