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The Benefits of Strength Training as a Triathlete

Updated: May 21, 2019

benefits of strength training for triathletes

As triathletes, we spend a LOT of time running, biking and swimming but often miss out on a few other extremely important details that directly impact on performance. Of course, nutrition and sleep play a HUGE role in performance, strength is another component that shouldn't be left out of training. We will talk more about nutrition and sleep in the upcoming weeks, so this week, we will focus on strength.

Of course, you are probably thinking, I am already so busy spending time on the 3 disciplines you are training for, how could you possibly add more to your schedule?

As with your other training,  strength training should be periodized as well. What that means is, when your race season is done, it is time to back off the disciplines you have been spending most of your time doing and start back with those that have been put off to the side (or, for some of you, never started in the first place) - strength training.

What are the benefits? 

  • Injury prevention

  • Core strength

  • Additional power

  • You just plain look good! (who doesn't want that, right?!!)

Injury prevention: 

This is big in our book- which is why it is listed first. After all, injured athletes just aren't able to perform at their peak.  These days, we spend a lot of time sitting around- whether it be during driving, having a desk job, or sitting at home after work or on the weekends. Increased time sitting means less time using our muscles and more time impacting our posture. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass as well as keep us mindful of our posture - both important aspects in helping with injury prevention.

Core strength:

People get confused about what this means. Your core includes the entire mid-section of your body - abs, glutes and low back. This does not mean more sit-ups, abs include your six pack, but, even more important are those small stabilizing muscles that you cannot see, but play the role of keeping your hips and back stable such as the transverse abdominis and gluteus medius.

Power = Force x distance/time:

Strength will increase your force output, making you faster in every single discipline, so long as you are being smart about your workouts.

Of course, when you start strength training, it is important to periodize your strength training as you do your swim, bike and run training. When you first start, you should spend 6-8 weeks in the anatomical adaptation phase, getting your body ready for more strength/power.

If you have been using the same strength workout for years, it is time to make a change. If you have questions about where to start, contact me to develop the program that is best for you to keep you injury free, get you more speed and, looking buff when you cross the finish line!

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