Strength Training for the Multisport Athlete - Part 2
Most multisport athletes possess good muscular endurance. Yet
insufficient muscular strength often prevents triathletes from taking
their racing to the next level.
Strength training can boost lactate tolerance, assist in delaying
fatigue and may help bridge the metabolic power gap between swimming,
cycling and running as well improve performance during hill climbing,
sprints and breakaways. Below is a sample strength-training program
designed to improve triathlon performance and enhance injury resistance.
Essential components of a strength-training program for triathletes
include: warm up, plyometrics, abdominal/core work, resistance training
and recovery/regeneration. Flexibility should be incorporated into the
warm-up and recovery/regeneration periods.
Single-joint exercises should be used sparingly, if at all, and have
little place in training for triathlon performance. Instead, perform
explosive movements (e.g. jump squats) and multi-joint exercises (e.g.
squats) and pair exercises/movements together.
Each session should begin with a triathlon-specific dynamic warm up
designed to activate muscles used during swimming, biking and running.
Progressing from in-place movements to walking, skipping and running,
dynamic flexibility is designed to turn on the nervous system and
prepare the body for the strength work ahead. As a result, additional
warm-up activities, such as stationary cycling or treadmill running,
Ankle rocks x 10: In place, continuous
back-and-forth movement on your feet from plantarflexion to
High-knee lunge walk: From a standing position,
lift and hug right knee to chest while squeezing left glute and
extending up on left toes. Step forward into a lunge with right leg.
Repeat stretch on other side. Perform for 20 yards.
High-knee skip: From a standing position, lift knee
and foot while lifting opposing arm. Drive foot to the ground and
briefly generate double-foot contact with the ground as opposite knee
and foot drive up. Perform for 20 yards.
High-knee run: Rapid opposing arm and knee running
motion while keeping the ankle dorsiflexed as the knees driving upward.
Straight-leg skip: Keep knee straight and foot
dorsiflexed. Lift leg in front to the opposing hand. Pull heel back to
the ground and generate a double foot contact as opposite leg lifts.
Butt kicks: From a standing position, kick back
with your lower legs toward the glutes by bending at the knees and
firing the hamstrings. Perform for 20 yards.
Inchworm: Kneeling on all fours, use your hands to
walk out into a push-up position. Keep your knees straight, and walk
your hands and feet together. This exercises the core, stabilizers and
upper and lower body.
Before you get into the resistance-training portion of the workout,
spend a few minutes on plyometric exercises. Plyometrics, or training
the body to produce explosive sport-specific power, enhance the
muscles' ability to store and release energy. Double-leg plyometrics
include box jumps, hurdle hops and jump squats.
To perform jump squats, set your feet just wider than shoulder-width
apart with your toes pointed slightly out. Sit back on your heels and
drop down into a squat position. Jump straight up and land in the same
position, absorbing the landing.
Single-leg plyometrics include one-leg box jumps, one-leg hops and
split jumps. To perform one-leg box jumps, use a four- to eight-inch
box/platform. On one leg, jump up onto the box, concentrating on
absorbing and stabilizing the landing with the same leg. Step down,
starting and finishing in the same position.
Just as you use periodization during your sport-specific triathlon
training, so should you apply this concept to your weight-training
sessions as well. There are four phases in the resistance-training
program: preparatory, basic strength, strength/power and peaking phases.
Phase 1: The goal of the preparatory phase is to
develop a muscular and metabolic base by performing a high volume of
work at a very low to moderate intensity. Muscular imbalances and
injuries are addressed. This two-day per week program can be utilized
during the triathlon off-season while the body is recuperating. Take a
minimum of 24 to 72 hours rest between sessions.
|Ball log roll:
Lie on your stomach, keeping your feet and knees together.
stability ball under your legs just above the knees. While
core tight & the upper body up in a locked arm position,
hips from side to side. 3 x 15
||Front and side plank:
From a prone position, lift your body of the ground while
your elbows and balls of your feet. Hold the front plank
20 seconds. Next, lift your body off the ground stabilizing
right elbow and the side of your right foot. Repeat the side
position on your left elbow. Hold each for 3 x 20 seconds
|Jump squats (as above) 3 x 6
||One-leg box jumps (as above) 3 x 4
|Front squats, 3 x 8:
Take 1:30 rest after one set of eight, then go into your
first set of
pull-ups paired with front squats. Complete the cycle three
Pull-ups or pull-downs, 3 x 8: Bend your
elbows to 90
degrees while using an overhand grip on the bar. Pull your
body up and
chin over the bar. Lower your body until your arms are fully
|Walking lunge, 3 x 16 steps:
Take 1:30 rest after each set, then go into your first set
row paired with walking lunge. Complete the cycle three
Double row, 3 x 8: Lean forward and support
weight on a bench with one arm. Hold the dumbbell in the
Keeping your back flat and parallel to the floor, raise the
your lower-chest region.
|Close-grip bench press, 3 x 8:
Bench-press movement holding the bar shoulder-width apart.
rest after one set of eight, then go into your first set of
hyper paired with close-grip bench press. Complete the cycle
Swimmers' hyper, 3 x 8 (each side): Lying
stomach, with your arms stretched out in front, raise your
and left leg (keeping them straight). Switch to left arm,
after a set of eight.
|Alternate bench press:
Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Alternate
arm, then right arm. 3 x 8 with each arm. Take 1:00 rest
after one set
of eight, then go into your first set of ball leg-curl
alternating dumbbell bench press. Complete the cycle three
Ball leg-curl, 3 x 10:
Lying on your back with your feet and knees together, place a
ball underneath your feet, lifting your hips and creating a
line with your body. Without allowing your hips to fall to
bend your knees to roll the ball in and out with your feet
essential strength for cycling and running.
|Y-T-W-L shoulder circuit:
Lying prone with the shoulder blades squeezed together,
raise the arms
to form the letters Y, T, W then L as viewed from above.
repetitions of each letter continuously.
3 x 8 + 8 + 8 + 8
Lying supine with the shoulder blades squeezed together,
move the arms
in a diagonal fashion across the body, beginning at 10
(right arm) and
2 o'clock (left arm), and finishing at the opposite hip. 3 x
Phase 2: This phase, which coincides with the
beginning of your base training, is designed to increase sport-specific
strength. Resistance-training volume is moderate, and intensity/loads
are moderate to high. An active rest week should be taken after this
phase. No resistance training should be done during this week.
Phase 3: The phase is designed to maximize the
strength and power of all triathlon-specific movements by continuing to
lower the volume of work and boost the intensity. Base training
progresses into early pre-season training, where higher-intensity work
Phase 4: Coinciding with your pre-competition
training cycle, resistance-training volume during this phase is at its
lowest level while intensity continues to be very high. Exercises
should be performed quickly and explosively at a tempo of one
repetition per second.
||2-4 days/wk for 2-6 wks
||2-3 days/wk for 3-4 wks
||Base training & early pre-season
||2 days/wk for 3-4 wks
||2 days/wk for 2-3 wks
|*One rep maximum; so 50% of 1-RM equals
half of the maximum amount you're capable of lifting
A proper cool down after every resistance-training session allows
the body to metabolically return to a pre-training state. Static
stretching of all major musculature is recommended; hold for a minimum
of 20 seconds per stretch. A post-workout self-massage using a foam
roller or tennis ball is an excellent mode of releasing muscle tension.