We continue to look at corrective exercises that athletes need to perform on a regular basis to increase stability, build balance and function and can tremendously assist in reducing injury in the sport of triathlon.
2. Plank/Side Plank – This might be the most important exercise for triathletes. We need stability and stiffness in our lower lumbar region. If we are unstable our low back will get unwanted movement, thus causing low back pain. There are many repetitive movements in swimming, biking and running. You are continually doing the same thing over and over which can cause asymmetries in the body. Having a stable core means that your body will be able to release power throughout your hips and shoulders more efficiently. The plank effectively trains all of the stabilizing muscles in your body, from your shoulders, through your spine, to your hips and ankles. The plank is a very simple but efficient exercise. You do not have to hold a plank longer than 45 seconds for it to be effective. Start out by holding a plank or side plank for 15 seconds and perform two sets. Build to 4 sets of 30 seconds. Once you have mastered this progression, elevate your feet on a bench or box. You must maintain a straight body, braced abdominal region, and stiffness through the exercise. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and directly underneath your shoulders and keep your forearms straight out in front of you.
3. Deep Squat to Hamstring stretch – This is a powerful exercise. This will help loosen up your ankles, open up your hips and stretch your hamstrings. Triathletes get very tight in their hips and hamstrings from constant biking and running. This exercise done everyday will enhance ankle mobility, hamstring flexibility and hip mobility. Make sure to keep your chest up and back flat, keep heels on the floor and keep your elbows inside of your knees during the squat. As you go into the hamstring stretch, push your hips up and keep a straight back until your feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Start off by doing five full repetitions of this movement.