HOW TO DO IT
Sit on a mat with your feet hip-width apart and flexed, fingers behind your ears. Pull in your abs and keep your back naturally straight as you hinge backwards (A). Continue to lean back until you’re no longer able to keep your back straight. Then round your back, gently rolling through your spine, as you lower to the floor. Begin to roll up by lifting your head, neck and shoulders, bringing your body up until you can lean forwards over your legs (B). Return to a vertical spine and repeat. SPINE As you sit up, imagine peeling each vertebra off the floor one by one. Don’t.
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Designed with open-water swimming champion Keri-anne Payne, this super buoyant suit is perfect tor those who are relatively new to friafhlons and swimming outdoors. The one-piece, 2mm-thick neoprene shoulder panel allows great shoulder movement, and there are new super-tlexi under-arm materials. The lower torso and front of legs are 5mm thick (4mm on the back of upper legs), which puts you in a very buoyant position. It also boasts a Speedflo coating that minimises drag and stretchy Pro Speed material at the cuffs for speedy removal. But, when wrestling this on (I’m at the very top of XS size), I put my fingernails through the outer coating.
Don’t like the restrictive feel of a wetsuit or the wrestling on and off that often comes with it? This one could be for you! The arms, shoulders and back of the lower legs don’t contain neoprene at all – they’re just a ‘skin’ of barely there, PU-coated fabric. The shins are 2.5mm thick and front of thighs are 4mm for buoyancy, while the torso and upper back of legs are just 1,5mm. Core stabilisation and body positioning regulators on the thighs mean you still get a pretty good swim position and Y38 (Yamamoto 38 cell neoprene rubber) adds flexibility and buoyancy plus durability. It’s less warm than the others, but less bulky than most to carry around. It’s on the roomier side around the waist.
H&Fs chief sub Emma Lewis takes the plunge in chilly waters ‘I found this one easy to put on solo, and there was loads of flexibility around the shoulders (the material felt barely there when swimming), thanks to super-thin 1 mm neoprene in the arms and shoulders and super stretchy lining. This thin neoprene was balanced out with 5mm in the upper chest and lower back and back of lower leg, with medium thickness in the hip area, which I found was a great balance for me. The Rollbar feature worked to keep my body in a good position, too. This suit felt a little less buoyant than the Zone 3 suit, so would suit those with more swimming experience.
It’s made from 39 Cell, the most buoyant neoprene out there, and the SCS (super composite skin) silicone coating to decrease water resistance seemed robust. The size small was just right for me – I have a narrow upper body, but this suit was obviously shaped for women, coming in a lot at the waist. Size and shape varies hugely between the brands, so do your research to get the best fit for you. This suit Is excellent value for money.
Wowl This suit looks way too small to fit you, but thanks to its super-stretchiness, it’s pretty easy to put on, with a really comfy, snug fit. Since 3mm is as thick as the neoprene gets on this suit (it’s 3mm all over), it suits better swimmers or those who find wetsuits can lift their hips up too far. If still keeps you warm on longer swims, though, and its lack of bulk is a bonus when transporting it. The “X-0 Skeleton” down the middle of the suit helps with body alignment and roll. This suit also features a Breakaway Zipper, to help triathletes speed up their transition time (watch the video on the website). This is a great idea, but it took me a bit of getting used to. One for serious triathletes for whom every second counts.’ wiggle.co.uk ‘If you baulk at the price of wetsuits, this one is great value. The new, thinner (1,5-2mm), more flexible neoprene across the shoulders and underarms meant it didn’t feel restrictive, though it wasn’t quite such a snug fit on me as the others. The robust SCS (super composite skin) coating reduces drag in the water, while the gender-specific buoyancy is aimed at progressing triathletes and swimmers with its medium 3-4.5mm neoprene in the lower body and improved buoyancy on the upper body to balance it. It was easy enough to get on and off, but I found if pooled a lot of wafer in the stomach area as the design of the suit is pretty straight up and down, so it was really roomy around the waist on me. A good one for apple shapes.’
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