How to put on a wetsuit for triathlon

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Triathletes out there, this is part 2 of my series on how to put on a wet suit and today we are going to tackle the tougher challenge which is the long sleeve wetsuit.

Now when do I wear a long sleeve? When do I wear a short sleeve? It’s personal preference. I personally tend to use the short sleeve for when the water is kind of on the brink of that 76 degree Fahrenheit cut off where you tend to wear a wetsuit, where I want some buoyancy, some warmth, and
more flexibility for in the water.

I use a long sleeve most of the time though because most of the time I’m swimming in waters that are under 76 degrees or 74 degrees so temperatures.

So temperatures pretty much between 68 all the way up to 74, I would use the long sleeve definitely, for sure. It gives you more buoyancy, you’re more hydro dynamic, and you go faster. Especially for lean athletes, a thick long sleeve wetsuit is especially helpful because you go faster with the buoyancy and your form is better.

Alright, so, first things first, just like in the short sleeve, we are going to fold it down right to the end of the zipper about waist high. Now one thing you want to make sure, make sure you don’t have your watch on. Take your rings off; it might help.

But it will be easier if you have your watch off or any bracelets off to slide into the arms. So just like in the short sleeve we are going to put our left or right foot in and kind of slide it through to the bottom and now you’re kind of stuck here and you are going to take one leg at a time and pull up so the cuff is right above the ankle and we are going to do that for the other one.

It helps if you get it all situated first on one leg and then go to the other leg.

Once again, cuffs should be right above the ankle and now you are going to pull it up, shimmy it up all the way to your waist. To make sure it fits right, you want to make sure the crotch is aligned and your waist is all set.

There shouldn’t be any baggage or slack in the legs. It should pretty much be tight against your quads, calves, and hamstrings.

And now the arms. So first things first, I’m going with my left arm first. I’m going to slide it in and grab kind of grab the excess wetsuit and slide in pulling it up to your arms. There we go. And the wrist, your wrist should pretty much be covered.

You want to pull any excess up and you’re good to go. And now for the other arm. And there we go. Change in the collar. The collar should be right at your collar bone like so and pretty much all slack should be taken out of the arms.

And now to zip up. And once again, it helps to ask someone to zip it up for you, but if you’re solo this is how you do it. Once again, hand at the bottom of the zipper; start it up and zip up making sure any excess is tucked in. And there we are. You’re all set.

Go out into the water. Wade out. Do your workout. Do your race and you’re all good to go.

Now the tricky part is taking it off and in transition two once again if they have strippers definitely use them because it will cut down your T2 times at least by a third if not more.

So once again we are going to take the zip off, take the zipper and pull down.

And now you want to deal with the collar. So one arm at a time, pull off; pull off. One arm you want to pretty much grab at the wrist and slide your hand out like so; take the other arm, slide your hand out and now it should be down to the waist.

Pull down so it’s right about, making sure that you don’t snag your trunks where it’s all in the wet suit and pull your tri-shorts off at the same time.

It does not make a pleasant situation and rather awkward as well. And now you want to take both hands and shimmy it down to your legs and push all the way down to your ankles.

Now take your hands and scoop in towards your ankles and pull off. Same for the right.

And it’s off.

Some people ask me what’s the best type of wetsuit. The best type of wetsuit is the type of wetsuit that fits you the best obviously. It really should fit like a glove and if it doesn’t, you should get a new type of wetsuit.

Brands I like. DeSota is obviously my top choice. I think they have the most flexible, the most, especially in the arms and the shoulders the least chaffing. It feels like you are wearing a regular bathing suit. Other brands if you don’t like them, Tuatoo makes a good one, Sirum makes a really good one.

Other things you might want to consider investing in when you get your wetsuit is Body Glide. Body Glide comes in a little deodorant stick and you want to put it on the parts of the body that are prone to chaffing; so right around the shoulder cuff, lather it on there; the neck definitely and for newer wetsuits this is extremely important because it’s tight so it might chaff a little bit more.

So on your shoulders, some people like to put it on their wrists if you’re wearing a long sleeve. I don’t because I’ve never had chaffing there but some people do.

Another question that I usually get is what do I wear underneath my wetsuit. I do with just basically tri-shorts.

Usually if I’m doing an Olympic, I will wear a speed suit and wear that under, but put whatever you want to race in on your bike is what I wear under my wetsuit. Some people also like to wear their compression tights but I’ve never experimented with that, but if you do it in training and you like it, then do it in the race.

Well, that’s it and if you have any questions, you know my email address so feel free to contact me if you have any.

For more information, contact Chris at

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