Adding yoga to your life offers many benefits such as increasing mobility and range of motion, preventing injuries, and relieving pain. Hopefully, you already have some kind of stretching routine included in your training. If you don’t, the offseason is the perfect time to try some new things! We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most beneficial yoga poses for triathletes to combat the wear and tear we put our bodies through during training.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Purpose: This is a common pose but is especially beneficial for a triathlete with any built-up tension in your calves and feet from running. Also great for cyclists with lower back from riding. Hold this pose to help build strength in your shoulders, arms, and chest.
How To: Start on your knees with your hands out in front of you, push your bottom up until you feel a stretch in your calves and the bottom of your feet. Straighten your legs if you can, but the main thing to remember in this pose is to keep your back as flat as possible.
2. Crescent Lunge
Purpose: This pose utilizes all the muscles in your body but focuses on getting a stretch in the back of your legs, groin, and hip flexors while building strength in the front of your legs. Practicing this pose will open your range of motion in your legs and hips.
How To: Start in a standing position, and go into a lunge until your front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your core tight to remain balanced as you lift your arms above your head. During this motion, you will feel a stretch in your triceps and chest. Take deep breaths as you hold this position, switch to your other leg, and repeat.
3. Pigeon Fold
Purpose: The Pigeon Fold is a great yoga pose for opening up your hips and getting a deep stretch in your hip flexors and glutes. Good for athletes who spend more time cycling to loosen and realign their hips after putting in hours on the bike.
How To: Start in a Downward Facing Dog, bend your right knee and sweep your leg down and place it on the mat beneath you. Lower yourself to a comfortable seated position with your left leg behind you as you feel the stretch in your quad and hamstring. Hold your chest high to focus the stretch in your legs.
4. Cross-Legged Twist
Purpose: This pose focuses on stretching your lats, shoulders, and neck. This will help reduce any pain you may have from constantly rotating your body side to side during your freestyle swim stroke. Holding this pose will lengthen and help mobility along your spine which is great for increasing your range of motion during your swim training.
How To: Begin on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bring your knees to your chest and place the bottom of your feet on the ground. Slide your left foot on the ground under your right leg to rest your foot beside your right hip. Bring your right arm across your body and place it against the inside of your left knee. Push slightly to twist your body until you feel a stretch in your lats and shoulder.
5. Bridge Pose
Purpose: Offers relief from pain caused by the position you are in when training on your bike. Good stretch for your quads, chest, and abs while also strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. You will feel this pose strengthens your back muscles to reduce or prevent pain you may have from running and cycling.
How To: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent with feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Place hands on either side of your body to help keep yourself balanced. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor and push your hips up off the ground.
These yoga poses work muscles that are often neglected in the repetitive movements you do while preparing for a triathlon. Get the most out of your training when you add in these 5 yoga poses that are best for triathletes before or after your next workout!