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Jan 23

Daily Triathlon Tip: Strength training- is it a good match for YOU?

Mens Category 105kgStrength training.  Gets a lot of debate within advanced triathlon circles.  Is strength training for triathletes great, or a waste of time?  The answer is it depends on the athlete.  For some, its a huge way to get faster (especially on the bike).  For others, its a waste of time.  It is for you? read on!

First off, a few misconceptions on weight lifting:

  • You won’t actually gain weight in any measurable way in a few months of weight training, so stop worrying about that.
  • Even if you are an endurance athlete, when doing strength, train strength.
    • 40 repetitions of a light weight isnt strength, its just a weird way to do stair climbing.
    • After a month building up to it, you should be doing only 4-10 repetitions of the heaviest weight you can do for the exercise, 3 sets, with 2 minutes of rest in between

Who is strength training a good match for? You, if you answer Yes to 3 or more of these questions:

  1. What is your build?  Are you built more like a ballerina than a pickup truck?
  2. Are you unusually slow on the bike relative to your run?
  3. Do the following test:
    • Ride at 90 rpm (pedal rpm) in a pretty hard gear up a pretty big hill (or on a trainer).
    • Make sure you are spinning at 90-95 rpm.
    • Now keep going hard until you have to stop
    • choose a hill where this takes ~3 minutes before you can’t keep it up.
    • Did you have to stop because your legs were burning or because you were out of breath/panting?
    • If you answered “legs burning” then count that as “yes strenght is for me”
  4. Are you over 40 of either gender?
  5. Are you a woman?
  6. Do you come to triathlon without a background in a leg-strength sport? (Leg strength sports include rowing, alpine skiing, hockey, etc)

If you answered yes to 3 or more of those questions, then strength training may be a big help to you.  Now the trick is to find the right strength routine (more on that later!)  If you answered yes to 2 or fewer questions, figure out what your biggest limiter is (may not be leg strength!) and go and work on that instead!

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