|Stretching after a hard workout.|
Similar injuries can happen if you don't do a proper cool-down after an intensive workout. Your expanded muscles need to slowly cool-down. If you immediately go from exercising to complete rest, you will end up with muscle cramps.
Follow these guidelines for warm-up and cool-down to ensure that you enjoy your exercises and remain injury-free.
1. FOR CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUTS
If you are doing cardiovascular workouts such as running, cross-trainer, elliptical etc. the warm-up and cool-down will be slightly different compared to resistance workouts.
1.1. WARM-UP FOR CARDIO: Generally speaking, you don't need to do specific warm-up exercises when doing cardio workouts. For example, if you are going to do running, than your warm-up portion could be a brisk walk and/or a light jog for around 5 minutes to ensure that your muscles are warmed-up before you start your run. No specific stretching exercises are required. However, if you want to do some stretching exercises, there is no harm is doing some - provided you do them after a brisk walk or a jog.
You can do these 5 lunge workouts before your run to get all your leg muscles nice and warm. REMEMBER: If you choose to do them, do so only after a 5-minute brisk walk or a jog.
1.2. COOL-DOWN FOR CARDIO: Stretching after a hard run is very important!!. Do not go from running to a complete rest, otherwise you will end up with muscle cramps. Your cool-down should be a light jog or a brisk walk for 5 minutes followed by some stretching exercises that target your quads and your tendons.
This is an excellent video demonstrating cool-down exercises that are ideal after a hard run.
2. FOR RESISTANCE WORKOUTS
Warm-up and cool-down is different for resistance workouts, and will depend on the type of resistance workout that you plan to do. For example, some people may focus on just 1 or 2 muscle groups during their entire workout while others may do a full-body resistance workout. My general rule of thumb for warm-up and cool-down when doing resistance workout is as follows:
2.1. WARM-UP FOR RESISTANCE WORK: Do a 10-minute cardio-workout, usually jogging or on an elliptical machine. The elliptical is ideal for warm-up because it works both the upper and lower body. I prefer to do jogging - simply because I love jogging.
In addition to the cardio, I do specific warm-up for each resistance workout. For example, if I am doing a 120 pound bench-press (currently my max limit), I do a warm-up set of 6 reps with 60 pounds (50% of my max capacity) before going for the maximum weight of 120 pounds.
2.2. COOL-DOWN FOR RESISTANCE WORK: My cool down after a resistance workout session is to do stretches and a 5-minute jog or a brisk walk.
The following exercises can also be used for both warm-up and cool-down when doing resistance workouts.
That's all for now.