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Archive for the 'TIPS: STRETCHES' Category

Water running

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Today I had an early morning water run.  It almost didn’t happen,…as the lifeguards forgot to unlock the men’s changeroom door to the pool.  For 15mins the pool was populated by only female bathers, with a bunch of antsy men awaiting by the door.

Water running is great,…excellent for recovery, and flushing the legs.  You have the option of making it into a cardiovascularly intense workout without impacting the joints and muscles.

As a side benefit, and to kill two birds with one stone,…I like to scull with my arms while my legs are going through the running motion.  Sculling is a great way to enhance the “feel” of the water.  I like to play with sculling at varying speeds and amplitude, trying to nail down the right motion yielding the greatest authority or catch of the water.

Also particularly important is to work on opening up your hip angle while water running.  As triathletes, our hip flexors have a tendency to get tight, forcing us to almost look like we are ‘sitting down’ while running.

An example of someone sitting down while running (maybe not the best example, but best I could find for a 2min search):

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You want your hip flexors to allow for proper extension of the hip, while also allowing for easy and fluid bent knee recovery.  Like these guys,…their left knees are able to bend, even with their hip open in full extension: Image hosting by TinyPic

Here’s a great stretch to help with this.  It stretches rectus femoris,…a muscle that crosses two joints.  If you stretch this, it effectively allows for easier hip extension and knee flexion at the same time.  I consider this a KEY stretch for triathletes:

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Check out how the best in the world stretch for swimming

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I just finished watching the Canada West Championships in Calgary tonight.  There was some amazing swimming going on – outstanding swimming by UofC’s own (2000 olympian and current Medical student) Alexandra Lys, and Chad Hankewich had particularly impressive performances.  Way to go Dinos! 

This swimming inspired me to post some photos of some of the best swimmers in the world showing their pre-competition warm up stretching.

The following photo is Inge de-Bruijn (Olympic Champ), check out the flexibility in her posterior capsules of both her shoulders (back of shoulder joint).   I always swim faster when I work at a stretch similar to this. 

Inge de-bruijn stretching

Grant Hackett stretching
Check out Grant Hackett (Olympic Champ),…when he lifts his arm over his head, you can’t see his shoulder blade popping out to the side. This shows how flexible his shoulder joint is (with lots of freedom between his arm and shoulder blade).
  Michael Phelps stretching
Micheal Phelps (Olympic Champ) is shown here with superb anterior (front) shoulder flexibility.

Here’s Natalie Coughlin,…hamstring flexibility is important for swimming as it is with running and cycling. 

Natalie Coughlin stretching

Ian Thorpe, Olympic Champ (below) stretching his posterior deltoids and shoulder capsule. 

Ian Thorpe stretching 

Flexibility is crucial in minimizing wasted internal work.  Within reason, if you feel loose, the smoother movements can be performed, with less antagonistic resistance.  I’m a big fan of stretching in preparation for swimming.