There’s one thing you can almost guarantee with triathlon and that’s injury.
Why single out triathlon?
Yes, injuries are certainly very likely in other sports, but maybe none so much as triathlon and here’s why:
The nature of the sport is such that the bike discipline is the longest. That usually means that most people spend the longest amount of time in the week on their bike.
It may only account for one session in the week, but it’s more than likely to be at least 90 minutes, and anytime up to 5 hours, depending on the discipline.
And it’s the bike position that does all the damage (especially the TT position).
On the bike, the hips are at their most flexed (shortest), and repeating the pedalling motion between 60-100 times per minute for 90 minutes is a LOT of repetition.
Short, tight hip flexors (along with adductors) are the cause of all incidents of non-impact related lower back pain and are considerable contributing factors to the majority of non-impact related lower leg injuries too.
How? Because of the phenomenon that I like to call “The Adaptation Disintegration”
If the hip flexors remain short, your run technique changes. With a lack of hip extension, your stride length shortens and your body weight is pushed back into your heels, which is why Ironman athletes often resort to a running style that is commonly referred to as “the Ironman Shuffle”.
Landing on your heels, with a short run stride increases the amount of force your legs must absorb when you run, making you spend longer on the ground and requiring more strength to push you off the ground again with each stride, which increases the strain on all the muscles in your legs on both landing and push off.
But that’s not it. Tight hip flexors also create more drag in the pool. Tight hip flexors pull your feet towards the bottom, which means you must swim faster to pull them to the surface. As a result, you must use more strength to overcome the drag, which increases the strain on your shoulders.
And all this happens because of tight hip flexors.
My advice to anybody new to triathlon is exactly the same as I would give to any other triathlete:
Focus on lengthening your hip flexors as often as you possibly can throughout your day. Every day. Not only will you avoid Lower Back Pain, but you’ll be much less likely to experience other injuries too.
Discover some of my BEST moves to help you deal with your tight hip flexors with my FREE Lower Back Pain Solution Video Playlist