Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Functional Realizations of a Triathlete

I've been participating in the sport of triathlon now long enough to come to a few realizations. When I   train for the longer distances (70.3 and beyond) a few things happen. And with each passing year, these deficiencies become more pronounced. As a orthopedic PT, I thought I would share some of my realizations and helpful tips! Enjoy!

1. I can no longer do a squat. My hip flexors and achilles become so tight and gritty that it's almost impossible to keep them supple with the long hours of swimming, biking, and running. I definitely could do a better job at preventing this. You want to laugh even harder? Watch Heidi try an overhead squat :)

2. I become skinny-fat. My muscle tone diminishes and although I get thinner overall- there is just this odd layer of skinny-fatness. Going along with that, my once perky glutes turn into a flat board which just adds protrusions. 

3. I end up with weird- itis's. Again poor job on my behalf. But once they start, I eventually start mobilizations after it's too late. Bring on the bandaid aka kinesio tape. 

4. I definitely can't do a push-up. Goodbye upper body strength and forget my core to stabilize the push-up. 

5. My core and glute strength are MIA. 

Yah so what? We all know these things. Amidst the heavy-long hours of training, common sense, solid core/glute strength, and general mobility are thrown out the window. As triathletes if it's not scheduled on Training Peaks or if it doesn't get your heart rate up- it doesn't happen.  Right????

So what is there to do about it?

1. Mobilize! Mobilize Mobilize! Take a few minutes before bed or while you are watching TV, and bust out a lacrosse ball, foam roller, or torture stick. Treat it like your own special little massage. (Ok maybe painful massage)-- but alll it takes is 10 quick minutes before bed time. Maybe focus on a different area every day. (Day 1 Shoulders Day 2 Quads/ITB Day 3 Thoracic Spine Mobility Day 4 Ankle Mobility) 

2. Equate mobility with speed. If your aren't achieving full and proper range of motion with your swim stroke, pedal stroke, or you stride-you are missing out on speed! Ready to get over that plateau?

3. Try incorporating an active warm up before your swim, bike, and run to focus on both strength deficiencies and mobility. This will help improve your form for the workouts to follow and again increase both speed and efficiency. 

4. Try doing core and glute work on your lunch break. Take that 1hr break in the day that just never seems long enough for a full blown workout to work on some small muscle groups like your core, glutes, or scapular stabilizers. Hey maybe even try some squats! This is especially crucial for you cubicle monkeys. Other quick and dirty exercises could include clam shells, bridges, planks, or maybe some pushups? Be creative! 

5. Stuck in the car or on a plane? Mobilize! There are lots of evil, evil things you can do with a lacrosse ball in the seated position. Sounds dirty right?

Good Luck! And you can thank me later :) More to come on specific triathlete mobility! 

1 comment:

  1. As much as coaches say to lay off strength as your training inceases i find i have to lay on the prehab and muscle activation sort of strength work with my longer training. Glutes and Core only activate if I functionally get them to GO prior to a run. And doing dynamic warmups as you get older well....just keep doing them. Great Post Heidi!!