Prehab: What It Is and the Right Way to Do It

Before you jump back into consistent swim, bike, and run, take these important steps toward ensuring a healthy season ahead.

Before you even begin to think about prehab, you should make sure that you took a proper off-season full of rest. The triathlon season is long, and having a complete break is essential to fully recover mentally and physically. Time away from the sport will allow you to reflect on the previous season: What went well? What went wrong? And what, specifically, needs to be improved?

After a sufficient amount of rest, it is time to ease your body back into training. However, diving straight back in can be detrimental and could increase your chances of injury, as the body can become deconditioned quickly. So before training resumes, it’s important to focus on re-conditioning and preparing your body for the training ahead. A great way to do this is to introduce a prehab routine. This will help bridge the gap between out-of-season and in-season and ensure your body is strong, resilient, and ready for the beginning of the new training cycle.

A prehab plan should focus on strengthening the main muscle groups involved in triathlon: glutes, quads, hamstrings, lats, pectorals, and core muscles. The general format should be based on main movement patterns and core strength exercises, and it should be carried out at least twice a week around two weeks before light training resumes. A few examples of useful exercises:

Prehab Exercises

» Squat: Goblet, front, back or single-leg squats
» Lunge: Sagittal and frontal planes movements: forward, backward, and side lunges
» Hip hinge: Deadlifts or single-leg roman deadlifts (RDLs)
» Push: Press ups or chest press
» Pull: Pull ups and lat pull downs
» Core strength: Plank, side plank, bird dog, and dead bug

Nick Beer is a former elite triathlete from Great Britain. Having competed around the world at a high level, Nick is now a strength and conditioning coach, specializing in sports injury rehabilitation.