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Meeting, errands, bad weather, tired...the list goes on forever. When it comes to strength training, the gym is the last place you go when you have a million things on your mind.
As you approach the off-season of triathlon, enjoy your cross training activities but don’t forget about strength training. Strength training (also known as weight lifting) is a necessary component of your triathlon routine. Including an increase in metabolism due to an increase in metabolically active muscles, strength training improves power, stamina and endurance for all types of triathletes.
When it is time to strength train, there is no “absolute best way” to lift weights. Perhaps you prefer stability balls, BOSU’s, resistance bands or a group exercise class. For many people, the basic machines make for a quick and moderately intense workout for the beginner or person in a hurry. Free weights, on the contrary, require strength, balance and a major emphasis on form. While many people prefer local gyms and exercise facilities, the location of your strength training is up to you.
In less than 30-minutes a day, you can develop power and strength in your own home. All you need are 3-4 sets of dumbbells.
In order to find the correct set of weights, find 2 weights which you feel comfortable performing one set of 20 bicep curls. Starting from that pair of weights, incrementally choose 2-3 more sets of weights (each 2-5 lbs. heavier than one another) until you find a set of weights which you can barely finish one set of 5 bicep curls. Now you have a complete set of heavy and light weights. While you can always go and buy more weights, a few sets of weights, in varying sizes will enable you to perform and endless number of exercises. For abdominal and on-the-floor exercises, you can opt for a yoga mat or abdominal mat for extra floor padding.
*Recommendation for weight sets: Beginner lifter: 5 lbs, 10 lbs, 12.5 lbs, 15 lbs Intermediate lifter: 10 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs, 25 lbsAdvanced lifter: 10 lbs, 20 lbs, 25 lbs, 30 lbsExperienced/Veteran lifter: You already have what you need
*Always check with your doctor before you begin any type of exercise program.
20 minute strength training workout:Warm-up5-10 minutes warm-up*Walk/Jog - 5 minutes*Jumping Jacks/Modified jumping jacks – 2 x 20, rest 30 seconds*Football Shuffle – 3 x 30 seconds w/ 30 sec. rest
Beginners: 1-2 sets15-20 reps (repetitions)Light weightIntermediate/Advanced: 2-3 sets12-15 repsWeight should be heavy enough to allow you to comfortably complete 50% of the reps for each set so that you begin to struggle with the remaining 50% of the reps.
UPPER BODY:1) Bench Press
Flat on back
Elbows don’t drop below shoulders
Exhale as you push up, inhale as you bring weight down
Lift legs to help lower back and strengthen abdominals
2) Dumbbell Row
Knees slightly bent
Arms form circle in front of body w/ bent elbows
Use upper back to pull elbows up and back
Exhale as you pull weights, inhale as you bring weight back to front
3) Lateral Raise
Arms do not lift past shoulders
Exhale as arms raise, inhale as you lower weights
4) Frontal Raise
5) Bicep Curl
Alternating or together
Do not rock your body
Keep elbows close to body
Exhale as you curl weight, inhale as you lower weight
Hands on bench or ground
Straight legs to increase intensity
Elbows point behind you
Finger tips face your back
Exhale as you lower, inhale as you raise
Knees does not pass over your ankles/feet
Weight in each hand for more intensity
Keep face and chest up
Lean bottom back as if you would sit in a chair
Exhale as you lower, inhale as you stand
Alternating or single-leg sets
Knee does not pass over your ankle
Back knee almost touches floor before resuming starting position
3) Leg Raise
Toe points forward, same direction as chest
Ankle weights for more intensity (optional)
4) Butt lift
Relax and keep flat back
Lift foot and keep shoe flat
Ankle weights or light dumbbell for more intensity (optional)
CRUNCHES:1) 15-25 - Leg Drops
Hands under lower back or hold under couch
Ankle weights for more intensity (optional) or grab partners ankles (by your head) and have him/her throw down feet. Raise feet when they almost hit the floor
2) 25-50 - Bicycle
Shoulder to knee
Slow bicycle for more intensity
3) 25 – 30 - Crunches
Your choice or standard crunch
Lift chest to sky
Elbows back so that you cannot see them
Recommendations: *Perform exercises slowly. 1-3 seconds for each rep*Rest 20 sec. – 1 min. between each set *Optional: use ankle weight for abdominal exercises*Perform full-body workout 3x/week*Perform abdominal exercises 5-6 days a week