Physiotherapy for elite triathletes.
Triathlon Australia Team Physio Blog #1
James Lewin. Star Physio Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Earlier this year, I was asked to be team physiotherapist for the Triathlon Australia ‘Podium Centre’ team, who are coached by world renowned triathlon coach Joel Filliol. The squad is made up of a group of elite level Australian short course triathletes – including multiple Olympic representatives and world series race winners, and also contains a small group of world class international triathletes
For the next 10 weeks I’ll be working with the team as they take on the first half of their 2022 season – travelling to some races and generally lapping up (vicariously) the full-time athlete lifestyle!!
Life in France!
For the last week I’ve been living it up in Font Romeu, France – a altitude training Mecca located in the stunning Pyrenees Mountain range – training base of choice for many endurance sport athletes from around the world.
These athletes live their lives in pursuit of athletic excellence and as such, put themselves through an eye-watering training regimes on a daily basis.
Physiotherapy and Professional Triathletes
My day-to-day role as team physiotherapist really revolves around the holy grail of sports physiotherapy: preventing injuries before they happen! This is an area where our knowledge is no doubt still evolving.
When discussing health optimisation & injury prevention, you’ve probably heard health professionals talk about the 10%’ers, and the 1%’ers. Historically, due to popular culture and marketing strategies, we are encouraged to put too much focus on the 1%’ers; whether that be the latest infra-red ice bath technology, cure-all supplement drink or dodgy looking electric self-massage tool. Unfortunately, most of these ‘magnets’ take up too much of our time and energy – time & energy that could be used on the 10%’ers instead.
The great news for me is the athletes that I’m working with (through guidance from their expert coaching team) already live & breathe the 10%’ers:-
- sensible training programming,
- adequate quality sleep, and
- adequate quality nutrition.
My role lies both in reinforcing these 10%’ers with daily check ins with each athlete, and then judging the importance of implementing the 1%’ers. This might include subtle modifications of their strength routines, or judicious use of treatment adjuncts such as soft tissue massage, manipulations, taping etc.
Communication is the Key!
The final (and arguably the most important) part of the puzzle is relaying information back to the coaching staff on how the athletes are feeling, and if I have any concerns, followed by a united approach with the athletes interest at centre in decision making.
All in all, the team is a very well-oiled high-performance machine (whose results speak for themselves) that I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of – and I will do my best to bring you regular little snippets & highlights along the way.
World series race in Leeds, UK – I’ll give a bit of insight to what it’s like being team physio at a world series race, and also talk a bit about how we best manage injuries if/when they do happen! Until next time!
James Lewin is currently unavailable in our clinics while on National Team duty, however we have full access to his current and past patient notes and our expert team can assist with your ongoing care. Star Physio are proud to be trusted by triathletes from amateur and novice through to the best in the world for their care and are the proud physiotherapy partner of Triathlon Western Australia.
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