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Triathlon Strength Training

Nowadays, triathlon strength training is a key part of most savvy triathletes' programmes.

Traditionally endurance athletes would steer clear of the gym and weights for fear of ‘bulking up’.

However some of you may be pleased to know that there is a whole range of things you can do to improve performance that don’t involve going anywhere near dumbbells and weights.

Strength training, conditioning, strength and conditioning training.

These are all terms you may have come across, but what do they mean, and is there a difference? And what should you be including in your schedule ?!

Strength and conditioning training is about more than lifting weights - it covers your entire physical development and what is needed to improve your physical performance. This can include plyometrics, speed and agility training, endurance training and core stability work.

Strength training is just one piece of the jigsaw.

Nowadays the term ‘strength and conditioning’ is commonly used as this covers the whole range of ‘physical’ work outside the remit of sports specific training.

Now don’t worry if the terminology is a bit confusing, all you need to know is what sort of things you can include in your programme and why. We’ll refer to this area as S&C training from now on.

triathlon strength trainin

Why do S&C training?

The three main reasons are:

  1. Reduce risk of injury
  2. Increase your potential to train effectively
  3. Maintain efficient posture

All of which should result in: Improved performance!

But before you dash out to join your nearest gym and start throwing weights around, read the articles below to find out how best to include triathlon strength training in your programme.

Part 1: Basic conditioning

The first thing you need to take into consideration when thinking about introducing S&C training into your programme is where you are starting from. If you’re new to triathlon, or you haven’t done any strength work before, it is important you start with the basics to avoid getting injured.

This section covers exercises to help you develop postural and movement control. These will allow you to maintain good posture during swimming, cycling and running, and therefore get the most out of your training.

Good movement control is vital in helping you stay injury free. This forms the base of your triathlon strength training programme and even experienced triathletes should include a range of these exercises.

Part 2: Running Specific Conditioning Training

Putting what you have done in part one into a more dynamic setting, specifically to improve your run performance.

This includes things such as running drills to improve posture and running economy, lower limb conditioning again for running economy as well as injury prevention and hamstring strength.

Part 3: Swim Specific Conditioning

Again building on the basic conditioning in part 1 by moving into swim specific conditioning. The focus is on shoulder stability and strength. These are important to keep you injury free but also to allow you to execute and maintain good swimming technique even when fatigued.

Part 4: Triathlon Strength Training

Exercises to improve general strength, discipline specific strength and improve your ability to generate force for improved performance. These should only be included in your program once you have built up a good strength base.


The articles below include explanations of the type of training involved as well as illustrations and video clips of loads of exercises you can do.

Articles on Triathlon Strength Training


Putting Together Your Triathlon Strength Training Program

How to plan your strength program, including assessments of basic conditioning.


Part 1: Basic Conditioning:

Core Strength Exercises – Level 1

Start here with basic core exercises focussing on engaging the TA muscle as a starting point.



Core Strength Exercises – Level 2

Moving on from Level 1, a series of exercises that are slightly more dynamic, looking at overall core strength.



Core Strength Exercises – Level 3

Progress to including these exercises once you have a good basic level of core strength. These are more dynamic exercises for overall core strength.



Glute Exercises For Hip Control And Stability

Good glute strength is important for maintaining good hip position and stabilising your pelvis. Without this you are likely to end up with injuries to your lower limbs - eg knee, calf or achilles problems.


Body Weight Circuit Exercises

This is a simple way to include strength training in your programme. There are hundreds of different exercises you could do, and you don't need much, if anything, in the way of equipment.




Part 2: Running Specific Conditioning

Running Drills

These are great to use as part of a warm-up. Ideal for improving functional strength and control, as well as running economy.




Hamstring Control And Strength

Weak hamstrings will get injured as soon as you run fast! So look after yours - here are exercises to improve your hamstring strength for injury prevention and improved performance.


Lower Limb Conditioning

Improve the strength and stability of your lower leg, ankles and feet. This will help reduce your injury risk but improved lower leg strength can contribute to better running economy.



Curing And Preventing Achilles Injury

One of our most popular pages! Our comprehensive 3 Step Plan to recovery from achilles problems. Exercises for preventing as well as curing this common runner's injury.



Part 3: Swim Specific Conditioning

Shoulder Stability and Strength

Prevent injury and improve functional strength and mobility for better swimming technique. All triathletes should be doing these exercises!



Part 4: Triathlon Strength Training

Triathlon Strength Training

For those triathletes looking to develop functional strength and power. No messing about with generic gym exercises. Find out THE strength exercises that will make you a stronger triathlete.





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