Are you thinking of introducing some weight training or HIIT into your training routine to improve your triathlon performance?
Traditionally, athletes are not big fans of weight training and going to the gym. The gym usually gets pushed aside, as many don’t see the relevance and importance of weight training when it comes to improving their triathlon performance.
Most triathletes are busy and tired of swimming, cycling and running, not to mention their other daily activities to even think about going to the gym.
Although we know how busy you can get with all that training, and the last thing you want to do is do any junk training or junk miles, weight training is just the thing you need to transform your strength training, improve your performance and build a more powerful body.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training can do much more than just prevent injuries and build a more powerful body.
Even when it comes to endurance sports, explosive power is an important factor and can be key to improving your performance.
One of the best ways to do that is by lifting weights.
If you’re interested in incorporating weight lifting and strength training into your exercise routine but aren’t sure how and if it will help improve your triathlon performance, let’s have a look at some of the main benefits of weight training just to give you an idea of how it can affect your performance.
1. Strength Training Can Help Prevent Injury
Strong muscles and strong muscle balance translates to proper muscle recruitment, proper posture and form, and less unwanted injuries.
Strength training helps you achieve just that. By strengthening your muscles and achieving proper form, you protect your body from unwanted injuries caused by weakened muscles, weakened joints, ankles and knees, improper balance and improper form.
Strength and resistance training can help in the prevention of training related injuries and overuse injuries, which are common when training for a triathlon or any other sport or competition.
2. Helps You Become Stronger
The main battle that triathletes face is that swimming makes their legs tired for cycling and cycling makes them sluggish for running.
That’s where strength training comes in. Weight lifting can be a very useful tool to improve strength and resistance and overall performance as well.
3. Improved Running Economy
As we mentioned before, strength training can improve your form and balance which will in turn help prevent injuries.
But that’s not the only positive benefit you’ll gain from improving your form. Proper form can also help you improve your running economy, which is the amount of energy and oxygen you use at a given pace, relative to your body weight.
This is mainly due to the fact that by increasing your strength, you allow your body to use the proper muscles, rather than relying on the incorrect muscle groups, which in turn improves your running economy and your overall performance.
Other positive benefits from lifting weights include:
– staying leaner
– maintaining your fitness
– better and easier recovery
– improved speed and much more
Tips for Improving Your Triathlon Performance by Weight Lifting
Now that you have a better understanding of all the benefits associated with strength training and how it can be used to improve your triathlon performance, let’s have a look at a few tips and advice on how to use weight lifting to your advantage.
1. Work with a Personal Trainer
Working with a personal trainer will help you improve your technique, maintain proper form and focus on the right kind of exercises so that you can get the most out of your training and avoid spending time on junk training.
There are literally thousands of PTs in large cities like London and New York. You can use the REPs website if in the UK and the USREPs site if in the US to find a certified trainer near you. Or a quick Google search will help you find one, like Rob Jackson from Minimal Fit in Canary Wharf, London.
2. Train Off-Season Through Pre-Season
When it comes to weight lifting and strength training, the most important thing is to find the right time and place for it.
Although it should be periodized throughout the year, strength training for triathletes is better-done off-season and all throughout pre-season.
During the season, it’s best to stick to your sport-specific training, and only use strength training as maintenance.
3. Lift Lighter but Faster
You don’t need to lift the maximum weight that you are capable of lifting. In fact, according to inside triathlon magazine and their 5 new rules of strength training, most people who do strength training lift more weight than they need to.
According to the magazine, 50–60% of the maximum weight that a person can lift is typically the optimal amount that you need to lift.
Another thing triathletes need to focus on when lifting weights is the speed, and not just the weight they’re lifting. If you want to increase your power and performance, you’ll need to focus on your speed, as much as you would on your form and the weight you’re lifting.
Make each lift as explosive as possible, without compromising your form, and only increase your weight gradually.
4. Focus on Activating Your Whole Body
Do exercises that involve as many muscle groups as possible, and focus on lifts that involve a big portion of the body.
Those exercises include kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches, Olympic lifts, overhead pressing, deadlifts and box jumps.
5. Do Fewer Reps but More Sets
Repeat each set no more than five reps, and try to add more sets, instead of more reps, as you start to feel stronger.