Taking a few minutes to cool down after a mountain bike ride will improve your feeling of wellbeing and your long-term performance, says MTB coach Chris Kilmurray of Point1 Athletic Development.
Here are his five tips for cooling down post-ride.
1. Don’t stretch yet!
Save the static stretching for at least three hours after your ride. Muscular tone, central nervous system activity and other factors mean stretching straight after intense exercise may not be the best idea.
2. The basics
Do five minutes of easy pedalling at the end of your ride, either on the way back or around the car park. You’re looking to slowly bring yourself and your body back to a relaxed and calm state. Add or remove clothing layers as needed.
3. Mobility series
Doing some mobility exercises alongside or instead of the easy pedal is a modern approach. Try marching cradle stretches, slow lunges and bear crawls. Follow up with some deep breathing while lying down with your back flat — and never mind your friends giggling at you!
Do some mobility exercises like slow lunges Philip Sowels / Immediate Media
4. Consolidate skills
There’s new scientific evidence that shows doing low-intensity activity after highly-skilled demanding tasks, like riding your bike on gnarly terrain, will actually increase how many of the new skills you retain. Meaning, the more diligent you are with your cool-downs, the better you’ll get at jumping doubles!
5. Shower time
Try a simple 15/15 contrast shower — that’s 15 seconds of cold water, 15 seconds of warm, alternated eight to 12 times. You can try focusing the jet on sore muscles or go for a total body blast. Best saved for after the longest or toughest rides.