The triathlon is a cross-training sport that requires endurance, strength and the ability to adapt to various training environments. But it helps to add a fourth sport to your training regimen: Yoga. Yoga is ideal not only to maintain flexibility, but to increase strength and mobility through bodyweight asanas. This keeps the body pliable and helps decrease stiffness and injury. The yoga poses below are ideal to maintain flexibility in the “tight and troubled” areas of each sport.
Hold each pose for 30 to 60 seconds. Complete each asana twice.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Benefits: Lengthens the hips, hamstrings, calves and chest.
Position the body onto all fours. Curl the back toes up and lift the hips into the air. Relax the heels and imagine the chest “melting” toward the thighs.
Benefits: Opens the hips, obliques and chest musculature.
Stand tall with legs three to four feet apart. Turn your right toes forward and kick your left heel out to 45-degrees. Raise arms to shoulder height and reach your hand toward your shin or the floor. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Benefits: This position opens the hip flexors and quadriceps.
Start on your shins and step your right foot forward. Hinge the hip and “lunge” forward toward the front leg. Reach the arms overhead. Hold and repeat on the opposite leg.
Benefits: Open the external rotators of the hips. (Ideal for those who sit on bikes and suffer from piriformis syndrome or sciatica due to long-distance biking.)
Position the body into a plank position. Draw your right knee toward the right hand and let the shin rest on the floor. Walk your left leg behind and walk your hand forward and let the torso rest on the ground. Repeat on the opposite leg.
THREAD THE NEEDLE POSE
Benefits: Lengthens the upper back, shoulder and neck.
Position the body on all fours. Lower the body toward a child pose position. Place the left arm underneath the right, shift the hips back and allow the head and shoulders to rest on the ground. Hold and repeat on the opposite side.
SEATED FORWARD FOLD
Benefits: Lengthens the posterior chain of the body including the low back, hamstrings, calves and the glute muscles.
Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you. Reach arms overhead. Bend from the hips and rest your hands on your legs to your point of flexibility. Allow the chest to be relaxed.