Warming Down

Warm-down: Why it’s important and how to stay motivated

Warm-down, sometimes referred to as “cool-down,” is a period of easy swimming after a harder swim workout. This loosen period allows the body to actively recover from your swim.

Interestingly enough, warm-down is the most dreaded part of the workout for many swimmers. The coach has already thrown everything at you and you’re ready to hit the showers and call it a practice. That’s when the coach tells you to swim another 800 yards of “loosen”.

So what are the reasons for warming down? Here are just a few:

  1. Active recovery promotes the breakdown of lactic acid that is built up during the course of the swimming workout and ultimately aids the body’s ability to recover after training.
  2. Lactic acid must be removed from the muscles before recovery can begin; warm-down quickens this process and gives your body more time to recover.
  3. Warm-down provides an easy swimming environment in which to work on stroke technique.

Given the benefits of warm-down, it makes sense to do some loosening after every workout! Here are a couple ways to make warming down more interesting and effective:

  • Work on Drills
    Warm-down is a great time to work on perfecting your technique without the pressures of trying to maintain certain intervals or speeds.
  • Swim with Music
    I guarantee that your warm-down will fly by when you have your favorite tunes to listen to on the SwiMP3.
  • Gear Progression
    Begin with Zoomers, a Swimmer’s Snorkel, and paddles such as the Freestyler Hand Paddles. Gradually remove your gear throughout the warm-down period. Play with some toys that allow you to work on perfect technique as you finish your swim.

Final Note: While at a meet or competition, a proper warm-down is even more important after a race. At least twenty minutes of warm-down is recommended after each race. This often feels like a long time, especially for younger swimmers, but hopefully you can utilize some of the points mentioned above. For example, listen to 4-5 songs on the SwiMP3 instead of setting a watch for 20 minutes. I guarantee that the time will go by much faster and your recovery will be that much more effective.

- Paul