Oftentimes at races, athletes are unable to enter the water to execute a swim warm up before their race starts. Whether it’s caused by the race not allowing their participants to enter the water before the race, or the water is too cold, or just because you run out of time, it’s a common cause for stress. In this blog, I will explain some tips for warming up for the swim out of the water.
Arm circles: Never thought a warm-up exercise from your elementary school gym class would help you in triathlon? Now you can. Doing 30-60 seconds of arm swings will help to loosen your shoulders and allow your body to accept them constantly moving.
Stretch Cords: Investing in a set of stretch cords can help activate your swimming muscles. They are lightweight and take up minimal room in your race bag. You can attach them to most things and go through swimming motions, so as to stress your lats (which should be your primary muscle used in your swim!). This will get some blood flowing through your swimming muscles and allow you to raise your heart rate a little bit without having to be in the water.
Core exercises: Having a strong core is extremely important for your body position in the water. The tighter you can keep your core has a big impact on how fast you can swim. So, activating your core through 1-5 minutes of exercises can be a great way to get your body ready for the swim portion of your race. Prone planks, leg raises, flutter kick on your stomach, push ups, if done correctly, are all great ways of prepping your body for an all-out effort in the water.
Visualization: Something that can be incredibly beneficial for helping ready your mind is to visualize. What we mean by this is spending 3-5 minutes before your race, thinking through the specific actions which you will be performing in your event. For triathlon, this can include the start of the swim, the middle of the swim, exiting the water and transition 1, biking, dismounting and transition 2, running an even pace, and crossing the finish line strongly. If you know the course, you can visualize yourself flying past the landmarks and other athletes. This will serve as positive reinforcement before the race, and then you will also have already experienced the race once in your head before you’re out there.
We hope that you now feel more prepared to start your next triathlon, even if you aren’t able to jump in the water before the race starts. Try out some of these exercises before a few training sessions and you’ll figure out what you like best. Everyone’s body is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for warming up prior to competition.
Yours in triathlon,
Dylan Sorensen, Professional Triathlete + MLT Marketing Manager
Facebook: Dylan Sorensen