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Mobility for Triathletes

by My Finish Line


1. Cycling

Even during a relatively small bike ride, there are literally thousands of instances of your hip extending and flexing. Just think that every single time that you press on the pedal you extend your hip on one leg and flex it on the other leg. In the time it would have taken you to read this while cycling you would probably have done it fifteen times. This may be perceived as a good thing as far as ‘loosening’ of the joint so to speak, however there is significant devil in this detail. The range of the movement is very small – you never fully extend or flex the hip flexor – which leads to potential tightening and lack of mobility outside of what is performed on the bike itself. The importance of mobility in this area for cyclists area is self-evident in its importance.

We Suggest: Mobility of the hip on both planes:

1.Lie on your stomach and pull your heel to your bottom thereby fully extending the hip.

2. Lie on your back and pull your knee to your chest thereby fully flexing.

2. Running

Remarkably, one of the more important mobility and strength areas for running coincides with cycling – namely the hip. Cross-sectional analysis of world class elite sprinters have shown that their Illiopsoas muscles can be twice as thick / strong / developed as those of a normal individual. This is useful knowledge if you intend on becoming Usain Bolt or Alyson Felix, however what about us other athletes? The problem lies with one other statistic when it comes to the hip flexor muscle: the average person now spends between 6 and 7 hours per day sitting down. This can lead to detraining, repositioning and weakening of certain muscles – especially around the hip and lower back.

We Suggest: Mobilise at work:

1. Sit on a small Swiss Ball for one hour per day at work. You can hide it under your desk and inflate/deflate with discretion. We have tried it and the results were remarkable when it came to posture.

2. Always ensure after a period of sitting for over an hour that you stand erect for maybe 10-15 seconds before moving on – just to allow the muscles to adapt to your new position.

3. Swimming

Swimming is fantastic FOR mobility. We suggest even those that are not triathletes to incorporate swimming into their activities purely to assist their performances in running and cycling (and even weightlifting) from a mobility perspective. The shoulders, spine, and hips are placed in wonderfully long and strong positions when swimming. Yet even swimmers perform their own regime of mobility prior to diving into the pool, mainly surrounding the trunk and posterior (back) of shoulders.

We Suggest:

1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, and above your head spell the letter ‘W’ with your arms (elbows bent to create this). Then lengthen your arms and your legs so that your body spells the letter ‘Y’. Hold each letter for about fifteen seconds.