Welcome To Multisport Mobility Bootcamp!
Start the preseason with a bang in the new year, and join us for our free, four-week multisport mobility bootcamp to help build functional movement and tri-specific strength.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
We’ve tapped Matt Pendola, movement and strength coach to athletes like Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen and two-time 70.3 World Championships runner-up Ben Kanute, to create Triathlete‘s Multisport Mobility Bootcamp. Rather than starting off your 2023 with a big mileage training block or a traditional strength training routine, begin the new year with a much more advanced functional, movement-based program.
Over the course of four weeks, you’ll assess your functional strength abilities using a quick and (relatively) painless test to determine your “gym age,” where you’ll find out exactly how well you’re able to perform a set of six key movement patterns.
From there, we’ll follow a strength progression (3x 30 minute sessions per week), and you’ll learn how to make the most out of your strength training for tri. We will focus on developing compact, connected, and coordinated movement patterns. By the end of the program, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to incorporate strength training into your overall training plan, and you’ll feel more confident and capable in the gym. You’ll test your gym age again, and see how far you’ve come.
What is your gym age?
Gym age is a term I use to give a better classification to the experience and competency an athlete has in strength training. Gym age is not simply your training age. The typical assumption is that if an athlete has been training for only a few months they are a beginner, more than a couple years and they are advanced. They are given this ranking simply based on the amount of their training time, rather than the quality of that training time. Even if an athlete is doing the right strength exercises, it doesn’t mean they’re doing them with good form.
Another misconception is that an experienced or elite triathlete should train in more advanced strength progressions to make progress. Being successful in sport does not determine whether an athlete is competent in movement quality or has mastered technical lifts.
To help an athlete understand what their gym age really is, I developed a relative strength test. If you are new to testing, don’t worry! This test isn’t about measuring your absolute strength in a squat or deadlift. It is meant to evaluate the basic fundamental strength requirements that will serve your triathlon goals.
Take the Multisport Mobility Bootcamp gym age test here.
The bootcamp will start with a testing day, where you’ll find out exactly how well you’re able to perform a set of six key movement patterns. You’ll test everything from dynamic core control to single leg strength. I’ve found over years of working with all levels of triathletes that these movements are great indicators of where you should start in your gym age journey. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking to fine-tune your skillset or a beginner looking to build a strong foundation, this bootcamp has something to offer for athletes at all levels.
This week, we’re focused on getting you to stabilize through your core. You may have noticed that this concept featured prominently in the test. If you weren’t properly stabilizing through your core, then you’d have trouble moving your limbs through the pattern. It’s a shame that swimming, biking, and running doesn’t give you this kind of immediate feedback. Ideally, you’d do these sessions a few hours after your hard workouts, or early the next day. Do the workout as a circuit, doing one set of each movement before repeating. The reps and sets will be the same for each of the movements, focusing on building accumulation through each of the sessions this week.
Sets & Reps:
Session 1: 4 x 20 seconds
Session 2: 6 x 20-30 seconds
Here are the movements you’ll be doing this week:
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.
Movement 1: Slow Heel Raises
Slow Heel raises are a good movement to begin to isolate the movement that you need in order to pass the jump rope test. You shouldn’t be bending at your hips or knees, it’s all in the ankle hinge. You’ll start with a resistance band anchored to the wall, and around your hips. Put a tennis ball between your heels, and don’t let it drop as you do the movement. This will keep your heels from flaring out, which would destabilize your foot and ankle. Then, you’ll breathe out strong as you raise your heels off the ground as high as you can with control, pause at the top and lower back down slowly while breathing in through your nose.
Movement 2: Iso Posterior Bridge
The next few movements are going to challenge you to brace yourself in 360 degrees around your core. By working on these isometric holds, you’ll be able to hold a good posture while your limbs exert force to move you forward. For the Iso Posterior Bridge, you’re going to start in a reverse plank position. You’ll be facing up with your elbows on the floor behind you. It’s important that you create as much tension as you can to brace yourself head to heel. Especially important areas to create tension in this movement are in your glutes, quads, and core. Use this time to improve your breathing patterns by only breathing through your nose when possible.
Movement 3: Iso Frontal Bridge
Training the side of your body can make a big difference in developing your overall balance and stability but to be effective we need to engage areas like the side of your butt and obliques.There’s a reason we don’t call these movements “planks.” Even though it may look like a plank on the surface, we really want you to focus on pulling your elbow towards your feet and your feet toward your elbow. This isn’t a passive movement. It’s all about creating tension within your own body. To do this movement you’re going to start on your side with your elbow supporting you on the ground, your hips lifted, and your feet together. Then, you’ll pull your elbow and feet toward each other. Switch sides with every round. Use this time to improve your breathing patterns by only breathing through your nose when possible.
Movement 4: Iso Anterior Bridge
You’ll start this movement facing down, with your elbows supporting you and your body in a stiff line. Once again, pull your elbows toward your feet and your feet toward your elbows to create tension. Keep your head in line with your chest. Having your head and chest inline is a very important position for the bike. When you raise your head, your power goes up and your speed goes down. So, make sure you’re staying long and strong. Use this time to improve your breathing patterns by only breathing through your nose when possible.
Movement 5: Copenhagen Progression
If you had trouble with the Copenhagen test (as many athletes do), this is going to be a great regression movement to teach you how to engage those adductors in your hips. 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, you’ll raise your bottom leg until it reaches the bench, hold for a second, and then lower it. Maintain good control through the whole movement. Use this time to improve your breathing patterns by only breathing through your nose when possible.
Movement 6: Stationary Lunge
The stationary lunge is a great way to start working on your single leg strength. It requires great strength in your glutes, thighs, and calves, but also challenges the dynamic stabilizers in your feet. To do this movement you’ll get into a lunge position, focusing on maintaining even pressure across the tripod of your foot (your big toe, little toe, and heel). If you’re having trouble balancing in this position you can use something to stabilize before progressing to doing it without help. You’re going to hold this position, and keep good posture. That means having your head and chest in line, and your torso over your hips. Don’t let your knee collapse toward your midline as you fatigue, that is a bad habit that will express itself in your run and bike. Focus on creating that same tension that you’ve been creating in all of the isometric holds. Alternate sides with each circuit. Use this time to improve your breathing patterns by only breathing through your nose when possible.
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 this 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.