Are You Sure You're Putting On Your Wetsuit Right? The Human Shoehorn

There is a bit of a secret method to getting in your wetsuit properly, we call it the "human shoehorn". You'll need some help from a friend to use this technique but it will make your suit a lot more loose and flexible around the shoulders.

The first step is to make sure that you pull enough loose material up the arms and legs. Use a plastic bag over your hand or foot as you slide them into the suit, this helps the suit slip on. At the ankles and wrist pull your suit up 5cm (2 inches) more than you might normally do:

Work this material up your legs to the groin area and up your arms to the shoulders:

Now have your friend slide their hand inside the suit down towards your tricep and with their other hand work the material up the arm and round from the chest on both sides. This is the "human shoehorn" :

Take care not to over-stress the suit doing this as you might tear it. You're just trying to position the suit nicely on your body, not stretch it. The last thing you want to do is rip your suit immediately before a race!

Without using this method you will have a wide gap across your back between the zip and when you do up your suit it will compresses your shoulders and makes things very tight. After Human Shoehorning your suit will sit quite differently with the zip almost together on your back, which can be easily done up:

Now your shoulders will be much more free and loose, ready for a great swim split!

One last tip, as you get in the water pull the neck open a touch and let some water in. This helps lubricate the suit and the water acts as an additional layer of insulation once warmed up.

Have a great race and let us know how you go on the blog comments here.

Swim Smooth!


Anonymous said...

The shoehorn part of this is probably the most overlooked part of this by athletes - the zipper should be really close in the back when done - just like the picture. It makes arm movement soooo much easier.

The plastic bag trick is a waste of time and effort. Just roll the legs and arms of the wetsuit inside out and start with everything in the right position from the beginning as opposed to trying to pull the suit up your legs or arms. Much quicker and no bags to mess with.

Anonymous said...

As a newby using a wetsuit I would like to add another tip to the "shoehorn" method. Once the suit is on, and zipped, bend over to a right angle from the waist, you will see wrinkles/rolls of wetsuit fabric at your abdomen. Grab a wrinkle/roll and stand up straight pulling the fabric up your abdomen as you do this. Repeat this process two or three times, you will find it easy to do and your chest area will be much less restricted.

Ms Piggy said...

Good tips..but in a the swim to bike tire transitions, I can't get mine OFF despite body glide, silicon, trying to do it in the water. It is tight at the wrists and ankle and I get stuck pulling it off.
Any tips for this?A

Gabe Lopez said...

I hate to say this but you can ditch the bag if your wetsuit brand is well designed and fits your body like a custom suit. Both my Tyr Hurricane Cat 3 & Xterra Vector Pro X2 both come on sans bag and the Tyr has easy expansion panels to get the suit off fast, even when I forgot to put on TriSlide.

sugarmagnolia70 said...

Great tips! Not sure how it would work if you're not doing a race with a friend, though....not sure I'd feel comfortable asking a stranger to do that for me! Then again, in transition, we're all friends.

shhh. said...

Anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid ripping it with your fingernails? Getting it on isn't a problem so much as keeping it up and hole-free!

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