Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Now that you’ve made good progress with the movements we’ve given you so far, week four of Triathlete‘s Multisport Mobility Bootcamp is going to be about improving your strength and endurance. A great coach and friend, Bobby McGee once said, “There is no courage in defeated mechanics.” Performing to your potential in these tests, and in your sport, is all about maintaining efficiency as you fatigue. From years of testing athletes in relative strength, I know that repetitions will vary depending on your gym age, but fatigue starts kicking in at about 40 seconds, so maintaining proper mechanical tension in the 20 seconds that follow will help improve your dynamic capacity.
That’s why this week you’ll repeat the drills from last week to continue cementing these movement patterns, while increasing your time under tension. However, the number of sets will decrease so that you can reinforce and expand your capacities per set while reducing your total volume from the week before. Work on maintaining good posture and breathing patterns through these longer sets, and by the end of the week you will be ready to PR in your testing!
If you weren’t able to progress to these movements last week, that’s okay. You can either try to do them this week—after building some more strength—or you can continue to do the movements from the series that feel most appropriate for your level of strength and coordination.
This week’s circuit:
Sets & Reps:
Session 1: 2 x 40-60 seconds with 1-minute rest
Session 2: 2 x 40-60 seconds with 1-minute rest
Session 3: Testing – Repeat the original test and compare to your results from four weeks ago. We know you have come a long way in just four weeks, so share your results on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter!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: Pogos
Pogos are going to directly address the ankle function needed for the jump rope, but require a little less coordination. This will give you some space to think about being as quick as possible off the ground. You’ll start with a resistance band anchored to a wall or door. Step into the band and lean forward slightly so you’re engaging your glutes and pressing your hips into the band. Pop off the ground like you’re doing a jump rope. Keep your hips and knees stiff, trying to hinge mostly at the ankles.Section divider
Movement 2: Single Leg Hip Thrusters
Start with your shoulders supported on a bench or couch, and the rest of body off of the support. To find the right position, you can do a couple of double leg reps without weight to get the feeling. Your feet should be planted so that when you go into a hip bridge, your knee is at a 90-degree angle. This is a single leg movement, so to start the reps you’ll need to lift one leg. Make sure that in your lifted leg you are keeping your toe pulled up, your knee at a 90 degree angle pulled toward your chest. Then, lower your hips down, and lift back up into a bridge position, keeping your opposite leg up the whole time. You can make this more challenging by supporting a dumbbell on the grounded leg.Section divider
Movement 3: Side Plank Leg Lift (Dynamic)
You’ll start by marking a line (with tape, chalk, etc.) on the wall at the height of the bony prominence on the upper end of your femur (the greater trochanter, see video for a visual). This line is crucial to making sure you’re getting the proper range of motion during the movement. To perform the movement, you’ll start in a side plank with your feet below the mark on the wall. Then, in a controlled motion, lift your top leg until it reaches the mark on the wall and then lower your leg back to starting position. Breathe out strong as you lift your leg, and in through your nose on the way down. Many athletes have a tendency to lose connection in their hips when they get fatigued in a side plank. You may notice that if you sit your hips back, it becomes significantly harder to reach the mark on the wall. Keep your hips engaged and in line.Section divider
Movement 4: Hand Release Pushups
You’ll start laying on the floor, face down, with your hands planted right by your ribs. Throughout the whole movement, you want to keep your chin and chest in line. Lift your hands off the floor in this position, squeezing between your shoulder blades to get full range of motion. Plant your hands firmly on the ground right next to your ribs. Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle. With good bracing, your hips should rise with your shoulders, instead of your shoulders rising first. Breathe out strong as you push the ground away. When you get to the top of the movement, lock out your arms and press through your shoulders to get full range of motion. As you lower yourself down, stay in control, bending with your arms and nothing else.
RELATED: You’re Probably Doing Pushups WrongSection divider
Movement 5: Copenhagen Progression
To start, you will need a bench or chair that is about a foot and a half off the ground. You’re going to be in a side plank position, with your elbow firm on the ground, and your top leg propped on the bench or chair. You can change the difficulty by propping up more or less of your leg. For example, if you supported your thigh just above the knee on the bench, that would be the easiest version of this movement. With your bottom edge of your bottom foot touching the ground you’ll begin the movement by squeezing through your inner thighs as you breathe out strong while lifting up until your body is in a straight line and your legs squeeze around the bench or chair. Be aware that your hips are level and forward, not spilling up or down. Breathe in through your nose as you return to the starting position.Section divider
Movement 6: Levitation Lunge Progression
Your single-leg level-changing skills will start to improve with this movement. The objective is to progress to doing a levitation lunge, in which you balance on one foot while you gently lower your other knee to the ground. Breathe out strong as you push the ground away, and in through your nose on the way down. Some people may find this to be challenging, so we’ve made a couple modifications that will gradually progress you toward that goal. The simplest version is to use hand support, which involves holding onto a solid object while lowering yourself into the lunge position and standing back up. Each time, try to utilize less hand support. Another option is to stack plates or books (or anything you have) high enough that you can touch the stack with your knee. Lower the stack’s height gradually until you can perform the movement to the floor.
In each of these variants, there are a few pointers to remember. First, focus on keeping even pressure on the tripod of your foot (big toe, little toe, heel), this will help with your balance and keep your knee from caving in. This is important as we need to strengthen stability in the knee for our running and bike mechanics. Even if it takes longer to progress the movement, keep your knee “not in” the entire time. Second, try to push up and down in a straight line. It can be tempting to push your rear leg out and lean heavily over your grounded leg, but the optimal position is to have your head and chest over the grounded foot.
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.