Thursday, April 28, 2011

One thing many recreational triathletes dont touch up on enough..

is Stretching!

Stretching is something that ALL recreational athletes should really work on as I've seen far too many get sidelined after one game.

Stretching is so important to triathlon. Triathlon is not really 3 sports but about 11 or so that go hand in hand. Swimming, biking and running just get showcased at a race as the culmination of maximum effort at all of these foundational steps.

Coming back to stretching, stretching helps keep us injury-free, limber, and maintains proper circulation throughout the body. This is crucial for triathletes because we are training everyday, therefore; tightening our muscles everyday.  Over time this tightness will add up and reduce our range of motion.  Reduced range of motion leads to less powerful movements, less than satisfactory workouts and a higher risk of injuries.  Because of this we MUST MUST MUST stretch at least twice on every day that we workout.

This is so important for not only the race but arguably more important for the workouts leading up to the race.  Less range of motion-->Less efficient/improper technique--->less efficient workouts and possibly injury.  And as many know injury derails training schedules and sometimes races when they get severe.

So with this I hope to hammer home stretching because it is so VITAL in this sport as well as all other sports.

There are two types of stretching:
Static and Dynamic (kind of like engineering physics, with the same overall principle)

Static stretching is the stand-still-and-hold-it kind.  These are preferable when your not about to do a workout, such as before bed, or right after a workout.

For a good static stretch hold the position for AT LEAST 30 seconds.  The reason behind this is that the muscle you are stretching reflexes and does not fully relax due to built-in wiring to protect itself from injury.  Just like a cat exploring new territory, its cautious at first.  After 30 seconds, this reflex relaxes and real stretching can begin. 

Dynamic stretching is the active kind such as doing lunges while emphasizing the stretch in the quadriceps.  These are preferable in the warm-up before a workout.

For a good dynamic stretch do them slowly and ease into the stretch.  DO NOT , absolutely do not "bounce" in your stretches it does not help at all as the muscle contracts more so to protect it self.  Again the nerves help to protect the muscles.  Much like static stretching this reflex arc can be circumvented by easing into it and building up from slow to fast movement in dynamic stretching. 

Key muscles for triathletes are in no particular order

Lower Body:
  • bottom of your feet
  • gastrocnemius (upper calf)
  • Soleus (lower calf)
  • Achilles Tendon
  • Quadriceps (all sides)
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip Flexors

Upper Body:
  • Shoulders
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Triceps
  • Rhomboids: your upper back 
  • Trapezius (traps)
  • Latissumis dorsi (lats)
  • Lower back
 Not all of the specific muscles but most recreational athletes should know the general area of these.

This guy has a good 3 part series on stretching for Triathletes


  1. thanks for the insight. i'm gonna follow for more.

  2. Very good information, thanks

  3. Glad you mention this, because... no one seems to do it anymore, whether it may be the gym, training, or walking the dog

  4. Nice post! Keep up the good blogging!

  5. Will definitely keep this in mind next time I decide to get off my lazy arse and do something. Haha!

  6. Stretching is too often overlooked, I think because people think that since they have limited time to work out/practice they should spend as much time actually working out/practicing.

  7. Kicks and Reachers for ballistic stretching :)

  8. Great videos, I have a friend who's into running and stuff and he always talks about how important stretching is. Great post man.

  9. You are right, stretching is important and too many people forget that.

  10. agree stretching is just as important as the workout

  11. Very good information, thanks

  12. I never realized the importance of stretching until I started really working out last summer and couldn't move my body after day 2.

  13. a lot of people forget the importance of stretching

  14. I did not expect stretching to be THAT important. Thanks for the info

  15. Good info. High school health classes don't go over this stuff.

  16. streching does you go! so go do it!

  17. AWWW :( I hate doing stretches especially before weight lifting. But I'm smart enough to know they are essential at least.

  18. Even just streching can give you tone muscles! :D

  19. Thanks for the tips. Time to workout! :D

  20. I need to work out and get up earlier. Might start soon..

  21. I'm totally gonna institute this before my online gaming. Totally gonna up my game. +followed

  22. If theres one thing zombieland taught me, it was to limber up

  23. I stretch for minimum 10 minutes before exercising. I have to, because my knee hurts if I exercise unstretched.