Get your wetsuit on and off quickly!

Triathlete making final adjustments to his triathlon wetsuit

Once you’ve bought your triathlon wetsuit, it’s worth spending some time understanding how you can coax the best performance out of it. Not all triathlon wetsuits are the same, with every suit offering slightly different benefits. Learn how to get the most out of your wetsuit, and see your swim and transition times come tumbling down.

Putting it on

The correct fit is crucial if you want to be comfortable, warm and fast in your wetsuit. The first thing you need is a carrier bag (bear with us). Put one foot in the bag and then put the foot into the wetsuit. The carrier bag will help get the leg of the suit on more easily. Pull the leg up to your knee, and repeat the other side until you’re standing in your triathlon wetsuit with it pulled to the knees. Then pull the suit on up to your groin. Be careful not to tear the neoprene with your nails. Now make sure the groin of the suit is sitting tight into your body. If it isn’t, gently ease the suit up section by section until it’s fitting closely. Make sure there’s no rucking behind your knees. Now pull the suit up and put one arm on, carefully easing the material of the suit up bit by bit until the armpit area is tight against your own. Repeat with the other side. You should now have no baggy areas of wetsuit and no rucking, and the suit should be tight into your groin and armpits. Do the zip up (or ask someone else to do it for you). Now bend forwards from the hips and feel for any rolls of wetsuit around your torso. If you can grab any neoprene here, gently ease it upwards towards your chest before standing upright. Now check: the only area of the wetsuit in which you should be able to grab and stretch the neoprene is at the top of the chest and front of the shoulder? Got it? Then you’re ready to swim.

Get it off AND quickly

Getting your wetsuit off quickly is just as important as swimming in it. After all, there’s no point coming out of the water in front of everyone if they fly past you as you’re struggling to get out of your wetsuit. Reach behind you and grab the zip cord of your wetsuit as soon as you exit the swim. Then start to pull the zip open as you walk or run into transition. If you can, get the suit open, and both arms out, so you enter transition with the wetsuit pulled to your waist. Don’t forget that it’s the layer of water inside the wetsuit which makes it easier to take off. The longer you take, the more of that water will have drained out and the trickier you’ll find it to get out of the wetsuit. Once you’re standing by your bike, pull the suit to your knees before stepping out of one leg. Then use that free leg to stand on the wetsuit, so you can pull your second leg free. You’ve done it!

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