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triathlete

Maximizing Efficiency

Maximizing Efficiency

Training (and packing gear, pumping tires, checking Strava for kudos and doing epic loads of laundry) requires maximal efficiency. Here’s how to sneak in some extra exercises during your day and multi-task your way to an extra edge.

While you’re:               Brushing your teeth
Sneak in:                      Balancing on each leg for :60
Why:                            Balancing challenges key muscles that support your spine. If you have trouble balancing for :60, imagine how hard your brain and body are working to keep you upright while pounding out miles.

Dr. Joshua Grahlman, founder and Athlete Mechanic® at Clutch Physical Therapy, says if balancing on one side is harder than the other, you have asymmetry in form that can lead to injury over time. Target your weaker side with single-leg squats off a bench or side-stepping with a resistance band.

While you’re:               Schlepping a laptop, gym bag AND purse to work
Sneak in:                      Strengthening your weak side
Why:                            If you always sling heavy stuff over the same shoulder, you’re putting extra stress on your spine and creating strength imbalances. Switch sides frequently to improve your stroke in the pool and arm swing on the run.

While you’re:               Waiting for the shower to heat up
Sneak in:                     Planks
Why:                            :90 of planks (:30 front, :30 each side) each day will change your core and improve stability, which means fewer injuries and faster splits.

While you’re:               Behind the wheel
Sneak in:                     Preventing back pain
Why:                            Driving with laid back posture might make you feel in control, but it causes tightness and misalignment that’ll catch up with you in aero. Dr. Grahlman recommends checking the position of your left leg. Extend it with your knee slightly bent and align your left foot as closely and safely as possible with your right to keep your pelvis aligned and protect your back.

While you’re:               Living the dream
Sneak in:                     Ambidextrous movements
Why:                            Reach for your coffee, swipe your Metro card or use chopsticks with your non-dominant hand. It’ll challenge your brain and improve balance on the bike. You should be able to grab a bottle with either hand. Just in case.

While you’re:               Sitting on the train or at a restaurant
Sneak in:                     Hip opener
Why:                            Triathletes’ hips are chronically tight, but most of us blow off stretching. Dr. Grahlman advises sneaking in hip openers whenever you’re in a seated position. Pick up one leg, cross your ankle to the opposite knee, pull your shoulders back, engage your abs, tip your pelvis forward and press down gently. Aim to align both knees, take a few breaths (because it probably won’t feel awesome) then switch sides.  

While you’re:               In line at Trader Joe’s or waiting for the train
Sneak in:                     A posture check
Why:                            Unlock your knees, tuck your tailbone and lift your chest to engage your core and glutes. You won’t suddenly have better posture on a run if it’s not a habit all the time. Better posture leads to better performance in every sport. It’ll also make you look taller and more effective at your job. Probably.