Wetsuit Swimming and Low Back Ache
With the first of the open water swim lakes now open, I would like to share some tips on how to avoid backache during your first few swims.
Buoyancy and of course the obvious thermal properties of neoprene that prevail at this time of year may come with a potential cost to some triathletes/swimmers in the form of low back ache/pain. Reading the blogs on 220, Tri24/7 the top two remedies for alleviating such symptoms are:
⁃cutting the legs off to decrease buoyancy in the feet and there for releasing the tension in the low back
⁃increasing strength & stability within the core
reading down the threads, there are many instances where this has either helped a little or not at all.
So let’s explore the potential reason behind these symptoms. On the whole we live in this “World of Flexion”, even on the bike we spend hours turning the cranks in this position.
The implications of this make the front of the body very tight especially through the hips, abdominals and shoulders. Imagine that you had a tight elastic band from your knees to your shoulders (see photo below) and then you stand up, the increased pull on the band to the front of the body (aka tight and short muscles) makes the back muscles work harder to hold you upright, as a result of this we create a dynamic compensation and tug of war with the muscles of the front and back of the body.
Now lets look at the implications of this upon the swimmers body….
In basic terms, during the swim stroke, extension of the body is gained by stretching from toe to finger tip, couple this with a high leg carriage we create a streamline position to minimise unwanting drag. Now this position is as far removed from the flexed position that we find ourselves is on a daily basis.
With both the increased bouncy of the legs and torso, a large stress/compression is placed on the low back, creating a bow shape in the low back. Tightness and stiffness in the low back may develop which in some instances may develop into a significant problem.
Issues relating to this may list like this…
⁃Low back ache/pain
⁃Inability to achieve an optimal riding position
⁃Reduction in power on the bike⁃Reaction in ability to run off the bike
To prepare the back to minimise this tightening response, we must look at a way to release the front of the body. A good way to achieve this is by mobilising the body by means of foam rolling and specific exercises.
Foam Roller to the:
⁃Front outside of the shin bone (tibialis anterior)
⁃Fronts of the thigh (quadriceps)
Tennis Ball release to the:
Stretches to the:
- Hip Flexors
- McKenzie Stretch
If the back is tight when leaving the water
If your back is tight when leaving the water, don’t despair. Get yourself warm and dry and try the following:
Lay on your back and
- pull single knee to chest
- repeat for the opposite leg
- double knees to chest
- keeping both knees bent (above hips) roll the knees side to side
So here are a few things to work on to change from living in a whole world of flexion. If you have any questions regarding this topic, then please feel free to call one of the team to chat things through. Happy swimming and training. Enjoy the Summer.Categories: All Articles / Triathlon
August 6th, 2019 Client Corner! A Tale of DC Client Camaraderie by client Anna Troup! July 6th, 2019 DC Client James in the 3 week countdown to Ironman Hamburg! March 11th, 2019 Physio Matt’s 20 Questions! January 18th, 2019 Check out our great Run Prep Package!!! December 17th, 2018 Did you know we sell Christmas vouchers?!
September 17th, 2019 Foam Rolling Workshop