Active Root Ambassador & Triathlete Kate Pearson tells us why and how to build to strength in the triathlon off-season!
Hopefully most of your races have finished up for the season and you've enjoyed a bit more flexibility in your training.
Now is a key time to be adding some more strength sessions to your training. Not only will it help you develop power and endurance for your summer training and racing, but it will help to ward off injuries.
Below i've detailed a couple of sessions that focus on building all round conditioning for an endurance athlete. I've split them into a heavy weights section that you'll need to be in a gym for and a body weight workout that you could do in your front room.
Pre-season is the best time to be lifting heavy weights. When you first try these sessions it's likely you'll develop DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for a couple of days after. DOMS is basically where ryou load the muscle in a way that it's not used to i.e. going through a greater range of motion or loading with additional weight, which causes micro-tears in the muscular tissue. This will only happen the first few times so it's better to get the pain out of the way before you start racing!
If you're new to strength training, it is worthwhile investing in a strength and conditioning coach, or ask the fitness instructors at the gym to help you figure out a good routine to follow and the appropriate weights to use. Ask them to show you exercises that are specific to your sport (eg shoulder presses for swimmers and split leg squats for runners.)
Don't go in guns blazing just because the guy next to you is deadlifting 150kg. That's a sure-fire way to end up injured. Start light and aim for three sets of around 12-15 reps of each exercise to start with. The last round of each exercise should be difficult and you should be failing by 10-12 reps. Failure is where the magic happens!
Here's an example Weighted Workout, using barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells. If you're not sure about these exercises then venture onto youtube to find some demonstration videos.
1. Barbell Deadlifts, 3 x 15
2. Split Squat, 3 x 10 each side
3. Walking lunges, 3 x 20 (barbell on shoulders)
4. Weighted single leg calf raise, 3 x failure each side
5. Lat Pull Down 3 x 15
6. Single Arm Chest Press (dumbbells) 3 x 8 each side
7. Single Arm Shoulder Press 3 x 10 each side
8. Circuit 3 x (20 oblique sit ups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 plank jacks, 20 burpees)
For those of us that don’t have access to the gym or weights, a bodyweight routine can be just as effective if done right. You can make your own circuit, include exercises completed in a set time, or a certain number of reps, or to failure.
Here is an example of a bodyweight circuit. Complete all exercises once, then repeat the circuit 3 times. Aim for 45 seconds of work with 15 seconds rest.
2. Reverse Lunges
3. Push ups
4. Tricep dip
5. Mountain Climber
7. Side Lunge - alternating
8. Marching Glute Bridge
10. Sumo Squat Jumps
Remember this is just a couple of examples of some possible workouts. It's going to take a few goes to workout what exactly works for you.
Conditioning work is usually the first thing to get dropped when life gets busy. So i'd try and make each session part of your weekly routine rather than randomly slotting it in when you have time. It can also get a bit tedious, so make sure you're varying the exercises that you're doing as well!