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Stretching for Triathlon

Stretch to relieve back pain and improve your triathlon performance

The following stretches are specific to anyone who may suffer lower back stiffness or soreness through the QL joint, glutes, periformis, hamstring, calf or even achilles.

Many triathletes / cyclists in their 30’s and beyond do experience at some stage or ongoing discomfort and tightness through the regions already mentioned. I am one of those and had a terrible time a few years back getting a chronic achilles / calf problem treated. For more than a year I was unable to run the way I wanted to due to this and spent many $’s chasing the fix. Fortunately I came across a good physio that instead of treating my problem as an achilles tendonitis (as symptoms displayed may have had it diagnosed as) he had me running again within 3 treatments and virtually pain free. I was shown 4 specific stretches that totally alleviated the problem and as long as I did these daily was kept relatively free from injury from lower back to heel and everything between. The thing of course is the consistency needed to do these daily. Especially after cycling and running. Adding these following stretches to the normal run / cycle stretches you may already do will certainly give you every chance to stay injury free from the tightness that cycling can cause and having this shortening of the muscles and tendons from your backside and down the back of your legs.


Stretch 1

Find somewhere about waist height – kitchen table is ideal. Stand directly in front of the table and place one leg up on table in a position so that the foot / ankle and knee are lined up (as in the photo’s – put some padding – towel etc under the ankle). Your knee will be raised a little in the air so with this exercise we need to push down on the side (inside of the knee) and exert downward pressure for 15seconds so you feel some stretch or pressure in the glute region. You need to release after 15sec then repeat another 2 times and each further time you should notice the leg able to go a bit further than the previous time. Once you have done 3 times repeat on the opposite leg

Stretch 2

This is a hamstring stretch but will also involve the upper calf and you may feel some stretch into the hips / glutes. Find a kitchen bench (so a bit higher than the previous stretch). Stand square of the bench and a legs length from it, place 1 leg with the heel down (under padding if no shoes on). Lock the leg out through the knee so place pressure down on the knee by also flexing the quad muscles at the same time. Pull your toes on the outstretched leg back towards your knee also through this stretch and hold for 30 seconds or so before repeating on the other leg. Do each leg twice.

Stretch 3

This one stretches the hip flexors which become very tight in triathletes from cycling and running. Find a wall and put some padding down under your knee for this one. The idea is to get your shin of the leg your stretching as close to the wall as you can. You may need to be a little away from the wall to start with if you are tight through the hip region. With your foot hard up against the wall behind you lean back into the wall to increase the stretch – try to hold for 1min for each leg. You should really feel a stretch through the hip flexors at the top of each leg – one may be tigher than the other.

Stretch 4

This one is my favorite – one of the harder ones to do as well. It focuses on stretching the periformis / glute and hip region. Place a mat on the ground and you need to tuck one leg under your body and the other leg needs to go out behind you outstretched – as in the photo’s. This time though you need to place your body weight on top of the hip and glutes. The leg in front of you needs to be quite square, so your ankle and knee line up on the leg doing the stretch. At first though you may need to draw your foot and ankle that are on the ground more back towards you as doing this will allow you to get down more on on the ground with your hip and glutes. Try to square up your shoulders and stretch your arms out on front of you and work on ‘pushing though’ your periformis and glute out behind you of the side being stretched. Hold for 1minute before doing on the opposite leg. One side may be more flexible then the other.

Want to improve your triathlon experience?

Want to improve? To find out more about how Multisport Consultants can help improve your race splits with a specific training program > click here, or if you feel you may require a more personalised training program, contact Multisport Consultants for more details.

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