Yoga for Triathletes
Unlike most athletic competitions, triathlons require mastery of three very different sports. Likewise, triathletes need to train their bodies for peak performance in ALL of the movements associated with swimming, biking and running. That’s where Radius Yoga Conditioning (RYC) can help, since it can take triathletes’ bodies through several planes of motion and target multiple areas at once.
To learn more about Dana’s sought-after approach to applying yoga-based techniques into sports training, read her article, “Yoga for Athletes: Why Activation and Inhibition Matter More Than Stretching.”
Too often yoga is an afterthought…literally, the thing athletes think to do after a triathlon for recovery. Although restorative yoga can be very effective post triathlon, or even after a grueling training session, using yoga for functional mobility and stability as part of overall training programs can increase performance and decrease injury risk. I’m not suggesting adding multiple hour-long classes to already intense training schedules though; I think it is best integrated into programs with specific poses/movements and breathing exercises designed especially for triathletes and the particular athlete’s individual needs (based on previous injuries, imbalances, compensations, etc.). This isn’t to say that doing 30, 60 or even 90-minute sessions focused entirely on yoga-based mobility and recovery aren’t effective. As triathletes’ schedules allow, longer yoga-based training sessions should be employed–as long they are designed specifically for triathletes, as opposed to generic yoga.
In general, triathletes open chests with stable, mobile shoulders & hips for swimming; strong cores with a stable, functional pelvises for biking; and leg flexibility with knee and ankle stability for running. Employing proper breathing biomechanics is also important for triathletes. In particular, practicing diaphragmatic breathing will boost oxygen/waste exchange, lower stress hormones, and increase mental focus.