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The second week of Triathlete‘s Multisport Mobility Bootcamp has begun! Last week, you tested your relative strength in some triathlon specific strength movements and developed a strong foundation with isometrics. Though it may take more than a week to master them, my hope is that you learned some key principles that will translate into this week’s sessions along with your final testing. As always, if you don’t feel like you were able to confidently execute last week’s sessions, you may benefit more from repeating them before moving on—it’s more important to get them right than to move along quickly. Feel free to stay on week 1’s plan longer, if necessary.
You may now begin to demonstrate your strength because you understand how crucial it is to move through your core first. By practicing movement patterns this week that are comparable to the ones you will be assessed on, you will increase your relative strength for the test, and for your sport. You will concentrate on controlling the movement rather than performing dynamic, quick repetitions. This will help cement the mind-to-muscle connection so when you retest, you are as efficient as possible.
You will end this week with a short test of the movement patterns you’ve learned. In week 1, you were tested against my standards for one minute in each movement. This test will be just 20 seconds long, and you’ll be trying to keep a better pace in each of the movements than in your original test; you’ll do a few sets of this. Hopefully, you’ll see that you’ve gained some confidence and control in these important movement patterns.
This week’s circuit:
Sets & Reps:
Session 1: 4 x 30-60 seconds with 1-minute rest
Session 2: 4 x 30-60 seconds with 1-minute rest
Session 3: Testing – Repeat the original testing movements, but this time do 6 circuits of 20 seconds, (with 1 minute rest), seeing if you can beat your original pace.Section divider
Warm Up: Movement Improvement
I have a free library of mobility options that are great for warming up for your strength sessions. We like to make mobility a daily habit. You can take the mobility test to see where your specific mobility restrictions are, or just pick a few movements from the library to do as a warmup.Section divider
Movement 1: Active Heel Raises
This movement will help you to improve your ankle hinge position in preparation for the jump rope test. Being able to create stiff springs with your legs will help you run with higher cadence and fewer aches. Doing the active heel raise movement is similar to the slow heel raises last week, but you’re going to ditch the tennis ball and move a bit faster.
You’ll set up with a band around your hips in a slight forward lean. Then, you’ll punch off the ground, focusing on proper tracking in your ankles and keeping your legs stiff when you come back to the ground. Then, you can try doing two reps in a row, reacting off the ground and hinging only at your ankles, not in your knees and hips. Do two reps, then pause for a second and reset before repeating. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing out strong on the way up and in through your nose on the way down.Section divider
Movement 2: Eccentric Hamstring Slides
The hamstrings are responsible for a lot of eccentric bracing in your running, this keeps you from planting your foot too far ahead of your center of mass. To set up this movement, you can use a slide board, furniture sliders, or socks on a slippery surface—whatever you have access to. You’ll start in a hip bridge position (without hyperextending through your back) with your hands by your sides pushing into the ground. Slowly extend your legs out until your legs are straight. Take at least 5 seconds to lower to the bottom position, but keep your hips off the ground and hold for another 5 seconds before resting your hips on the ground. Then, from the resting position, pull your heels toward your butt, and press back into the hip lift position. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing out strong on the way up and in through your nose on the way down.Section divider
Movement 3: Quasi Iso Side Hold
Start this movement in a side plank position, with an exercise ball squeezed between your feet. Then, lower your hips to the ground very slowly, without letting them spill forward or back. You can keep your top hand on the ground if you need a little bit of assistance with balance, but ideally you’d have your hand at your hip. You should take at least 5 seconds to lower your hips to the ground and another 5 to get back up. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing out strong on the way up and in through your nose on the way down.Section divider
Movement 4: Chest Supported Row
To set up this movement, you’ll ideally use an incline bench or exercise ball. You can also use anything that allows your arms to hang without touching the floor. Grab some dumbbells and get into the starting position by laying face down on the bench. Don’t let your head hang, keep your chin and chest inline throughout the movement. Then, breathe out and row, bringing your wrists to your ribs and squeezing between your shoulders. Take a short pause at the top and then lower the weights back down. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing out strong on the way up and in through your nose on the way down.Section divider
Movement 5: Copenhagen Progression
This movement will be a constant throughout your program. I’ve seen that so many athletes have trouble with this movement pattern, and repetition will really benefit your testing (and your sport). You can use a bench or chair to set up this movement. Start in a side plank position with your top leg on the bench. The farther your leg is on the bench the easier the movement will be. For example, if just your foot is on the bench, this might be quite hard, but if you support your whole lower leg, it will be significantly easier. Once you are in a good position, pull with your top leg until your bottom leg reaches the bench, hold for a second, and then lower it. Maintain good control through the whole movement. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing out strong on the way up and in through your nose on the way back down.Section divider
Movement 6: Touchdown Progression
With this movement, you’re going to progress your single leg level changing abilities. You should practice this while wearing minimalist shoes or going barefoot so you can develop your foot’s tripod balance (the big toe, little toe, and heel). To begin, stack plates or step boxes (or anything you have). Stand on one foot atop the stack and hover the other leg over the side of the stack. You can use a broom or PVC pipe to help stabilize if your balance on one foot feels particularly difficult, but you should aim to rely on it as little as possible. To perform the movement, hinge at the hips to begin, then slowly descend your free leg until it touches the floor. I like to use the cue “don’t break the ice.” Don’t put any weight on your bottom foot, just let it tap like the floor is thin ice. Then, press through your stable foot to get back to the starting position. You can adjust the height of your stack to make the movement more or less difficult. Remember to keep your upper body stacked and lifted, not hunched over, and to keep your knee from caving in.
If you’re having trouble with either of these, lower your stack to make the movement easier until you’ve got the hang of it. Use this time to improve your connections by breathing in through your nose on the way down and out strong on the way up to start position.
Looking for More Strength Plans?
Check out Pendola Project’s selection of specialized strength plans for runners and triathletes.
As a former hotshot firefighter who found himself injured, Matt Pendola relied on strength and mobility training to rehab his own injuries and get back to running pain free. Inspired by the huge impact that strength and mobility had, he has gone on to become an EXOS Performance Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist with a focus in manual sports massage therapy. As a strength coach, he’s worked with the likes of Gwen Jorgensen and Ben Kanute, who last year, under his guidance, placed 2nd at the 70.3 World Championships. Despite his success with high-performance pros, Matt’s greatest thrill is getting to teach athletes of all levels how to perform with more confidence and control.