ARE TRIATHLON WETSUITS DIFFERENT?
Are Triathlon Wetsuits Different?
If you are a triathlon enthusiast, chances are you like wetsuits. The attire not only keeps cold water from paralyzing your legs and arms and sinking before you get to the shore, but they also enhance swimming speed by up to 7%, which is more than enough to give a triathlete a 70-to-90-meter edge over other suitless competitors.
What's more, scientific studies show that the suits boost swimming speeds in shorter events (around 400 meters) and can help both corpulent and lean swimmers. However, the only edge that skinny swimmers have is because one major effect of neoprene suits is to enhance a wearer's buoyancy.
Plump individuals have a bountiful buoyancy as their "natural" built-in suits encase their frames. On the other hand, Skinny people don't float well as they have very minimal buoyant fat, and their body parts (muscles and bones) usually sink very fast like stones.
As such, by enhancing buoyancy, the suits help swimmers use less effort to avoid sinking. They can move or stay in any position at the top without much hassle. This means you can channel more energy towards forward movement.
In addition, wet suits' smooth surface reduces "drag"- the friction or resistance between a user's body and water. Research shows that they minimize this performance-compromising drag by around 15 %.
That said, it is clear how vital wetsuits are to triathletes. But then which suit is ideal for and why? Yes, it is easy to get tempted to purchase any type of wetsuit and use it for both surfs, swims, and triathlons to save money. While there are no regulations against wearing a general wetsuit in the game, if you want to give it your best shot and get the most out of your wet wear, your best bet is a suit designed for such events:
The Triathlon wetsuit! It offers a one-piece, multipurpose gear that can work from the beginning of a race to the post-race cool down.
What Makes Them Different?
Triathlon suits are heavy and thick enough to keep users warm yet thin enough to be adaptable. They work by trapping a thin layer of water near the skin, insulating against cold water outside the suit. Coverage is another great aspect of how warm triathlon wetsuits are. Sleeveless options are great for warmer climates, as they allow the bonus of a wider range of motion for legs and arms.
A full triathlon suit keeps users warm in most swimming environments. The extra coverage also acts as a shield between a swimmer and rocks, aquatic life, and seaweed. Nonetheless, they do not offer the same room and freedom for stroke-like sleeveless suits do.
Also, they are quick-drying, which means by the time you get to the bike, you are dry enough not to become sore. There will be no need for subtracting/adding gear at transition, helping you move from one stage to the next stage smoothly and quickly.
Most good quality triathlon suits are crafted for one main thing-enhance speed. This means they repel water and keep the gear smooth, minimizing resistance as much as possible when you move through the water. Missing this slick surface can be a deal-breaker for your performance, especially during the swimming part of the race. And when every microsecond counts, it IS critical to give yourself every little advantage you can.
So how does it achieve this? They have a slippery outer coating that allows you to glide smoothly and faster in water. Actually, they are made of a Yamamoto neoprene rubber. The material helps minimize drag and enhances the speed in the water helping users conserve energy. And if you use less effort in the swimming part of the race, it means you will have more energy for the remaining stages. In addition, most triathlon suits are designed with air pockets along different parts of the gear to enhance buoyancy and refine your posture in the water.
As mentioned earlier, triathlon wetsuits do their job by trapping a layer of water firmly between the skin and the suit. The heat from the body heats the water to a certain degree which keeps you warm. This essentially means that the tighter the suit, the warmer it will be. However, another advantage of a triathlon wetsuit is that when it fits you tightly, it provides automatic compression to joints and muscles, something that can make you perform better for longer.
The sensation feels like you are wearing a compression sleeve over your knee when working out. Once you put the suit on, the entire body feels tighter, lighter, and ready for performance. This add-on can help you push through harder as a surfer or swimmer, which will, in turn, make you better at the race.
Quick to Take Off
Another great aspect about the triathlon wetsuit is that it is crafted to be removed quickly, particularly when you may need to change from one gear to another during the race. Unlike a surf suit that has a zipper either at the front or at the back (making it a bit hard to grab and take off), a triathlon suit is designed to be taken off in a snap, sometimes even having easily removable legs and arms so as to get you back in the game as fast as possible.
Triathlon wetsuits also come in various styles and sizes. They come in sleeveless (full-length legs and no sleeves), full suits(full-length legs and long sleeves as well as shorties. These are no sleeves and below-the-knee-length wetsuits. Similarly, apart from the main categories, there is basically every sleeve and leg length blend available. A few new cuts and styles are also emerging, such as tank top, short legs, and t-back.
Wrapping It Up
If you are a serious triathlon athlete and want to have the best performance every time you compete, try a triathlon wetsuit. The benefits it offers cannot be ignored. Though a general or a surf wetsuit will give you a few of the advantages, it simply doesn't have what you require to compete optimally or at your best. With a triathlon wetsuit, the difference is enormous and is noticeable almost instantly. Try it today; you will be glad you did!
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