Some recent research in Triathlete Magazine shows that most people avoid doing a triathlon strength training program. The survey stated that even seasoned athletes were not hitting the gym as much as they should – or at least as recommended by professional trainers.
I think we all know how important a triathlon strength training plan is for injury prevention, added endurance, better cardio recovery time, stronger joints, feeling better after workouts, etc. But for most of us – triathlete or not – most of the problem comes down to just following through and doing it. Let’s break it down and get you on your way to finding a strength training workout for triathlon training, and then actually doing it.
There is a lot of exercise and fitness programs that you will first have to weed out before you get started. You will want to reap the benefits of a triathlon strength training program, but obviously we are not bodybuilders here. However, I’m never against toning up and looking great, either.
Take a look and let’s find the balance in triathlete strength training…
- Use only a triathlon-specific strength training program – You’re not lifting to look like Arnold, are you? A bodybuilding-type workout will train your body in a way that is not helpful for triathletes, slow you down, decrease your flexibility, and only promote injury. Plus, you will want to make sure that you are not exerting all your energy in this kind of training and have something left over for your other workouts.
- Hire a trainer – If you feel intimidated looking all that fancy equipment in the gym, you should try a personal trainer for at least a few sessions. I’ve helped lots of clients ease their gym related fears and get them into a regular routine they can follow on their own. Plus, a professional trainer will make you keep on track with your training.
- Try a boot camp or class – If you don’t know enough about putting together your own strength training workout plan, you could always join a class. I’ve seen many boot camp style classes (including my own, of course) offer awesome cardio-based workouts that would be excellent for triathlon cross training.
- Make time in your schedule – Going to all this trouble of finding a new fitness plan won’t do a lick of good for you unless you make the time for it. To mix in strength training with your already existing triathlon training plan – I recommend at least 2 times a week for at least 30 mins of strength training – can be a busy schedule’s worst nightmare. Get up earlier, stay up later, over lunch break at work, schedule it into your day and your week and keep that appointment like your wellbeing depended on it. What ever it takes! Even one session per week is much better than nothing at all, and I know that you will see overall improvements in performance.
“A solid triathlon strength training workout plan is based on finding balance…”
Tips For Triathlete Strength Training
Now that you are in the regular routine of strength training in your triathlon workout regimen (am I right, or do I need to come over and kick your butt into great shape with my own foot?), let’s check in and make sure you are doing things properly.
Keep these tips in mind with a triathlon strength training workout…
- Use picture perfect form - Here’s what you don’t want to do: lift hastily with bad technique and build bad habits and muscle imbalances that you will take into other areas of your training. Here’s what you want to do: Utilize proper mechanics to increase your base, better your function and form in other sports, strengthen your joints, stay limber, and increase recovery time. This is SO important and that’s a huge advantage of working with a personal trainer.
- Lift fresh – If you’re sore and achy from a big long run yesterday, don’t kill it on the weights today. Either take a recovery day off or hit it light for some upper body only. Train smart and remember that we are trying to prevent overuse and not perpetuate possible injuries.
- Add body part-specific exercises – A good, solid routine will include a variety of exercises that target the body as a whole, but also have a focus on areas of imbalance or that need extra help. I personally value core strengthening moves, and always throw in a handful of shoulder and hip stability exercises. This tends to help my clients stay feeling good and injury-free.
- Keep it changing – Tony Horton had a good theory with his P90X “muscle confusion” thing, but you don’t have to take it that far. Change up your exercises and, importantly, the order of the exercises every couple of weeks or so. You can also mix up the days of the week and what other triathlon training goes before or after your strength training workout day. Plus, the variety really helps against monotony and boredom.
Those few tips are a good start in considering a triathlon strength training workout, and will put you well on your way to experiencing the benefits – and not the dangers - of a good fitness plan. The key now it to simply get the hang of a new program and then stick with it. I know you can do it!
And trust me, it will be well worth it!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my free Triathlon Strength Training Workout sample video!