October 09, 2017 - Triathlon obviously involves 3 sports. Each sport has its own nuances and techniques. Your body will move differently and require different forms of strength and control to really be proficient at all three sports. Here we outline a couple of the key movements the body uses as a foundation in triathlon. We also outline 3 key exercises selected specifically for triathletes.
Success in swimming, biking, and running is based on a few factors that impact our movement capacity.
--Pelvic Stability: The ability for your legs to transfer power into a pedal or the ground is directly correlated to how stable your pelvis (hips) is. More stable = more power.
--Hip extension: Helps to drive your leg backwards or down. One of the biggest factors when it comes to running economy. Power generated by running is the cool new thing. The data means nothing if the power is not coming through our hip extension and the power from our gluteal muscles.
--Hip Flexion: Helps to pull your leg upwards / forwards. Triathletes spend a lot of time (> 50%) in a hunched over aero position. The ability to generate power efficiently on the bike in “aero” is impacted largely by limited hip flexion.
--Trunk / Rotary Stability: Simply the connection between your shoulder and hips relative to how your core controls movement here. Many triathlons last well over the span of 5 Hours. During this time your trunk & rotary stability allows you to maintain posture and proper biomechanics. Lack of stability = leakage of energy.
Key Exercises that specifically improve the ranges and control in these movements. (Click on title for video)
1-- The Goblet Squat: The goblet squat utilizes multiple movement qualities; trunk stability, pelvic stability, and hip flexion. When performed effectively, all movement patterns are being taxed simultaneously, helping us generate power via Extension. Hugely beneficial in cycling / running.
2-- The Star Lunge: is a great tool that requires high movement quality. The Star lunge forces you to control rotation, hip extension and flexion, trunk stability as well as transfer of weight and balance. The multiple planes of motion used here really force to brain to dial in your body control. The key here is to move slowly and control each phase of the star lunge. One of the most versatile exercises that enhances cycling and running immensely
3-- Lat Pull to Tricep Extension This exercise might be new to you. Done kneeling on cable resistance machine, using a tricep rope. Done with a slight forward lean, you start overhead and pull down into a tricep extension. The forward lean forces you to use your trunk (hips and core) to be actively stabilizing while you perform this movement. It really is not a hard exercise to learn. The benefits for cycling, swimming, and running are achieved by connecting the hips and shoulders via your core.
-Christopher J. Lee:
Triathlon Coach with AJ Baucco Coaching
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist,
Corrective Exercise Specialist,
Functional Movement Systems Lvl. 1,
B.S. Exercise Science & Physical Education,
Former Head Coach University of Colorado Swimming,
Stages Cycling Certified