5 best stretches for triathletes
Important stretches for triathletes
Here are five great stretches that will serve you perfectly in terms of all your triathlon needs. Have a go at these and see how much they help your training and performance.
Written by Will Clarke
Will is a British triathlete. He's a former U23 World and European Champion, competed at Beijing 2008 and has twice been British national champion. He now competes on the World Ironman 70:3 circuit.
Calf foam roller
The foam roller is a great tool for self-massage and stretching. I was never that into it in the past because I found it rather awkward to hold the positions required. However once I learned how to do it properly I find it to be the only way of getting on top of particularly tight muscles, which for me are my calves. When you are using it on any muscle begin at the ankles and work your way up by rolling two inches forward and one-inch back. Use a rhythm that is nice and slow, and DON'T tense up your muscle as this is cheating and won't allow you to get deep into the muscle fibres.
The stretch I’ve chosen is by far the best quad stretch and I've been using it since I began in sport. It beats the standard foot grab stretch because you can use much more leverage to get a more powerful stretch down your quad and hip flexor. Kneel down on one knee and take your foot in your hand pulling it towards your bum. You can pulse forward to get the ultimate stretch from there.
The glutes can be an awkward muscle to stretch especially when you're tired and the last thing you want to do is body work. However, this one is a good exercise because you get to relax and watch TV while you do it. Lie on your back with your knees at 90’ to a wall. Then put one foot over your knee and push your knee out for 15 seconds and then pull your knee in for 15 seconds.
Hamstring and glutes TT stretch
I like to think that I pretty much invented this one for myself when I was getting used to time trialling! I wasn't that mobile in my lower back and glutes when I first started out so this was a nice mobility stretch to do before a race or key session. Your staircase at home is a good place to do this because of the different levels you have to choose from. Take a nice wide slit squat stance and lower your back knee to the ground which will stretch your hip flexors, glutes and hamstring all at once. This is designed to help make you feel that much lower and mobile when cycling.
This is another nice way to loosen up your lower back but it is also more neural. If that is one of the things that is limiting your movement then it's really useful to address it. Find a high seat, maybe a worktop or a bench, then completely slump over, head dropped and lift each leg up one at a time horizontally as far as you can. You'll feel a nervy feeling in your lower back and hamstring. Repeat 10 times.
With all of these stretches the important thing to remember is consistency. I have stretched every night during my triathlon career and it leaves you feeling mobile, loose and goes a long way to keeping injuries at bay. I really hope you find it helpful and remember you can incorporate these beauties into your regular routine. Happy stretching!