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Go With the Flow

Provide a real service to students by taking the time to lead them through a solid, complete cool-down.

We want every class we teach to be well-rounded and efficient, and yet we often shortchange participants by neglecting the much-needed cool-down/flexibility segment. Let your students know how important it is to gradually cool the body. Keep them focused all the way to the end with creative variety. The following cool-down keeps things interesting by combining rhythmic movement, balance and flexibility.

Rhythmic Movement

  • Start with slow marching, consciously pressing feet into ground from toe to heel.
  • Add shoulder rolls; walk feet out to a wide stance.
  • With hips, knees and toes open, lunge right (R) and left (L).
  • Sweep arms overhead, creating a “rainbow” from side to side. Add a circular motion at bottom of arm sweep on each side, to create a figure eight.
  • Come to center, bring hands to heart, squat slowly 4x, press fingertips to ceiling and lift rib cage each time you stand.
  • On final squat, circle arms, place them on thighs and move into spinal stretches. Use a full 8 counts to “melt” down through chest; then round up through spine.
  • Inhale—arms up, and exhale—arms down. Repeat a few times.
  • On final exhalation, slide feet together and bring hands to heart.

Balance and Flexibility

  • Inhaling, raise right knee and press fingertips to ceiling.
  • Exhaling, open arms parallel to ground, palms up.
  • Inhaling, scoop hands alongside body, hinge forward from hip, and press right heel to back wall. To best of your ability, move torso parallel to ground.
  • Exhaling, tip torso upright, and return to start.
  • Repeat on opposite side.
  • After challenging both sides 2x, return to side lunges, 8x.
  • On final lunge to R, hold position, and reach L arm overhead to go into extended side-angle pose, lengthening side of torso.
  • Hold lunge stationary, and change arms.
  • Place L hand on low back for support, reach R fingertips to ceiling, and go into reverse warrior pose.
  • Flow back and forth between the two poses, finishing in extended side angle; hold for 10–15 seconds.
  • Come up on L toe, and turn into a runner’s stretch (pyramid pose).
  • With hips, knees and toes aligned, face R (lower chest to thigh and fingertips to floor, if possible).
  • In one large movement, sweep arms back, then forward and up, lengthening torso, 4x.
  • On final sweep, reach arms forward, and slide L foot in and underneath body.
  • Do a basic hamstring stretch with right leg extended.
  • Face front for 4 spinal stretches.
  • Begin side lunges, L lead.
  • On final lunge to L, hold position and repeat above sequence, beginning with extended side-angle pose.
  • Finish with deep breaths to center the body and close the class.

Thank participants for coming, congratulate them for doing something wonderful for their bodies, and invite them back!

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Kimberly Spreen

Kimberly Spreen is the national director of group fitness and education for Life Time Fitness, a premier ÔÇ£healthy way of lifeÔÇØ company that operates over 80 centers across the United States. She is a member of the IDEA program director committee, one of Exercise TVÔÇÖs star trainers, and has been featured in several exercise videos. Kimberly travels the world as a presenter, educator and motivational speaker. Certifications: ACE, AFAA

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