When considering stretches for a particular sport, we have to look at the movement requirements we have. In the case of triathlon, we have to improve fully-body movement and mobility because the sport requires use of all limbs.
Dynamic Lunge and Ankle Reach Stretch
This is particularly effective because it trains the body through movement (the lunge and knee flexion pattern) which is fundamental to running and cycling. It’s also an excellent way to introduce trunk mobility into a movement, a key aspect of swimming. It’s a great way to bring about rotation in the movement without being too aggressive at first.
Shoulder Rotation Work
The key point with dynamic stretches of the shoulder is that in the early stages, they shouldn’t be aggressive – the point here is to warm up, not stretch the tissues too far. In these exercises there is a level of trunk stability maintained, whilst the shoulders move from a static point. In the warm-up this is important – the idea is to gradually improve range of movement.
These exercises help to mobilise the thoracic spine – a key part of the upper back and neck. On first glace these might not seem relevant, but they’re fundamental to preventing the kind of back and neck issues which can cause real concern for cyclists . By mobilising the thoracic spine we can improve rider position, comfort and reduce injury risk.
Multi-Planar Dynamic Hip Flexor Stretch
The lower back and hips are fundamental to the triathlon disciplines – as the junction between the upper and lower body we need to ensure the hips are sufficiently warm and mobile. Stiff hips will affect running, swimming and cycling efficiency and technique.
Dynamic Hamstring Stretches
These series of exercises warm up the hamstrings and the hips, so they have a double benefit. They’re a dynamic movement that benefits both the flexion and extension of the lower limbs from the hip joint. This movement is fundamental to running, cycling and swimming so is a perfect dynamic stretch for triathletes.
3D Dynamic Quad Stretch
The advantage of a dynamic stretch over a static stretch is the fact that it is movement based, so this means you can increase the mobility of a joint through its entire range of motion. This 3D stretch initiates movement based mobility in multiple directions, which will have clear performance and injury-prevention benefits.
Dynamic Hip and Glute Stretch
We can’t think about lower body dynamic stretches for triathletes without considering glute stretches. The gluteal muscle group is fundamental to performance and injury prevention – tight glutes will impact force production and cause knee and lower back pain, so they have to be sufficiently mobile ahead of exercise.
More commonly associated with yoga studios than dynamic stretches for triathletes, the cobra is an excellent trunk and abdominal stretch. The additional benefit of the cobra stretch is the extension of the lower back, which is opposite to the position the back will find itself in during the cycling element of the race.