HomeWeightlifting4-Week Strength & Conditioning Workout Plan for Triathletes

4-Week Strength & Conditioning Workout Plan for Triathletes

Triathletes the world over appreciate that adding strength and conditioning into their training regime but there can be a few hurdles. Firstly, finding the time to add this into a plan that already includes swimming, cycling, and running. Secondly knowing where to start and what exercises are appropriate for a triathlete. This 4-week Strength and Conditional plan will equip you with the exercises and a framework to start.

Starting in the winter months is ideal as you can do the workouts inside away from the chilly weather outside. You will quickly identify areas you need to work on and exercises you like or feel give you the most benefit which you can integrate into your full triathlon training plan.

Why is Strength and Conditioning Training important for Triathletes?

Most triathletes appreciate that S&C is important so here is a re-cap of the benefits:

First, strength training can help your improve muscle strength and power, which can in turn improve your athletic performance. Stronger muscles can help you swim, bike, and run faster and with more efficiency, leading to better overall race times.

Second, strength training can help you to reduce the risk of injury. By strengthening your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, you as a triathlete can better support your joints and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Third, strength training can help you to improve body composition and overall fitness levels. By building muscle mass and reducing body fat, you can improve your body’s overall function and become more efficient at your sports.

Finally, strength training can help you to improve your overall mental and physical well-being. It can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality, all of which are important factors in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Overall, incorporating strength and conditioning into a training program can provide numerous benefits for triathletes and help you to achieve your performance goals.

The main forms of strength and conditioning training and their relative benefits

There are many different forms of strength and conditioning training, each with its own set of benefits. Some of the main forms of strength and conditioning training include:

  • Resistance training – This type of training involves using external weights (such as dumbbells or barbells) or your body weight to perform exercises that challenge your muscles and improve strength. Resistance training can help to improve muscle size, strength, and power, and can also help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Plyometrics – This type of training involves explosive, high-intensity movements that aim to improve power and speed. Plyometrics can be particularly beneficial for triathletes, as they can help to improve running and cycling performance.
  • Circuit training – This type of training involves performing a series of exercises in a specific order, with a short rest between exercises. Circuit training is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance and can also be an effective way to burn calories and improve body composition.
  • Yoga and Pilates – These practices focus on improving flexibility, core strength, and balance. Yoga and Pilates can help to improve your posture, reduce stress, and improve your overall physical and mental well-being.
  • Cardio training – This type of training involves activities that raise the heart rate and improve cardiovascular endurance, such as running, cycling, or swimming. Cardio training is an important component of any triathlete’s training program, as it helps to improve overall endurance and prepare the body for the demands of long-distance races. Triathlon is an endurance sport so you will be already doing cardio work as part of your training program.

Overall, the most appropriate form of strength and conditioning training for you will depend on your individual goals, needs, and abilities. It is important to consult with a qualified coach or sports medicine professional to develop a well-rounded training program that is tailored to your individual needs.

Here is an example 4-week strength and conditioning plan for triathletes

Week 1

Day 1: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise) You can perform these with just bodyweight or with dumbbells. If you are not used to using dumbbells, then start off with light weights or seek guidance from a qualified trainer at your local gym. If you are just starting out, then start with 1 set of 8 reps and work up from there.

You can split this workout over two days if you are short on time but ensure the right amount of rest and recovery between training sessions. Always warm up well before any training session to prepare your mind and body for exercise and stretch after to help your muscles recover and reduce the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

Warm up well with dynamic movements to prepare your mind and body for exercise.

Squats

Lunges

Push-ups

Planks

Deadlifts

Bench press

Shoulder press

Bicep Curl

Tricep Extensions

Static stretch after and foam roller if desired.

Day 2: Cardio (30-45 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Yoga or Pilates (60 minutes)

Focus on flexibility and core strength

Day 5: Cardio (30-45 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 6: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 7: Rest

Week 2

Day 1: Cardio (45-60 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 2: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Cardio (30-45 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 5: Yoga or Pilates (60 minutes)

Focus on flexibility and core strength

Day 6: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 7: Rest

Week 3

Day 1: Cardio (45-60 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 2: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Cardio (30-45 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 5: Yoga or Pilates (60 minutes)

Focus on flexibility and core strength

Day 6: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 7: Rest

Week 4

Day 1: Cardio (45-60 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 2: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Cardio (30-45 minutes)

Choose a cardiovascular activity such as cycling, running, or swimming

Day 5: Yoga or Pilates (60 minutes)

Focus on flexibility and core strength

Day 6: Full body circuit training (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise)

SquatsLungesPush-upsPlanks
DeadliftsBench pressShoulder pressBicep curls
Tricep extensions

Day 7: Rest

Conclusion

This is just an example plan and depending on your level, goals, flexibility, mobility and stability requirements you may need to add in Plyometrics or other exercises to help your specific needs. As with any exercise program seek guidance from a medical professional before starting any training program.

Some Extra Strength Training Ideas for Triathletes

Pilates Exercise for Triathletes

Pilates can be a great way for triathletes to improve flexibility, core strength, and balance. Some Pilates exercises that may be particularly beneficial for triathletes include:

  1. The Hundred – This exercise helps to improve your core strength and stability and can also help to improve cardiovascular endurance. This is need for swim, bike, and run.
  2. Scissor – This exercise helps to improve your core strength and stability and can also help to improve balance and coordination. This is great for your swimming muscles.
  3. Single Leg Circle – This exercise helps to improve your flexibility and strength in the hips and lower body and can also help to improve balance. Balance is important for running.
  4. Roll Up – This exercise helps to improve your core strength, flexibility, and coordination, and can also help to improve posture. Posture is important if you spend a lot of time hunched over on the bike.
  5. Double Leg Stretch – This exercise helps to improve your core strength, flexibility, and coordination, and can also help to improve posture.

It is important to listen to your body and only practice exercises that feel comfortable and safe for you. If you are new to Pilates, it is a good idea to start with a beginner’s class or work with a qualified Pilates instructor to ensure that you are practicing the exercises safely and correctly.

Suggested Yoga Poses for Triathletes

Yoga can be a great way for triathletes to improve flexibility, core strength, and balance. Some yoga poses that may be particularly beneficial for triathletes include:

  1. Downward Facing Dog – This pose helps you to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, and helps to strengthen your arms and shoulders.
  2. Plank – This pose helps to strengthen your core, shoulders, and wrists, and can also improve balance.
  3. Warrior II – This pose helps to strengthen your legs, improve balance, and stretch the hips, groin, and chest.
  4. Triangle Pose – This pose helps to stretch your legs, hips, and sides of the body, and helps to improve balance and core strength.
  5. Child’s Pose – This pose helps to stretch your lower back, hips, and thighs, and can also be used as a rest pose between more intense poses.

It is important to listen to your body and only practice poses that feel comfortable and safe for you. If you are new to yoga, it is a good idea to start with a beginner’s class or work with a qualified instructor to ensure that you are practicing the poses safely and correctly.

Balance Exercises for Triathletes

Balance exercises are important for triathletes because they can help to improve coordination and stability, which can in turn improve performance in swimming, biking, and running. Some balance exercises that may be particularly beneficial for triathletes include:

  1. Single Leg Stand – This exercise involves standing on one leg with the other leg slightly bent and hovering off the ground. This exercise can help to improve balance and stability in the legs and hips.
  2. Balance Board – This exercise involves standing on a balance board (such as a Bosu ball or a balance disc) and performing various exercises. This can help to improve balance and stability in the legs and hips.
  3. Single Leg Reach – This exercise involves standing on one leg and reaching for an object in front of you with the opposite hand. This exercise can help to improve balance and coordination.
  4. Heel-to-Toe Walk – This exercise involves walking in a straight line with one heel touching the opposite toe with each step. This exercise can help to improve balance and coordination.
  5. One-Legged Squat – This exercise involves standing on one leg and performing a squat. This exercise can help to improve balance and stability in the legs and hips.

It is important to listen to your body and only perform balance exercises that feel comfortable and safe for you. If you are new to balance exercises, it is a good idea to start with simpler exercises and gradually progress to more challenging ones as your balance improves.

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Karen Parnell
Karen Parnellhttps://chilitri.com/one-to-one-coaching
Karen Parnell is British Triathlon Federation (BTF) Level 3 High Performing Coach and Tutor and ASA Open Water Swimming Coach. She is also a qualified NASM Personal Trainer, Nivel 3 Técnicos Federados FATRI España and IRONMAN® Certified Coach as well as being a Stryd running with power coach. Karen is based near Malaga in Southern Spain where she runs ChiliTri coaching and camps. You can find training plans for swimming, cycling, running and triathlon on Training TiltTrainingPeaks and FinalSurge.
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1 COMMENT

  1. I can’t see upper back muscles exercise (pull ups, rows) in the full body workout session, is this intentional, i.e. we train upper back muscles during swimming so we don’t strain them further?

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