Whether you are a short course beginner triathlete finishing up your first season, or an accomplished multi-time Ironman finisher, one thing is for certain…..your body needs to REST in the offseason. This is the time of year to focus on things that usually take a “back seat” during the tri-training part of your year. Most notably, FLEXIBILTY and STRENGTHENING. Many of us at West Side PT are seasoned triathletes, competing at all different distances, and we know what it takes to keep yourself healthy in a Multisport lifestyle!
In regards to flexibility, you need to restore your muscles to proper lengths and reduce scarring/fibrotic tissue that can result from months of strenuous, repeated motion training. Use of a foam roller/Grid roller and all of the various soft tissue release tools is a great way to get started with this. Be sure to then stretch the muscle groups that you are “rolling out”, holding each stretch at LEAST 20-30 seconds, for 3-5 repetitions. If you are not sure how to stretch specific muscles that feel tight, or if you are not able to isolate those muscle groups, contact one of our Physical Therapists to assist you with this.
As for strength training – you may ask WHY would I want to bulk up with weight training? The simple answer is, we do not want you to bulk up. Instead, incorporating high rep/light weight SPORT SPECIFIC training is what we aim for in the off season. This allows your muscles to increase both strength and endurance that will carry over to your swim, bike and run performances. To improve upper body strength in your upper and mid back, chest and shoulder muscles will help shave time off your swim. Leg strength is obviously vital to a good bike time, and endurance of those muscles will help get you through the run. Use this off season time to strengthen gleuts, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip musculature and calf musculature. Finally, be sure to remember to work on CORE STRENGTH. All the upper and lower body strength and endurance you gain will never benefit you if you don’t have the core stabilility to maintain good posture and position during your race. Planks, side planks, Therapy Ball exercises, bridging and crunches are all good examples. Once again, if you are not sure what the best plan for your offseason strengthening is, consult one of our Mulitsport Friendly Physical Therapists to assist you with this.
Remember – the key to success and longevity in Multisport is….TRAIN SMARTER….NOT HARDER!
Sue Skibinski, PT, DPT