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Strength-Training Moves for Short-Course Athletes

Because short-course training requires less mileage and less time spent swimming, biking, and running, supplemental work—like strength training and consistent benchmark testing—is essential.

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Do three sets of 20 reps with 45 seconds rest between sets, using a weight you could easily lift twice as much without failure.


Strength Training Lunge

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Let the weight hang at your sides, and step forward with one leg, keeping your back straight, shoulders proud, eyes ahead. Lunge down until your back knee is close to the ground.

RELATED: Strength Training for Triathletes

Shoulder Shrugs

Strength Training Shoulder Shrug

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Hold a bar (or barbell), letting the weight hang. Lean forward 10 degrees, bend the knees slightly, and shrug your shoulders up to your ears as high as possible.

Leg Press

Strength Training Leg Press

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Extend your legs without locking your knees, pushing the weight through your heels as you exhale, and inhaling as the weight comes back toward you.

Bicep Curl

Strength Training Bicep Curl

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing out. Keeping your elbows close and upper arms still, curl the weight upward as you exhale.


Strength Training Deadlift

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Drive your feet into the floor and stand tall with hips pushed forward as you finish, and slowly lower a hex or trap bar.

Roman Chair

Strength Training Roman Chair

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Keep your head, shoulders, and back in line, and don’t let your shoulders roll forward.

Seated Hamstring Curl

Strength Training Seated Hamstring Curl

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Placing the pad at the backs of the heels, breathe in, tense the hamstrings, and then curl the weight back and toward the butt.

Lat Pull-Down

Strength Training Lat Pull-Down

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Keeping your torso upright, tighten your core and focus on bringing your elbows—not your hands—down so that the bar hits your chest. Finish with a shoulder blade squeeze.

Leg Abduction/Adduction

Strength Training Leg Abduction

Illustration: Oliver Baker

Lift your outside leg away from the body out to the side, keeping the legs straight for abduction.

Strength Training Leg Adduction

Illustration: Oliver Baker

For adduction, focus on pulling your leg across your centerline, then pause briefly, and return to the starting position.

Adapted from The Triathlete Guide to Sprint & Olympic Triathlon Racing by Chris Foster and Ryan Bolton.