What are the Best Tips for Triathlon Weight Training?

Dan Cavallari

The best triathlon weight training programs will include exercises that will build and tone muscle without adding too much bulk. This allows the muscles to become prepared for the intense strain of triathlons in a short period of time, and it helps reduce the risk of injury by ensuring the muscles in the body are conditioned and ready to experience stress and strain. Triathlon weight training programs should include high-intensity workouts with heavier weights, rather than workouts with a high amount of repetitions at lower weights. This allows the triathlete to get the most benefit from a full body workout in the off-season or between triathlons.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

High repetition triathlon weight training workouts encourage plateaus, a benchmarks at which the triathlete has stagnated at one strength level rather than increasing strength. To avoid this, a triathlete should consider starting at a comfortable weight and increasing that weight as the workout progresses over the course of a week. This encourages the muscles to grow beyond their comfort zones. The triathlon weight training program will subsequently build muscle rather than simply maintain it. The idea is to become stronger without adding too much bulk, so one should remember that a full body workout is necessary to build strength throughout the body; this is opposed to simply working one part of the body until it has become so bulky that the triathlete is actually hindered by the muscle mass.

Using slow movements during triathlon weight training will also help the muscles build endurance. When lifting weights in a dumbbell curl, for example, the triathlete should spend several seconds lifting the weight, and several more seconds lowering the weight. This prevents inertia from taking over, and the arms from simply swinging up and down, leaving the muscles with little or no real benefit. Slow movements engage the muscles for longer periods of time, forcing them to get used to the strain of being engaged. Slower lifting motions can also help prevent injuries.

A triathlete should remember to include a good core workout in his or her triathlon weight training program. A core workout builds the muscles that support the spine; these include the muscles of the lower back, stomach, hips, and groin. Weight training can be combined with an exercise ball routine to build the core muscles, which will help with overall strength and balance during a race.

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