Many triathletes take time to stretch after the bike and run, but we often do not take the time to stretch after swimming. These 6 stretches will help you with your mobility and flexibility; they are quick and don’t require any equipment.
Pectoral stretch- pectorals, shoulder Hold your arm up with a 90 degree bend (like you are going to high five someone). Press your hand and forearm against the side of a door frame or wall and press and lean forward until you feel a pec stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Switch sides.
Calf Stretch- calf, ankle Face a wall. Put your hands on the wall and put one leg behind you, in a slight lunge position. Gently bring your right knee toward the wall, while keeping both your feet on the ground. You should feel a calf and ankle stretch in the left leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then switch.
Upward Dog – chest, abdomen, shoulders Start by lying flat on your stomach. Bend your elbows and bring your hands next to your chest. Press your hands into the floor and start to lift your torso off the floor. You can either come to your elbows, or press all the way up (see video). You can then raise your hips and thighs off the floor, but you do not have to. Head should look up, but don’t strain your neck. Hold for 1 minute.
Butterfly Stretch- hips, groin, inner thigh, knees Sit on the floor, with soles of your feet touching and knees out to the side. Let knees open up and feel the inner thigh and hips and groin begin to stretch. Hold for 1 minute.
Model Pose – thoracic spine, hips, glutes, back In a seated position, straighten legs in front of you. Sitting up nice and tall, bring your left leg in to your chest and cross it over the straightened leg. Take your right arm and press it to the outside of your left knee while gently twisting away from the knee. See video for visual. Be careful to only take this stretch to comfort. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
Ankle rolls – ankles In a seated position, straighten legs in front of you. First, make ankle circles clockwise and then counter-clockwise. You can do this one at a time or both together.
By incorporating these 6 post-swim stretches you are helping yourself avoid injury and improve your fitness. These don’t take long but the benefits are enormous.