Discover the advantages of using resistance bands for triathlon strength training workouts with this full body band blast.
Ok, I’ll admit it… I’m finding myself in that limbo of knowing that I should workout, but not really wanting to go to the gym. Not only is it freezing cold outside, but add on travel time and waiting for open strength training machines at the gym, and my workout goes from 30 minutes to well over an hour.
That’s why I’ve come to really like home workouts because they are quick, and convenient. And I love how it shaves off at least 20 minutes of travel time. Plus, on a day like this, the heater in the car won’t even warm up until I’m pulling into the parking garage at the YMCA.
Resistance bands are a useful tool in making my home workouts not only happen, but also makes them much more effective. With some practice, I’ve really come to like the “feel” bands give for triathlon strength training workouts.
Here are four good reasons to use bands for triathlon strength training:
- They offer versatility and variety with your familiar (boring) exercises,
- They are cost effective, (aka, cheap!) so you can collect a few styles and weights,
- Easy to store and/or travel with. Where else can you find 50lbs of resistance that only weighs a few ounces. That means you can take it to the park, keep it in the car, throw it in your suitcase and travel with it, or whatever,
- With resistance bands, you have to engage your core and practice balance. That’s awesome because core strength and balance will help you swim, bike and run more efficiently.
Here’s a full-body strength training workout that I’ve designed to help with all the basic triathlon strength movements. All you’ll need is a band or two and a doorknob (or some kind of anchor). Don’t have a band? Don’t worry… we’re giving away an awesome set of Black Mountain resistance bands on Friday!
Most of these exercises are paired together to train certain body parts more effectively, so don’t rest between your sets. In fact, move quickly from one exercise to another to burn more fat, build more muscle endurance, and get into better overall shape.
Not only will this workout for triathletes help your strength and endurance with swimming, biking, and running, you’ll look better doing so!
*Make sure you anchor your band to something sturdy like a pole or a metal stair railing! If you use a doorknob, make sure the door is locked and can withstand the weight.
“Go for the burn with your strength training, because that means your building endurance.”
Chest Fly / Chest Press Super Set (15 reps each)
You’ll start this workout with flies to pre-fatigue your chest muscles before going into the (easier) chest press exercise. Here we show each exercise from 2 different angles.
With your band wrapped around a steady anchor, like a pole, grab the handles with arms extended out to your sides, and lean slightly forward to find your balance. Keep your elbows unlocked as you bring your hands to the front, and focus on giving your pecs a good squeeze every rep. Get your “burn on” with about 20 reps and go directly into the chest presses with no rest.
The chest press is just like doing a pushup into the air – or like the chest press machine you might use at the gym. I like this exercise with a band, because it feels more like a full-body workout as it will also tone up the muscles in your chest, shoulders, arms, and abs as you lean into and balance against the resistance of the outstretched band.
Reverse Fly (15 reps) / Squat Row (20 reps)
Once again, you’re going to pre-fatigue with the harder of the two exercises (and might need a lighter band for reverse fly).
In the opposite direction of the chest fly, this time try to pull your arms back to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Again, keep your arms slightly bent, and think about flexing the rear part of your shoulders to pull the band back.
Now grab a heavy band and wrap it around a something sturdy, then step back to load tension on the band. Take it down for a squat, and as you raise back up pull the band for a row. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and down. You’ll find that you need to lean back to counter the band, and that’s good for your core balance, too.
This a great combo move that will improve your posture as it tones up your whole body, so use it regularly as part of your fat loss or strength training workouts.
Squat Press (15 reps)
Keep that heart pumping with another combination exercise that is real good for triathlon training by challenging your cardio at the same time you’re building strength.
With both feet, step on a band that’s light enough to give you full extension overhead. Bring the handles up to your shoulders, and drop it like a squat. As you power up from the squat, focus on using your hips, and extend your arms to reach for the sky. Keep your palms facing out at the top. Lower your hands as you squat simultaneously.
Stationary Lunge with Shoulder Fly (10 reps on each leg)
Take a wide lunge stance with your front foot on the middle of the band. You’ll naturally use your quads for a lunge, so put the focus on using your hips to “scissor” your thighs to create the upward movement. At the top of every lunge, fly your band handles to the side to target your shoulders. Don’t go much higher than shoulder level with your hands to avoid shoulder impingement syndrome. Rest briefly and then switch legs.
Bi and Tris Back to Back (15-20 reps)
Alright, everyone what’s to keep their arms firm and not flabby right? So let’s add a couple more strength exercises that also end up helping with triathlon training too.
Wrap your band around your steady anchor again, turn around so it’s behind you, step out, and bend over with your arms reaching back. You’ll want to support your lower back with your core muscles by keeping your knees slightly bend. As you curl the bands, be sure to keep your shoulders back, and try to keep your elbows slightly higher than your back. Stay in control of the resistance by not letting your arms bounce back.
Next flip it around so you can extend your arms to work your triceps. Again, use good form by keeping your upper body straight, shoulders back, and elbows just slightly higher than your body. Extend the handles back to really get a squeeze in your triceps, and focus on a slow, controlled return.
Dead Lift (10-15 reps)
Think balance and power when you think of the dead lift. It’s a great exercise for targeting your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back to give you strength in your triathlon techniques. But it’s also very good in injury prevention by strengthening the often-neglected back side.
Stand on your band, bend over at the hips, and grasp your band mid way down. With knees slightly bent and core tight, hinge forward at the hips keeping your back straight. At the bottom, you should feel a bit of a stretch in your hamstrings – then concentrate on using your hamstrings to pull your body to the upright position. Adjust your grip as you need more or less tension.
Trainer’s tip: Start slow and build up, because this exercise could leave you very sore!
Wood Chop (15-20 reps on each side)
Many triathletes look past twisting movements when it comes to core training, but I love them for good reason. This is an exercise that will show up big in all three sports as it helps you transfer power from your trunk into forward motion.
Start by wrapping your band around an anchor and through the opposite handle, then step out far enough to give it good tension. Standing parallel to your band, hold it with both arms extended and use your core to twist – like you’re hitting a home run. Keep your abs tight as you return as to stay in full control, rather than “springing” back. Adjust your stance farther away if you need more challenge, then switch to the other side.
Reverse Crunches (15-20 reps)
This is a killer exercise in more ways than one…but in a good way, of course! It’s a move that will not only shape up your core and bring out that six-pack, you’ll find it adding power to all your triathlon movements, especially with full-circle pedaling and hill running. But I also love it because it targets the hard-to-get lower abs, and those always look good, right?
Position your mat on the floor just in front of your band anchor and put your toes through the handles. Now place your hands under your hips so that you support your lower back, and then suck your stomach in to flex your abs. Extend your feet out so that your heels are about six inches off the floor. For this move, the focus will be on bringing your knees to your chest, curling your hips up off the mat, and keeping that flexed tension on your lower abs the whole time.
Leg Lever Pull Overs 10-15 reps)
You’re going to love this one! This move combines two moves that are both great for your triathlon performance. First is the pullover that’s awesome for swim strength, and second is the leg lever that really builds your abs and hip flexors.
Lie on your mat with the band anchored above your head and scoot far enough away to provide good resistance. Starting with your legs slightly bent and angled about 30 degrees, raise your legs for a crunch. At the same time, pull your arms overhead to meet your legs at the top. Start slow to stay in full control of the motion, and speed up once your find your rhythm.
One really awesome thing about including strength and resistance for triathlon training along with your endurance training is that it keeps your body looking good by toning things up and burning lots more body fat.
Give this workout a try, and I’m sure you’ll start to feel the difference in just a few sessions.
Use this workout twice a week with your triathlon training plan. Schedule it into a dedicated strength training day, or use it with a shorter/lighter training day. I’ve found it to pair perfectly with a swim workout.