On your marks, get set, TRI…

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Triathlon season is upon us, so now is a great time to talk about how you can perform at your peak using three key components of injury prevention; Obie foam rolling, Oov core stability and yoga shoulder mobility.

For the triathlete, the Ironman is the ultimate test, as it is for the non-professional athlete. The way into the Ironman New Zealand Hall of Fame is to complete an Ironman race at least 10 times.

Hamilton’s Bevan Littler achieved that in 2015 – and then some; he has notched up an impressive 13 Ironman races, including two world championship races.

Bevan Littler with physiotherapist Heidi van Loon

Bevan Littler with physiotherapist Heidi van Loon

Last month Bevan competed at the World 70.3 champs on the Sunshine Coast, placing 30 in his age group (113km; 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run).  He was using this race as a training event for the Ironman World Champs in Kona next month. Bevan is currently in Hawaii getting used to training in the heat there and making final preparations for the event.

When Bevan came to Advance Wellness four years ago, he was dealing with a number of niggling issues which affected his performance and race results.  Like most triathletes out there, he was constantly dealing with some sort of injury, pain or discomfort.

Bevan was experiencing debilitating back pain during the bike leg of the Ironman. This in turn made his back so tight that he struggled on the run. I got him on the Oov; a core strengthening tool which we use at Advance Wellness. It enables you to work your deep inner core muscles while maintaining a neutral spine. Having a strong core is a key component to having overall body strength and is a must have when competing in triathlon or ironman events.

Part of regular muscle maintenance in conjunction with physiotherapy is the Obie foam roller. This is a fantastic tool you can use at home to self release your muscles and roll out those tight spots every day, to stay on top of tightness which could be restricting your performance. For Bevan, using the foam roller is part of his daily routine in keeping in top form for his sport.

lateral-childs-pose-phase-2 lateral-childs-pose-phase-1The last key component for Bevan was improving his shoulder mobility through yoga stretches and poses. Yoga shoulder mobility can be done using the Lateral Child’s Pose. This helps lengthen lateral muscles.

These are the broadest of the back muscles; they help internally and externally rotate the arms and are a powerful rotator of the trunk of the body. This would massively affect the ironman or triathletes swim or run if they are tight, as their movement would be restricted. Yoga is a great tool for overall body balance and releasing tight muscles, while simultaneously strengthening and lengthening your muscles.

Bevan had amazing results by incorporating these key components into his conditioning programme. With his back pain reduced, he took a massive 10mins off his bike time and completed a personal best on his run; then qualified for World Championship in Kona, Hawaii 2016.

For those who are participating on upcoming triathlon or ironman we recommend you get a good conditioning programme together. Make the Oov and Obie foam roller part of your daily routine to activate your deep core muscles and release any tightness, and yoga two or three times a week to improve strength and increase flexibility.

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