Triathletes are notorious for being inflexible and on the precipice of injury. Maybe it is the fact that we are doing three sports all of which have repetitive movements and where poor form can have season ending consequences after doing the same move for the billionth time.
I myself visit my chiropractor once a week to do maintenance and “prehab” work, and she shared three stretching exercise including figure 4 and forward lunge stretches that I can and should do quickly after my morning workout, while at work, and before bed to keep me firing on all cylinders.
- Behind the back arm clasps: clasp your hand behind your butt and then flex your shoulder blades together as you push your clasped hand back so that your triceps flex and you feel your shoulders being pinned back. This is great for triathletes because it counteracts the rolled shoulder effect of being in the aero position for extended periods of time. I have found that it also helps with my mobility in the water.
- Figure four: While sitting in your chair take your left ankle and put it over your right knee as if crossing your legs. Now push down on your left knee. Hold for 30s-3min and repeat on the right side. This stretch targets the gluteus medius piriformis, and IT band, all of which have reputations for getting weak and tight in runners and triathletes. The pigeon pose in yoga targets the same muscles but can be hard to do in a public setting without getting odd looks.
- Forward lunge: Lunge forward keeping the back leg straight so you feel your hip flexor. Hold OR for added benefit, twist your trunk from side to side while bracing the core. Repeat on the other side. I like to do this one before and after I run and bike. Because the TT position can force your hip flexors to shorten it is important to stretch them and lengthen them so that our mobility is not compromised. If you work a desk job or drive a lot, then definitely do this multiple times throughout the day.
I chose these three because they target the most common areas that athletes need to focus on. Obviously the list of stretches that you could do is endless so do the stretches that you need to focus on and leave the rest.