How to Put On a Wetsuit Triathlon

If you have ever struggled to put on your wetsuit before a race, this guide is for you. Getting into your wetsuit properly is an important part of preparing for the race that can set you up to do well on swim day.

You’ll learn about the types, features, size, and fit of triathlon wetsuits in this guide. Putting on your wetsuit correctly will make it feel like a second skin. There will be tips on applying lubricant, avoiding common mistakes new triathletes make, and how to take off your suit quickly.

No matter if you’re preparing for your first triathlon or an experienced racer looking to improve your process, this wetsuit guide will help you gain confidence and save time. It takes less time to adjust your gear, so you can focus on your performance. So let’s make you race-ready!

Understanding Triathlon Wetsuits

Triathlon Wetsuits

Types and Importance of Triathlon Wetsuits

Choosing the right wetsuit for a triathlon is crucial. Think of triathlon wetsuits as multi-use tools for swimmers. Whether you re experienced or just starting, knowing the difference between the two main types of wetsuits is helpful.

  • The full-sleeve wetsuit is great for swimming in cold water. It s like wearing a warm blanket that helps you float better, which is nice because it can help your legs stay fresh for cycling and running after the swim. 
  • Then, there are sleeveless wetsuits. These are awesome if you want to move around more easily and freely, kind of like how Michael Phelps swims.

Selecting the Right Wetsuit

Choosing the right wetsuit is important. Here’s a quick guide about selecting the right wetsuit:

  • Comfort and Fit: The wetsuit should fit comfortably, not too tight or too loose, allowing for easy movement.
  • Snugness: A snug fit is essential, especially around the arms, to ensure natural and unrestricted swimming movements.
  • Thickness for Temperature: Choose a thicker wetsuit for cold water to stay warm and a thinner one for warmer water to avoid overheating.
  • Ease of Use: Consider features like leg zippers for quick changing.
  • Trial and Error: Finding the perfect wetsuit might require trying several options, similar to searching for the best pizza spot.
  • Confidence and Comfort in Water: The right wetsuit should boost your confidence and comfort during the swim.

Preparing to Wear Your Wetsuit

Preparing to Wear Your Wetsuit

Steps Before Putting On Your Wetsuit

Okay, let’s get ready to put on your wetsuit. This is like getting all your cooking ingredients ready. Here are some tips to make it easier. If you’re at the event, make sure your wetsuit is not too cold. If it is, it can be really hard to put on.

It’s also a good idea to dry off before you put on your wetsuit. If your skin is dry, the suit will slide on easier. Think of it like trying to slide into a pair of jeans with wet legs it’s much harder than if you’re dry! So, grab a towel, make sure you’re not dripping water, and then start putting on your suit. This little step can make a big difference.

Proper Use of Wetsuit Lube

Let’s talk about wetsuit lubricant. This isn’t only for making things comfy; it’s like oil for your car. Put some on your neck, wrists, and ankles. This stops sore spots and helps you get out of your suit fast when time is important. And remember, you don’t need a lot – just a bit, like when you add a little spice to your eggs.

The Right Way to Put On a Triathlon Wetsuit

Time to focus! We’re going to learn how to put on a triathlon wetsuit. Let’s go step by step:

1. Start with your legs: 

First, put one foot in, then the other. Carefully pull the wetsuit up over your ankles and calves. Do it one leg at a time. Make sure it fits smoothly, without any wrinkles or folds.

2. Pull it up to your hips: 

Once the wetsuit is up to your knees, keep pulling it up slowly. It should fit snugly around your hips like tight shorts, but you should still be able to breathe and move easily.

3. Put in your arms: 

Next, put one arm into the sleeve. Reach down inside the wetsuit and pull it up until it’s right under your armpit. Do the same with your other arm. The suit should allow you to move your arms freely and not be too tight around your shoulders or underarms.

4. Pull it over your shoulders: 

Lift the wetsuit over your shoulders. Adjust it so it’s smooth against your back. This might take some wriggling, like adjusting a backpack to make it comfortable.

5. Zip it up: 

Stand up straight and reach for the zipper. Pull it up firmly until it s fully closed. If you can’t reach it, ask someone for help. It’s normal to need help with zipping up the suit.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here’s a list of common mistakes to avoid when putting on a wetsuit, especially for a triathlon:

Using Nails to Pull Up the Suit: Avoid using your nails when pulling up the suit to prevent ripping or creating holes.

Rushing the Process: Take your time when putting on the wetsuit, as rushing can lead to mistakes.

Ignoring Twists in the Suit: Ensure the wetsuit is not twisted and sits well on your body before zipping it up to avoid discomfort and difficulty in swimming.

Lack of Practice: Practice getting into your wetsuit at home to ensure efficiency and confidence on race day.

Tips for Beginners and Experienced Triathletes

Whether you’re just starting or you’ve been racing for years, we’ve all had trouble with our wetsuits at some point, feeling awkward as we try to put them on. Here’s some simple advice:

For beginners:

1. Get Familiar: 

Wear your wetsuit at home to understand how it feels. Move around, stretch, and practice swimming motions to get used to the range of motion.

2. Learn the Technique:

Watch tutorial videos or ask experienced triathletes for tips on the best way to put on a wetsuit. There are techniques to make it easier, like using plastic bags on your feet or hands to slide through more smoothly.

3. Pre-Race Check: 

Before the event, ensure all seams and edges are intact to avoid any last-minute discoveries of damage.

4. Stay Relaxed:

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when you’re new, but try to stay relaxed as tension makes it harder to put on the suit.

For Experienced Triathletes:

Experienced Triathletes

1. Maintenance Check:

Regularly inspect your wetsuit for wear and tear, especially around the seams and joints. Look for areas that may need repair and address them promptly.

2. Upgrade as Needed: 

Consider whether your wetsuit still suits your level of competition. As you improve, you may benefit from a suit with different features or materials.

3. Test in Conditions:

 If possible, test your wetsuit in conditions similar to those you’ll experience on race day. This can help you adjust to temperature and buoyancy differences.

4. Refine Your Strategy: 

Develop a quick exit strategy for transitioning out of your wetsuit. This can involve special techniques or gear like wetsuit peelers.

After the Swim – Taking Off Your Wetsuit

Once you finish your swim, it’s important to remove your wetsuit quickly. Here’s an easy guide: Right after you get out of the water, begin to peel off your wetsuit. Pull it down to your waist as you walk to your bike. Then, sit down fast, slide the wetsuit off your legs, and now you’re ready to get on your bike and ride.

After you’ve tackled the swim and taken off your wetsuit, it’s time to make sure you’re comfy for the bike ride. Dry yourself off if you can, and put on any extra gear you need for cycling. This might be your helmet, sunglasses, or special shoes. Make sure everything fits well and feels good so you can pedal away smoothly and focus on the next part of the race.


In conclusion, getting your triathlon wetsuit on right is super important for a good swim. Here s what you need to do: use lube on your skin, take your time putting the suit on one bit at a time, make sure it fits just right without any twists, zip it up, and try it out a few times before the big day.

It s just as key to take the suit off fast after your swim so you can get on your bike quickly. If you get better at using your wetsuit, you can then just focus on doing your best in the triathlon without any fuss with your outfit.

Frequently Asked Questions

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