Updated: Sep 30
If you're competing the St. Jude Ironman 70.3 Triathlon here in Memphis, you're coming to the end of a long and rewarding journey. Your body has done amazing things over the past few months, and it's time to start thinking about recovery.
We're here to show you exactly what you can do to have an active recovery following the triathlon.
In a perfect world, you would spend a few minutes after each training session to work on improving mobility to increase muscle performance and reduce the risk of injury. But training can be time-intensive, and it's easy to let accessory work fall by the wayside. We get it.
Below are some of our favorite active recovery movements that are specific to triathlon athletes.
Use these to work on the specific areas that you may find to be a bit of a struggle after such intense training and performance.
Instead of wondering if you're wasting your precious time doing pointless work, here are some specific things you can work on to maximize your effort.
Running is a quad-dominant activity, so work on stretching out the quads, but be sure to pay attention to the position of the low back and pelvis. Keep the tailbone tucked and ribs slightly drawn down - like you were blowing out birthday candles.
2. Z Sits
It's common for runners to also become tight through their hips. The next exercise works both on hip rotation and strength and is a great way to open the hips and keep them strong through their full mobility.
When doing this exercise be sure to keep the trunk as upright as possible. If you can't access this position, you can bolster the hips by using a few blankets, pillows, or a yoga block. Try to keep your knees bent to 90 degrees and ankles at 90 degrees. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
After a training on the bike, you've been bent in a forward position for a while. We want to focus on opening into back extension and opening the tight muscles of the hips.
In a plank position, drop one knee to the ground. Be sure to keep the back in neutral - DON'T ARCH THE BACK! Shift your weight to the bent knee. Again, be sure that the back is not rotating. Sit back into the hip until you feel a good stretch in the glute. Squeeze the glute for 5 seconds and relax. Adding in isometrics helps to calm the muscle and improve activation.
Leaving the hips down, press the upper body up allowing the abdomen and low back to stretch.
Trunk rotation and shoulder mobility are both very important in swimming. Tightness in the lats which is your huge “pulling” muscle can often restrict mid-back, shoulder, and hip mobility. Be sure you spend a couple of minutes opening the latissimus dorsi after a swimming.
Sitting on the heels, reach the elbow to the opposite knee. Reach through the arm stretching the mid-back and then reverse, turning up towards the ceiling.
Sitting back on the heels, rest the forearms on a foam roller. Straighten the arms out and allow the chest to fall towards the floor. Be sure not to round the mid-back. Imagine the mid-back is extending as if you were leaning back over a chair. Allow your mid-back and shoulders to stretch, then try to keep the elbow straight and lift the arm. Alternate each arm and then relax deeper into the stretch.
You've come to the end of a long and rewarding journey, and we at 901PT are in your corner to help you stay healthy and strong for the long run.
If you have any questions or concerns about these stretches or a particular area of tightness or pain, we'd love to hear what's going on and help you figure out your best next step.