Strength Training for Triathletes Most traditional weight lifting programs are too general to benefit triathletes. This illustrated guide offers 60 exercises that build strength for swimming, biking, and running by replicating the muscle usage patterns specific to triathlon events. The exercises are organized by sport and muscle group, allowing triathletes to quickly find the best exercise for their unique training needs. Included are sample seasonal plans for each race distance, along with instructions on adapting training plans to individual needs that make it easy to develop a personal strength training program. About the Author Dr. Patrick Hagerman was a recipient of the NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year award in 2002. Dr. Hagerman has coached for USA Triathlon and USA Weightlifting and has competed in triathlon, cycling, windsurfing, and adventure racing for over 25 years. He is a Fellow of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a past member of its Board of Directors. He is the Director of Sport Skill Development for Qwest Personal Training. Part 1: Strength Training Program Components In part one of Strength Training for Triathletes, Hagerman provides a simple rationale for strength training as a triathlete. ìThe short explanation is that strength training makes muscles stronger, and stronger muscles can perform longer at higher intensities before they fatigue.î As an endurance athlete it may appear counterintuitive to spend time training away from the pool, outside the saddle, or not on the road. However, in any type of program, endurance or otherwise, an athlete must constantly challenge their body in order to see improvements and results. By only swimming, biking, and running, you may never provide yourself with a great enough stimulus to reap all of the benefits from your training. In part one you will learn how to apply the theory of specificity to triathlon strength training. This includes the muscles and movements used while swimming, biking, and running, and the physiological adaptations which are a result of the sport-specific strength training. If you are worried that strength training will give you too much bulk for racing or that you will waste time performing strength exercises, Hagerman will put your mind at ease. He goes into detail how strength training results in four performance benefits and the positive effects of strength training for triathletes. Even with a PhD, Dr. Patrick Hagerman is able to explain in simple terms not only how to select the number of repetitions, sets, the proper lifting weight, the rest, and the program modifications as you progress, but also ìthe whyî behind each one. Periodization applies to your strength training routine just as your swim, bike, and run training is organized into a periodized training schedule. Hagerman provides strength training guidance for periodization based on your training goal and where you are in your triathlon race season. This section includes information on tapering your strength training, even with multiple races throughout your triathlon season. Part 2: Program Preparation In any strength program, you have several resistance equipment options: free weights, machines, cables, tubing, stability balls, medicine balls, even your own body weight. Not every option is the best choice for a triathlete. Strength Training for Triathletes explains these resistance options in detail, and how each could be used in a triathlon-specific strength program. Once you have the proper resistance equipment, you may think you are ready to start your strength training session. Not just yet. Before beginning any training session, it is important to warm-up (and also cool-down afterwards). Dr. Hagerman provides examples for preparing your body for strength training which differ slightly from what you usually do before a swim, ride, or run. Also in this section, he explains how to recover safely from a strength training session. The warm-up and cool-down make your strength training sessions more effective. Another important element of strength training which adds to this is performing each exercise with full range of motion. A large part of Program Preparation is devoted to flexibility. Dr. Hagerman has provided examples of stretches which should be performed throughout the week to improve or maintain your range of motion. After describing the components of a strength training program in section one and the first part of section two, you are ready to select your exercises and put those exercises into training sessions. Hagerman provides programming information based on your race distance and includes examples for sprint, Olympic, half Ironman, and Ironman distance triathletes. He also addresses how to strengthen any weaknesses in your swim, bike, and run with a symptom/solution needs analysis. Solutions are provided in the form of exercises which address your performance symptom, or weakness. Part 3: Exercises Once you get to part three, I am sure you will be raring to go with your new triathlon strength program. Conveniently located in this book are core conditioning and upper and lower body exercises for swimming, biking, and running. Readers are presented with thorough text descriptions supplemented by illustrations for a variety of exercises.