Happy Tuesday, #PortaGang!
We've talked about warming up and we've talked about the best way to use some of our holds to get the most from your Porta-Hang set. Today, we're going to hit a topic that many of us just cruise right by during our daily training - the cool down. Specifically, cooling down your finger and hand muscles, not just slowing your heart rate.
Mostly, when we think about cooling down in climbing, we think about letting our heart rate decrease, the pump fade from our arms, and the shakes settle from our legs. Often we don't focus on the real stars of the show - our fingers. Cooling down your fingers is important to prevent the buildup of lactic acid that causes stiffness, sore muscles, and can lead to injury.
For cooling down with the Forbidden Donuts, we recommend only using the green donut. What we want is to slowly allow the muscles and tendons in your hands and fingers to come to rest. The red and black donuts are great for warmups and strength training, but for a cool down, let's stick to green.
A basic cool down is simple and alternates between slow contractions and long stretches.
- 3 slow, gentle squeezes of the green donut. Don't worry about compressing the donut fully, just put some pressure on your fingers.
- 30 seconds in prayer-pose stretch by placing your palms together, fingers together and facing up, and press your palms together until you feel a stretch in your fingers, hands, and through to your forearms.
- Repeat steps one and two three times.
- Make a fist around your ring finger with your opposite hand, squeeze gently, and pull outwards enough to feel a small tug on your finger joints. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat on all of your fingers. The process of creating space in your joints is called traction. It allows your joints to decompress and your muscles and tendons to stretch.
Use this routine after each of your training sessions, and your fingers will thank you in the long run! (Even if it's the silent thank you of an injury you don't get...)
Keep an eye out for upcoming articles with more in-depth cool down and recovery tips, coming up soon!