Strength train­ing can boost per­for­mance and de­velop your re­silience to in­jury. Luck­ily, the im­pend­ing off-sea­son is the per­fect time to fo­cus on build­ing lean body mass

220 Triathlon Magazine - - EXPERT ADVICE -

Al­though triathlon is bril­liant in that it in­cor­po­rates three dis­ci­plines in one, swim­ming, bik­ing and run­ning all have rel­a­tively lim­ited move­ment pat­terns. The spe­cific train­ing you do for each means you get strong through those move­ments pat­terns but, if you’re chal­lenged out­side of them, you ex­pose your­self to the risk of in­jury. There’s more to life than swim, bike and run so, whether it’s lift­ing the kids or shop­ping out of the car, or do­ing some gar­den­ing or DIY, de­vel­op­ing bet­ter all-round strength can make you more ro­bust and re­silient.

Ad­di­tion­ally, by us­ing strength train­ing to de­velop your peak force, you can im­prove your swim, bike and run per­for­mance. If your mus­cles are stronger, they’ll be work­ing at a lower pro­por­tion of what they’re ca­pa­ble of when you’re putting sub­max­i­mal loads through them. This means they’ll func­tion more ef­fi­ciently, mean­ing you’ll be able to go harder for longer.

The off-sea­son is the per­fect time to fo­cus on strength train­ing. The short-term fa­tigue and heav­i­ness that strength train­ing tends to put into your mus­cles will have less im­pact on lower in­ten­sity off­sea­son workouts than on high­erend pre- and in-sea­son ses­sions. As you’ll prob­a­bly be able to dial back on your swim­ming, cy­cling and run­ning dur­ing an off-sea­son strength block, your body should de­velop lean mass with­out so much catabolic (de­struc­tive) train­ing load.

Strength train­ing is also an an­abolic ac­tiv­ity, stim­u­lat­ing the growth/ build­ing of lean mass, as op­posed to car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise, which tends to be catabolic, break­ing tis­sue down. By us­ing a fo­cussed block of off-sea­son strength train­ing to build lean tis­sue, you can off­set some of the in­evitable in-sea­son losses. Along with mak­ing you a stronger ath­lete, in­creased lean tis­sue can also help with main­tain­ing good body com­po­si­tion and fat loss. This is es­pe­cially per­ti­nent for 40+ ath­letes for whom strength train­ing can de­lay – and even re­verse – the lean tis­sue loss as­so­ci­ated with age­ing.

Al­though a gym is the ideal place for strength work, with the min­i­mum of kit you can train at home. Some dumb­bells or ket­tle­bells, a door­frame mounted pull-up bar with sus­pen­sion train­ing straps and a bench/step are about all you need. For run­ning and cy­cling, fo­cus on squat­ting, lung­ing and dead-lift type move­ments. For the swim, pull-ups, rows and press­ing move­ments are key.

For max­i­mum ben­e­fits al­low at least 12-24hrs be­tween a strength ses­sion and any aer­o­bic ac­tiv­ity; you might also find you need to up your pro­tein in­take dur­ing a strength train­ing block.

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