Is it time to up your game and find your training powerhouse?
To compete in a triathlon you need, strength, stability, endurance, power and speed. All three disciplines in a triathlon, swimming, cycling and running, require the body to undergo a certain amount of time in different postures, using different muscles and skillsets. That’s three different postures in the sagittal plane that could increase the risk of postural imbalances, muscle strain and overuse injuries.
This is where Reformer Pilates comes in. Pilates on the reformer can be used as a form of rehabilitation (body maintenance and injury prevention) and can be a fundamental addition to an athletes training programme.
It’s a tough start to the race, but follow these tips to make this part of the triathlon easier for you so that you can efficiently utilise your energy. The shoulders are usually the most problematic during the swim as that’s where we hold most tension, but, increasing your mid-back (thoracic) rotation will allow you to free up your shoulders and access more power. Reformer Pilates uses movements to increase your mid-back (thoracic) rotation and help strengthen your shoulders and upper back all at the same time. Similarly, you need stability and strength in your core to keep you light and afloat in the water. Through Pilates, postures are encouraged to keep your ribs down on your torso, and the pelvis slightly tucked to activate the abdominals.
The longest leg of the race and also often the most difficult, as sitting in a hunched position can put a lot of strain on your lower back. Pilates can provide an opportunity to create a stable core, specifically turning on muscles such as your Transversus Abdominus (corset muscle) + Multifidus (small deep muscles either side of your spine) which improve stability in the torso and reduce the shearing forces throughout the lower spine. The ability to strengthen the efficiency of the bum (gluteal) muscles can also help with proper alignment of the knee joint as force transfers into the pedals, which generates more economic power.
3. THE RUN
Possibly the most natural part to train for, but it doesn’t come without its issues. This stage is compounded by the fatigue-factor having already completed the swim and cycle. Fatigue can affect an athlete’s posture, technique, stability and energy efficiency, all of which can increase the risks of injuries. Implementing Pilates into your training regime can increase the activation of muscle groups and improve dynamic functional stability. A simpler way of putting it would be the ability for the body to hold itself in better alignment for longer, even under fatigue, maintaining good dynamic stability and improving the body’s responsiveness.
For triathletes, a complete focus on appropriate muscle activation and alignment, and incorporating the likes of Pilates movements means the body is prepared for the stresses of exercise. With the correct muscles turned on, and at the right time, a triathlete can improve endurance and performance while reducing the risk of injury.
Aisling Frawley is a Chartered Physiotherapist at Platinum Physio, Clonkseagh, Leeson Street and Honey Park Glenageary. Aisling also teaches Reformer Pilates classes in all seven studios. Book a class with Aisling below: