The Importance of Strengthening and Core Stability for Injury Prevention
Strength training is often ignored as part of a training regime, especially for Triathletes who are already very time and energy poor as they are required to train in not one, but three separate disciplines. Swimming, biking and running all require significant strength and mobility to ensure efficiency in movement and prevention of injuries. This article will focus on a few specific areas that are important for triathletes, and the role they play in prevention of injuries.
The “core” seems to be the phrase of the day at the moment, but what actually is it? Essentially the core is made up of a group of muscles (namely: transversus abdominus, multifidus, rectus abdominus, obliques, diaphragm and pelvic floor) in the mid-section of your body which act to stabilise the spine, trunk and pelvis while moving your arms and legs.
A stable core enables efficient actions of the trunk and limbs while generating and transferring forces as well as controlling movements. In essence it provides a “foundation” upon which the muscles of the lower extremities produce or resist force, therefore, a lack of conditioning in the core musculature can result in injuries in the lower limbs due to poor biomechanics, or reduced performance.
Gluteus Strength/Hip stability
When in single leg stance the hip needs to be stabilised, the primary stabilising muscles are gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. If these muscles aren't working correctly the hips will not be able to remain level when one foot is lifted from the ground, thus resulting in a “Trendellenberg sign” whereby the pelvis will tilt downward toward the leg which is not weight-bearing. This also changes the alignment of the lower limb, resulting in poor biomechanical efficiency.
Glute strength is important for everyone, however it is especially important in triathletes as they are quite often running after a hard bike ride, which places these muscles under additional fatigue. If you are able to build up your strength and stability it will result in better form when running under fatigue.
In swimmers, shoulder pain is often a result of reduced stability within the shoulder joint. This can be as a result of a hypermobile joint, imbalance in strength of shoulder stabilising muscles, as well as prolonged use of shoulders during training. This reduction in stability can lead to incorrect biomechanics and place certain parts of the shoulder under loads which they are not accustomed to and therefore lead to injury.
PhysioHealth has created a thorough screening tool designed to address the points mentioned above as well as many more strengths and movements essential for safe and effective triathlon performance. Do yourself a favour and book in with one of our physiotherapists today, together we can build you in to a stronger, more resilient triathlete!
PhysioHealth have a fantastic resource of exercises accessible to everyone via the website. If you are curious to find out whether there are specific areas of strength training that you need to improve on, book in for a screening session with one of our physiotherapists today!