6 Simple Strength Moves You Can Do in the Gym

Ready to test the weight room waters? Here's a great routine for getting started.

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Reams of research back up the benefits of strength training for endurance athletes. “Strength training helps all athletes maintain or improve coordination, muscle tone, body composition, maximal power, and muscular endurance,” says Marty Gaal, a USA Triathlon-certified coach and NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It also can help prevent or mitigate injuries.”

If you aren’t versed in the ways of weight training, however, getting started can be intimidating.

Gaal makes it simple: “Generally speaking, two to three times a week doing light to moderate resistance of 10-20 repetitions, two to three sets per exercise, is a safe place to start.”

For those new to this type of training, he says to choose a weight that feels easy for each exercise and then add a little to that.

Dumbell Squats

Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, quads
Good for: Bike, run
How to do it: Hold a dumbbell at each shoulder and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your weight in your heels, bend at your knees and lower your backside down. Keep your chest and head lifted and your core engaged. Pause, and slowly push back up.

Leg Extension

Muscles worked: Quads
Good for: Bike, run
How to do it: Adjust the machine so the pad sits over your shins. Extend your legs in front of your body as you lift with your quads, then lower back down.

Tricep Pulldown

Muscles worked: Triceps
Good for: Swim, bike, run
How to do it: Grab the bar with an overhand grip and bring it to chest height to begin. Pull the bar down until your arms are fully extended below your waist. Pause, and bring the bar back up.

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

Muscles worked: Lats
Good for: Swim, run
How to do it: Grab the pulldown machine bar with an overhand grip. Pull it down to chest height, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause, and raise the bar back up.

Machine Calf Raise

Muscles worked: Calves
Good for: Swim, bike, run
How to do it: Stand in the machine with the pads on your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, push up as you bring your heels off the ground. Pause, and lower back down. This can also be done with dumbbells instead.