5 EXERCISES THAT HELP TRIATHLETES AVOID INJURY

There are 3 common reasons for triathlete’s susceptibility to injury — inflexibility, inadequate range of motion, and inadequate stability. You can reduce your odds of injury with a specific exercise routine for triathlete self-care. These 5 exercises increase your flexibility, range of motion, and stability.  Shoulder exercises to help prevent and rehab rotator cuff tendonitis.…

These 5 exercises increase your flexibility, range of motion, and stability. 

Shoulder exercises to help prevent and rehab rotator cuff tendonitis.

Shoulder Exercise 1
Doing this exercise helps strengthen your shoulder and prevent injury.

This exercise strengthens the shoulder’s external rotators — the muscles responsible for the overhead reaching and return phase of your swim stroke. 

How to do it

  1. Place a water bottle or similar object between your elbow and your chest to provide stability to your shoulder.
  2. Bend your elbow to 90°. Gently squeeze the water bottle with your elbow to prevent it from falling out.
  3. Slowly press the BACK of your hand into a soft cushion, such as a small pillow or the TheraBand® Mini Ball.
  4. Hold this position for as many seconds as directed. Slowly return to a relaxed starting position.
  5. Use your shoulder to press into the wall with the BACK of your hand, hand in the handshake position.

Repetition

Do this exercise 10 times with a 10 second hold and a 5 second rest between reps.

Shoulder Exercise 2
Doing this exercise prepares your shoulder for the increased strain during swimming.

This exercise strengthens your internal shoulder rotators — the muscles that handle the power phase of your swim stroke. This is where shoulder injuries are most common while swimming.

How to do it

  1. Place a water bottle or similar object between your elbow and your chest to provide stability to your shoulder.
  2. Bend your elbow to 90°. Gently squeeze the water bottle with your elbow to prevent it from falling out.
  3. Slowly press the PALM of your hand into a soft cushion against a wall, such as a small pillow or the TheraBand® Mini Ball.
  4. Hold this position for as many seconds as directed. Slowly return to a relaxed starting position.
  5. Use your shoulder to press into the wall with the PALM of your hand, hand in the handshake position.

Repetition 

Do this exercise 10 times with a 10 second hold and a 5 second rest between sets.

Calf stretch to keep your ankles flexible.
Stretching the calves decreases soreness and increases range of motion.

If you find yourself sore after a run, this stretch is great.

How to do it

  1. Whilst facing a wall, place one foot forward and the other behind you.
  2. Lean towards the wall with your torso, placing your straight arms on the wall while keeping your back leg straight.
  3. Bending your arms, lean your upper body towards the wall, keeping your back leg aligned with your back. Hold this position for a minimum of 30 seconds then switch your feet and stretch the opposite leg.

Repetition

3-5 times after a good run.

Strengthen the inner quadriceps and stabilize the knee joint.
This exercise allows the knee to become stronger for running and cycling.

Use a ball the size of a grapefruit, or a rolled up towel in a pinch.

How NOT to do it.

The above photo shows the improper form for this exercise. The ball below the knee is being squished, and there is no active engagement of the musculature supporting the knee.

How to DO IT CORRECTLY.

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you.
  2. Place a rolled up towel, ball, or like object under your knees.
  3. Lie back and extend your knee by flexing your quad muscles — do one knee at a time — being sure not to compress the towel or the ball.

Repetition

Hold the contraction for 10 seconds for each repetition. Do 5 sets of 10 with10 second holds. Increase the length of your holds as your quads become stronger.

Foam rolling for decreasing soreness and preventing injury.
Using a foam roller over the hips and lower back relieves aches and pains.

Foam rolling also increases blood flow and helps with healing.

Above is a photo of a hip and IT band rolling posture for releasing the outside leg tension.

How to do it

  1. Begin by lying on your right side, body straight, with the foam roller placed under the outer side of your right leg (just below the hip bone).
  2. Use your right forearm as a support for your body, and bring your left leg up in front of your right leg so that your left foot is on the ground.
  3. Your right leg should be fully extended. Lift your right foot off the floor so that your body is balanced on top of the roller.
  4. Using your forearm and your left leg as support, roll up and down your leg from the top of your hip all the way down to the top of your knee.
  5. Once you’ve finished with the right leg, repeat the above steps for your left leg and IT band.

Repetition

Roll out the tension before and after workouts, or any time you’re feeling tight. This method also works for other muscles in the body! Focus on placing the foam roller under tight and sore areas. Roll the roller up and down the muscle, making sure you have good support. 

Training for optimal performance means investing in optimal self-care.

Injuries will take you out of the game. Take the time to work on your flexibility, stability, and range of motion to avoid injury. Triathletes shouldn’t skimp on this very important self-care activity. 

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