Triathlon Magazine Canada - - T1 -


The most ef­fec­tive strength ex­er­cise for shoul­der sta­bil­ity and re­cruit­ment is over­hand pullups. Th­ese can be very dif­fi­cult for ath­letes unac­cus­tomed to re­cruit­ing their back and shoul­der mus­cles this way. Build­ing up to this ex­er­cise with as­sisted pullups is an op­tion. Pull-ups with the palms fac­ing away are the best for ac­cess­ing swim-spe­cific mus­cles and hav­ing the arms in a swim­spe­cific pos­ture.


Train­ing the core mus­cles with long hold planks is ben­e­fi­cial for all dis­ci­plines of triathlon and di­rectly in­flu­ence body po­si­tion in the wa­ter. Per­form­ing planks cor­rectly is crit­i­cal. En­sure the up­per back is flat rather than rounded at the rhom­boids. Keep the shoul­ders pulled down and back, while hold­ing the butt and legs in a straight line to the an­kles. Start­ing with short 10-sec­ond ef­forts with rest to en­sure good form, build up to 10 min­utes of a va­ri­ety of plank po­si­tions in­clud­ing side and prone po­si­tion.


Swim cords cre­ate vis­ual cues for ath­letes try­ing to im­prove mo­bil­ity and ac­cess new arm, shoul­der and hand po­si­tions. Us­ing the cords to cre­ate the right shape with the arms, shoul­ders and back mus­cles in front of a mir­ror helps ath­letes feel the po­si­tion be­fore at­tempt­ing to trans­fer it to the wa­ter. There is also a strength com­po­nent prac­tic­ing with the swim cords, so swim cords are a hugely ben­e­fi­cial train­ing tool. Start with 3 x 40 pulls with swim cords us­ing high el­bows, en­gaged back mus­cles, re­laxed shoul­ders, then build up to mul­ti­ple sets.

Me­lanie Mc­quaid is a three-time Xterra world cham­pion and a six-time Iron­man 70.3 and Chal­lenge half-dis­tance cham­pion. She lives in Vic­to­ria.

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