Recovery Tools And Techniques For Triathletes
Staying healthy while pushing your body to new heights takes discipline.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Staying healthy while pushing your body to new heights takes discipline. Physical therapist and triathlete Dana Reid of Thrive Kinematics in Hood River, Ore., shares some of her favorite tools and techniques to keep you on track.
For daily maintenance between massage therapy sessions with a professional, Reid advises using a wide variety of tools. “I own a foam roller, and use some of the Trigger Point therapies such as the X-Factor Massage Ball. I think these tools are great, but a lot of people don’t necessarily need to spend the money. I also like tennis balls, softballs, lacrosse balls—cheap things that don’t have to be fancy.” Harder isn’t always better when it comes to massage. “If you’re getting numbness, tingling or weakness, you need to stop,” Reid says.
For sustained pressure, she uses softer objects and recommends using a softball for advanced IT band rolling. Small tools such as the SKLZ Accupoint can double as a spot massager and as a travel-friendly roller.
Ice baths subject entire portions of the body to the benefits of icing, not just a single location. Reid recommends them, but prepping the amount of ice needed is no small task. “[Ice therapy device] Podium Cold makes it more likely that an athlete will perform the therapy. And it’s more portable. The big benefit comes from using that kind of product after a long stretch because you want the leg muscles to lengthen out and not ‘freeze’ in the contracted position.”
An injury or overly fatigued muscle group shouldn’t be the signal to start an injury prevention regimen—avoiding an issue should be the goal. “There’s a ton we can do with body weight and resistance bands,” says Reid, citing TRX as an example. “It’s great for triathletes because we’re linear athletes, and weak stabilizer muscles get us in trouble. Using body weight resistance gets those hard-to-work muscles.” As an added bonus, TRX or elastic resistance bands can be used at home and travel easily.
Proper technique is the best way to avoid injury, and some aids can help posture and form. Reid recommends supportive clothing from Intelliskin. “It holds us as athletes in a better position, not only for the sport but for your body’s health. I recommend it and use it as a prevention tool,” Reid says.
RELATED: Techniques For Recovery From Triathlons
Trigger Point X-Factor Massage Ball0
Podium Cold Ice Therapy Device
TRX Home Suspension Training Kit
Intelliskin Zipper Foundation 2.0
RELATED: 8 Reasons Triathletes Get Injured
Get the latest in triathlon training, gear, nutrition and news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for Triathlete’s newsletter.