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Warm-Up Without Water: 4 Stretch Band Exercises

Gwen Jorgensen warms up before an ITU race. Photo: Delly Carr/Triathlon.org


Can’t get in the water before your event? Here’s your Plan B.

Not all races allow you to get in the water before the start, but you’re doing your body (and your swim) a disservice if you skip the warm-up entirely. To be prepared no matter what conditions dictate, add a stretch band to your bag for a simple but effective 10-minute routine.

Attach the center of the stretch cord at chest height (sometimes a strap is included) to a fence, tree or anything sturdy. Hold the handles or tie a knot in each end to prevent slipping. As you do these exercises, keep in mind that this is a light warm-up and it should not be strenuous. If there is too much resistance, move closer to the attachment point to increase your range of motion.

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Exercise #1: Freestyle pullback

Hold the bands, face the attachment point, bend at your waist, extend arms above your head and move forward or back to apply light pressure on the bands in this position. Pull your right arm back to your thigh like a swim stroke. Release your right arm and let it return to the starting position as you pull back with your left arm. Continue alternating arms with a quick tempo for 30 seconds and then rest for 30.

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Exercise #2: Rows

Lower the attachment point to the ground. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended toward the attachment point. With palms facing each other, bring your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades. Repeat for 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

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Exercise #3: Cross-body shoulder raise

Turn your left shoulder toward the attachment point. Hold the band in your right hand. Lift your arm laterally to shoulder height. Continue for 15 seconds, switch arms and repeat.

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Exercise #4: Chest fly

Face away from the attachment point, stand with a staggered stance and extend your arms at shoulder height. Pull your arms together in front of your body until your fists touch. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Repeat for 20 seconds, rest and repeat.

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