Resistance Training For Triathletes

Resistance training is vital to Ironman Triathlon athletes. It is needed to build up muscle strength and endurance. It can also be a great mind builder as the effort is often hard in resistance training and this can be of great benefit when the going gets tough in an Ironman Triathlon race.

Ironman Triathlon athletes lose top end strength before top end speed followed by endurance. A long cycle or run will cover greater distances so you may travel over more hilly terrain building up strength at the same time as endurance. Many long distance runners actually lose strength running for many hours adding hills or off road running can replace strength lost.

Whether you are a swimmer cyclist runner or triathlete you are an endurance athlete. All endurance athletes still needs leg strength and can generate power between one and half times to twice as much power as their body weight. Absolute strength is not as vital as the ability to keep the same force going for long periods of time.

A rugby player has to generate more than twice their body weight, so an 80kg player will need to build up to and learn to generate 160kg. The training regime will need to incorporate the ability to recover quickly from short periods of force being generated to repeat many times throughout a game.

A sprinter needs to generate up to 3.5 times their own body weight when racing. So a 75 kg sprinter will need to develop leg strength up to 260kg.Depending on the event if heats and finals are to be completed recovery rate during training will also need to be considered and phased into training.

Triathletes need to improve strength because this is needed for every triathlon we compete in. Up hills and even down hills, changing pace, changing direction, over taking we need to draw on our strength to give our fitness a brief rest.

It is important for a beginner to seasoned experienced triathlete to incorporate resistance training.This could be strength work in the gym or at home using resistance bands or hand weights.

Triathlon specific strength would be using hand paddles to mimic the slower stroke when using a wetsuit and flippers to speed up fatigue so you are less tired when cycling.

You could also consider swimming and wearing a baggy swim costume, you will be amazed how much this slows you down.
Cycling off road or seated up hills in difficult gearing, riding into a head wind and carrying extra weight or a rack sack and using heavy wheels all increase resistance.

Running resistance can be off road running in muddy conditions, long grass and working hard on the hills.

Running with a camel back can improve economy of running style and build up strength.

During all parts of a triathlon we draw upon strength, if resistance has been scheduled into our triathlon training programme then performance will not be affected during the race.Refrain from weight training in the last 3 weeks before your most important yearly triathlon.