Yoga for Triathletes

I have recently finished participating in a 12 day yoga challenge by the brand Dharmabums. If you haven’t come across this yoga brand before do check them out as their leggings are amazing. Fantastic colours, patterns and lovely on the skin, there’s a few on my Instagram page. I really enjoy yoga and would like to make it more of a permanent fixture in my regime. Stretching is important before and after exercise, you should do dynamic stretching before exercise and static after. Below I have thought about some yoga moves that are specific to Triathletes and split them by discipline. Some of these moves are ideal for multiple disciplines.

SWIMMING

When it comes to the swim leg, triathletes do not use their legs as rigorously as if they were in a swim race as we are trying to save them for the bike and run. Therefore our shoulders, upper back and arms are where the majority of our power comes from for the swim. In swimming you kick from the hip so you want strong yet flexible hip movements. The breath awareness in yoga is very important; practicing your breathing can be transferred to your swimming especially when trying to keep calm in open water.
Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
This pose focuses on the hips.

For this pose you want to start by sitting down. Then you want to bring the soles of your feet together. Try to keep a nice straight back, and once you’ve taken a couple of breaths here you can try to bring your feet closer towards your body. Again after a few breaths you want to gently push your knees closer to the ground, this can be down with your hands or I like to hold my feet and use my elbows to push down my legs (picture below). Stay here for around 3 minutes taking in deep breaths as that’s how you feel a good stretch.

Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
This pose focuses on the front of the body and back muscles.
Start this pose my lying on your stomach and place your hands to the side of your body. After this move your heels close to your bottom and try to grab your right ankle, release and then try with your left ankle. This helps to warm yourself up for the main pose. Then bring your heels to your bottom again and try to grab both ankles, once you have done this inhale and bring up your chest and legs, arching your back. Stay in this position for a round 3 breaths and repeat 3 times.
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Clothing is all from Varley

Salabhasana – Locust Pose
This pose strengths the upper back muscles and helps balance the shoulder joints.
Start this pose lying on your stomach. Then place your arms straight out in front of you and your legs straight out behind you. Then on the next inhale lift up your arms in front of you and your legs behind you, try not to lift your head to high as you don’t want to crunch the neck. Stay in this position for up to a minute and release with an exhalation. After this take a few breaths and repeat a couple of times. There is also the option to put your arms to your side and lift instead, whichever you find most comfortable. Perhaps whilst in this pose think about your body alignment when swimming.

Clothing is all from Dharmabums

CYCLING

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Dolphin Pose
This pose focuses on the chest, shoulders and the hamstrings. It also mirrors the upper body alignment for cycling.
If you are familiar with yoga it might be nice to start with a sun salutation to get into this pose. Otherwise I would begin on your hands and knees. Ensure that your knees are directly beneath the hips and hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Then tuck your toes under and push your bottom up to the sky like the normal Downward Dog position. Do not worry if your legs are not completely straight this will happen in time, your hamstrings are probably tight from running and but try if you can to push your heels to the ground. Then slowly lower down onto your forearms, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Once in this position take some deep breaths and stay here for a minute.

Top from Puma and Leggings from Varley

Pigeon Pose
This one is a great hip opener and one for the glutes after those long days on the saddle.
I would start this pose in Downward Facing Dog. Then lift one leg up perhaps the right and then bring the leg back down towards with the knee going to the right hand and your foot towards you left hand or near to you left hip. I would then place my hands to the side, perhaps up on your finger tips to keep yourself propped up. Take some lovely deep breaths here for a minute or 2 and then swap to the other side.

Ardha Matsyendrāsana – Half Lord of the Fishes
This pose helps any tension built up in the shoulders and neck whilst on the bike. It also helps the hip and spine.
Start this pose sitting down with your legs out in front of you and a nice straight back. Take your right leg over your left knee with the right knee bent and the foot flat on the floor. Then take your left arm across to the outer part of your right leg with the arm bent, your elbow should be resting on the outer right knee. From here inhale and twist your body to the right and try to look behind you as well as placing your hand behind you too if you can. Then release slowly and try on the left side. Stay in this pose for a 3-5 breaths.

RUNNING

Runners lunge
This pose helps with strength in the hamstrings and quads as well as stretching the hips and glutes.
Start this pose in a high plank or again if you are familiar with yoga this can be incorporated within a sun salutation. Ensure that your shoulders are in line with your wrists and elbows whilst in this position. Then bring your right foot to the inside of your right hand. If this is too much you can put your left knee to the floor and untuck your toes. Otherwise keep your knee off the ground and stay in this position for a minute, then swap sides.
This is also a good one if you ever want to go crazy and commit yourself into trying to do the splits (I have been trying but perhaps need to be a little more committed).

Utkatasana – Seated Chair
This pose works the hips and if you add in a twist it stretches the upper back as well as keeping the arms strong (think swimming).
Start this pose standing with your feet either together or hip width apart. Take an inhale and raise your arms vertical to the floor. Then exhale whilst taking a bend in the knees and sitting back like you’re in a chair. The upper body will be slightly over the thighs. Take about 3 deep breaths in this pose. If you feel like you could take this pose further than turn your body to the right hand side with your hands in pray. The left arm will be resting on the right thigh. Take a few breaths here too and if you can try to take your gaze to the sky. Then release and try on the other side starting from the beginning.

Virasana – Hero Pose
This pose stretches the thighs and ankles. We are also going to add a bit for our feet considering they’re the ones that pound the pavement.
Bring yourself down to the mat in a seated position with your legs bent and your feet under your bottom. Then slide your feet about hip width apart/just to the side of your bottom. Stay in this position for 2 minutes. There is also the option to come back onto your feet to give them a good stretch. For this I would put my hands to the sides for stability and push back onto the balls of my feet and toes but with my knees still on the ground and then my hands to my side to really stretch out the arches of the feet. Again stay here for 2 minutes and then relax. OM.

Thanks for reading #preparedtotri x

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