All sports exist on some continuum of the aerobic/anaerobic scale. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the majority of sports will incorporate a significant balance of both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. But even athletes in sports that are more skewed to one end of the continuum would benefit from training other modalities. Ultimately a common theme across sports is that elite level athletes in sports that require specificity adapt to the demands of their sports but they still typically have a well developed base of other athletic attributes that can provide an extra edge to their performance. A powerlifter that incorporates some form of cardiovascular training to build a larger aerobic base will see improvements in their recovery between sets and the total work volume they can incorporate in a total session. Likewise a triathlete that has a larger strength base will have more power to draw from for a more explosive stride. Additionally incorporating strength training into a program will benefit the triathlete in increasing their mobility, flexibility, and protect them from injuries.
-triatheltes must be efficeint with their strength training sessions
-exercises that give you the most proverbial “bang for the buck” will produce the best results in a program
-understanding your indidual recovery time is essential for a well designed program
-because of the nature of the sport, injury preventitive/rehabilatative exercises should be incorporated in a program
Time management: There are a multitude of lifts that could be of great benefit to any athlete but for a triathlete, time management is especially crucial. As a triathlete you’ll have a finite amount of time that you can devote to strength training without it cutting into time that could be spent on skill development for an actual event technique (like swim stroke, running gait, or peddling stride). With that in mind it’s best to be efficient with the time allotted to strength training. Mastery of high skill lifts like the olympic lifts provide a multitude of benefits to any athletic endeavor but it isn’t the wisest of choices when mastery requires extensive amount of time devoted to skill development especially when simpler alternatives are available. Because your triathlon training schedule includes a high volume of cardiovascular based endurance work in addition to skill specific training sessions, your choice of weight lifting exercises should give you the most amount of benefit with the least amount of time devoted to additional weight room skill training. Every lift will require an attention to detail in technique and an initial learning curve, but it’s important for the triathlete to consider if the potential benefit from including said lift in their program is worth the time requirement to learn proper execution of the lift. Negligence of said factor is dangerous to the triathlete, programming a lift that you can’t execute with proper technique can result in injury and similarly programming superfluous exercises takes away time that should have been devoted to event specific technique.
Total Body Lifts: Continuing with the theme of time management, the most efficient lifts to include in a program will be complex lifts that target multiple muscle groups. Lifts like the squat, dead lift, and overhead press build strength throughout the body in addition to improving balance and flexibility. Certain isolation exercises could definitely benefit a triathlete but the best designed strength programs will include the aforementioned lifts.
Recovery time: Understanding the time needed to recover from a training session is important when designing your strength training program. Recovery time is dependent on genetics, nutrition, sleep patterns, and individual tolerance of soreness. It’s important for every individual to understand the recovery patterns for their body and program accordingly. When factoring in recovery time, it’s necessary to look at the program as a whole as an example it wouldn’t be advised to have heavy squat and cycling sessions on consecutive days if you expect to compete either session to the most optimal of your abilities.
Antagonist muscles: As a form of injury prevention it’s crucial to incorporate exercises that target antagonist muscles. Because of the time spent repeating the same motions, triathletes put themselves at risk for injury because of structural imbalances. A well designed program will include lifts that target the antagonist muscle groups so that they remain strong