We are now over two thirds of the way through the “31 Easy Tips to Sporting Excellence” series. Have you started implementing some of the tips? If so, I hope it is helping. Implementing a couple of items (again, don’t try to do too much) will improve your triathlon performance in a holistic manner without a huge investment in time or effort. Train smart.
Today’s tip is #22: Engage Your Core
This isn’t about doing a few ab exercises after your workout. It means to really engage your core while training in order to drive your efforts.
The core is the group of muscles that control and support your spine and pelvis, i.e. the stomach, back, and hip muscles.
Arms and legs fatigue fast, so use your hips and abs and pecs – all massive muscles – to maximize the output from your efforts. Our focus is on maximizing the results of our efforts (i.e. efficiency), not just working hard and pushing ourselves.
Strengthen your core with plenty of sit-ups and core body exercises (planks, squats, push-ups, etc). Then engage your stronger, more powerful core when training and racing:
- In the water:
Use your torso to rotate your hips and drive your arm forwards. We can only get so much from our arms in the swim before they fatigue. Rotate to drive your hand to the front of the pull quicker, increase your distance per stroke and power through the pull. Rotating your hips also improves your streamlining in the water
- On the bike:
Engage your abs when cycling to ensure you are staying stable and getting max power from your glutes and quads. Don’t bounce around in the saddle, stay relaxed and power your legs. Ensure all your energy is focused in one direction: forwards
- When running:
Use your core to maintain good posture and keep your legs and arms pumping while maintaining balance. A strong core will also give you greater range of motion allowing you to reach and drive forward
A lot of people focus on particular muscles (“work those guns”) but it is <abs>olutely criminal to not leverage a huge source of power! Along with the technique benefits above, a stronger core will also help with injury prevention.
The list of “31 Easy Tips” series so far:
#1: Drink Water First Thing in the Morning
#2: Write Down Your Goals (Now!)
#3: Ask an Expert
#4: Start Stretching
#5: Track your progress towards your Goals
#6: Take a Cold Shower
#7: Incorporate Drills into your Workouts
#8: Superfoods for Superperformance
#9: Get Some Rest
#10: Cross train
#11: Reward Yourself
#12: Don’t Breathe in the Pool
#13: Take a Bath
#14: Do Squat!
#15: Get Yourself a Mentor
#16: Do Yoga
#17: Be on Time
#18: Leave Your Bucket of Troubles at the Door
#19: Stay Healthy!
#20: Do LESS Freestyle
#21: Grind it Out on the Foam Roller