The triathlon is one of the toughest sports events on our bodies. Consisting of running, cycling and swimming, competing in a triathlon combines three events which require strength and fitness is all parts of the participants body. Unlike marathon runners who simply need to focus on lower body strength, the triathlon also features swimming which requires the utmost in upper body fitness to excel at. Many people look for ways to shave time off of their competitions, and triathlon training with weights is an ideal way to do it.
Break It Down
With two events, running and cycling, focusing on the lower body, muscle fitness in your legs is a must. Triathlon training with weights can be very advantageous here as your routine to workout your legs can help improve your strength and stamina for two thirds of your triathlon. Exercises such as squats, leg curls and leg extensions can be tremendous assets in increasing both your muscle size and the stamina that you need for long, hilly runs or the intense pressure of high speed cycling. Other leg exercises, such as calf raises, can have specific benefits. This one, for example, helps increase your leg’s ability to push off the ground while running. The leg press works all of the muscles which provide power while pedaling a bicycle very heavily.
Working on your upper body is equally as important as swimming relies quite heavily on having a forceful and untiring upper body physique. While leanness is important, having sufficient strength to swim quickly for a long distance requires triathlon training with weights on your arms, back and shoulders. There are many exercises which can benefit your swimming and a typical weight lifter’s routine for the upper body should help. There are, as with your legs, are few workouts to focus on in particular.
Lat pull downs strengthen your upper back which gives you more power for your swim strokes. Bench presses will increase the muscles in your chest also providing strength for some of muscles used while swimming. Other workouts such as lat dumbbell raises help strengthen your shoulders in order to prevent dangerous swimming injuries that can be common in intense situations such as a triathlon. Even more useful are exercises such as the bicep curl which is useful during the stroke in swimming, but also benefits cycling by providing you more leverage while pedaling up hill.
Don’t Overdo It
When triathlon training with weights, one thing that you do need to be cautious of is to not push your body too far. This can occur one of two ways. First off, too much muscle mass is a bad thing when competing in speed based competitions. You rarely see bodybuilder or NFL linebacker sized people competing in triathlons because despite how strong and muscular they are, at a certain point the excess muscle begins to slow their body down. It is important to build solid muscle through triathlon training with weights, but know the limits of what is advantageous for your body and do not get obsessed with gaining muscle size.
Another way that many people push themselves too far is that they continue intensely with the weight training right up until their triathlon. Our bodies need time to heal after difficult workouts, sometimes days or weeks. Quit your strenuous workouts two to three weeks before your triathlon in order to make sure your body is healed and full of energy to compete at its best. On the same note, give your body ample time to recover after your triathlon. While many people will be eager to return to weightlifting, be sure to give a couple of weeks to your body to heal in order to prevent injury.