Strength training is quickly becoming more popular with triathletes looking to boost their race pace in the gym. Due to the demands of the triathlete’s training schedule, it’s important to focus the strength session on quality rather than quantity. In Top 5 Strength Building Exercises for Triathletes we look at compound lifts, meaning they work most muscle groups, put an emphasis on your core and unveil your own hidden Ironman!
This kind of training works the body in parts, areas and ways you may not be used to so it is important to seek advice from a professional who will show you how to keep proper form and get the very most from them.
1) Bench press
Possibly the most popular resistance lift and for good reason! The bench press works mainly the upper body and can be used to build and stabilise the muscles used in your freestyle swimming pull. Other benefits include better upper body stability in running and control of the bike when sprinting.
Squats are one of the best exercises you can add to your training toolkit as a triathlete. They work your quads, glutes, core and directly impact your swimming, cycling and running. The exercise also helps to improve overall flexibility thereby helping with injury prevention and the soreness of back pain sometimes associated with cycling. Some studies have shown that squats can be beneficial for your cardiovascular system so you are getting two sets of training benefits for the effort of one, now that’s powerful!
Aside from squats, the deadlift is a vital exercise for anyone to add into their strength training routine. It works the entire body, with a focus on the glutes, back and hamstrings (also known as the posterior chain). This exercise will have a direct impact on your cycling and gains can be seen when you tackle those daunting steep hills which require a strong core to enable you to drive those pedals!
4) Bent-over row:
The bent over row is a fantastic exercise for your back and helps improve your posture and strengthen your core. This has the added benefit of helping you keep an erect composure when you start to fatigue in races. The move is essentially the opposite of the bench press and you’ll find the stronger you get with rows, the more you are able to push yourself with other lifts as well!
5) Overhead press:
The overhead press has the benefit of working all the major muscles in your back which are used for swimming. Implementing this exercise into your strength routine will make you a stronger and faster swimmer, helping with both the efficiency in your pull and propelling you further with each stroke.
A common misconception amongst those new to the gym is that lifting weights makes you bulky, which in endurance sports is ‘negative’ because it equates to extra weight that slows you down. This is only a myth, it is possible to lift weights for strength rather than size, and it is now a staple part of the training programs for pro endurance athletes. It is inevitable that your muscles will be more evident after your body adapts to the extra strain, but the only side effect is looking good in the mirror. So what are you waiting for? Unleash your own Ironman: start hitting these moves in the gym and experience their life-enhancing benefits for yourself!