“Cooling Down” During the CrossFit Open

You all know the anticipation of Open season – excitement, curiosity and a bit of anxiety. Plus, you’re out there living your best life outside of CrossFit; relationships, family obligations, work. All of this daily stress can take a toll on your health and performance. Here are some easy ways during the Open to help reduce stress and improve recovery to maximize your athletic potential.


  • “Heating” inversions like handstand push-ups are great to build strength and increase blood flow for energy. However, “cooling” inversions can be really helpful to activate our parasympathetic nervous system and relax and unwind. An inversion technique such as legs up the wall, shoulder stands, or even a basic forward fold, can help after workouts and at the end of your day to reduce your stress and improve circulation.

Get Enough Sleep! 

  • Recent studies recommend 7-8 hours a night for adults, however, most of us only get 6. Sleep hygiene is important! Read up on further tips on our Body Gears blog here.

Deep Breathing 

  • Everyone knows breathing is extremely important during your workouts, but specific breathing techniques after and throughout the day can be extremely beneficial. Try this technique after your workout or first thing when you get home at the end of the day to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and assist with relaxation:  
  • Inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat for at least 1 minute but as long as you want to increase feelings of well-being and relaxation. 


  • While the verdict is still out on the effectiveness of Epsom salt baths (we aren’t really sure if magnesium gets absorbed through the skin), baths can be an excellent way to relax at the end of the day or to soothe sore and tight muscles. If you’re experiencing joint pain or an injury, a cool bath can help reduce inflammation. At the very least, baths – and Epsom salts – feel good and help you chill out!  
  • Magnesium deficiency is more common than you think. Supplementing with a powder magnesium (ie magnesium citrate) can help reduce muscle tension, assist your digestive system, and help you feel calm and relaxed. 

While using some or all of these techniques will help to improve your performance, remember to listen to your body! Rest and nutrition are as important as your training and workouts!  

Written by: Dr. Elizabeth Galdi, PT, DPT, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer

As always, consult with your Licensed Physical Therapist for individualized advice. For those in Illinois, visit your PT immediately without a prescription or referral.

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