Off-Season Strength Training

The winter months mean a break from training for most of us. This time of year is either the “off-season” or the “preseason” depending on which way you look at it.  The winter months are the best time of year to invest in an area of training often overlooked by triathletes.  Strength training.  Strength training benefits triathletes in three main ways:

Injury prevention

Pre-season strength training focusing in particular on the shoulders and the hips can help avoid injuries to these two vulnerable areas.  The shoulders are susceptible to injury due to the freestyle swim which places strain on the front of the body and not on the back.

The back shoulder muscles should be strengthened with exercises that focus on the rear deltoids.  The result is stronger and more balanced shoulders that are capable of reducing swim times and avoiding injury.

The hips are the other vulnerable area of a triathletes body.  The repetitive nature of running and cycling focuses strain on the same hip muscles.  By doing strength exercises that focus on the lateral movement of the legs, rather than the forward motion in cycling and running, you will strengthen the hips and help avoid injury.

Core Strength

As our triathletes your core stabilizes your body as you swim, cycle and run.  Your core connects and anchors your upper body to the lower body and controls the coordinated movement.  It includes the lower back and the deep abdominal muscles.  Rather than doing forward crunches, do multi-limb movements such as the plank and adding rotation exercises to standard exercises like chest press.

The Plank Exercise

Greater Power

By adding strength exercises to your preseason training you will be able to take your performance to the next level.  Speed and endurance improve with greater power.  Faster swim times, bike times and run times are a direct result of greater power.  You just need to look at the expensive power monitors that professional cyclists use to see proof of this.

Squat Exercise

Running faster is made possible by more powerful foot strides.  By including exercises like squats, lunges, calf raises, and tricep extensions, you will notice more powerful swim strokes and legs.  During pre-season try and include one if not two strength training sessions into your off season training plan.

Do two or three sets 20 repetitions with moderate resistance.  After 3 to 4 weeks you will notice improved performance, which will be carried into the start of the racing season.

Train safe!


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