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While triathlon is primarily an aerobic sport, adding strength and conditioning work into your programme can be the difference between surviving the training for the beginner, to a podium finish vs part of the pack for the competitive triathlete. Over the last 15 years we’ve been trialling different conditioning techniques gleaned from research and also from our own training experience. This article will share some of the key concepts we use in conditioning triathletes.
Let’s start with swimming conditioning exercises. One of the key outcomes from our training are to improve core strength to reduce drag and increase power development. If your hips are dragging while swimming – the drag takes away from propulsion you are creating. We use positions like this exercise on the Swiss ball below to train the streamline position essential for swimmers. We use holds, arm and leg variations to create bodies that slice through the water.
Cycling requires single leg drive with a good stable pelvis. We’ve achieved 10-20% gains in power output and performance even in Olympic level cyclists by integrating exercises like this one into cycling programmes. In this exercise, the cyclist is vertically driving over the box. This is fantastic for developing leg power and adds a level of intensity that is difficult to achieve using only on-bike training.
Lastly but not least is the run. The transition from the bike to the run is a tricky time for triathletes. Getting your big powerful gluteal muscles to contribute to running directly after cycling is difficult. Sitting on your glutes on a chair all day then on a bike creates challenges in getting your butt muscles working. Glutes get stretched out in a cycling position – try leaning forward into a cycling position now and feel the stretch on your glutes – (move your chair back first or you’ll head butt your screen). The exercise below is fantastic for getting glutes to work and is a worthy exercise to add to your running conditioning programme. Better glute function means more power
These are just a few of the key exercises we use in training for folks who like to swim, bike and run. We often include other supportive exercises to help posture and reduce the risk of injury as well.
If you’re serious about getting back into any of these activities or if you’re ready to take your game to the next level please talk to us about a specific conditioning programme