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Benchmark a Better You: Welcome to the Strength Month!

Join us for our winter strength challenge that’ll help improve your balance, mobility, and core strength.

Throughout the month of December, join us for strength month—part of our Benchmark a Better You challenge—led by strength and conditioning coach Kevin Purvis. If you’re looking to get a jumpstart on 2021 (when we’ll focus on run month, bike month, and swim month) and lay a strong foundation to help prevent injury and improve mobility, balance, and core strength, then look no further. This is the challenge for you!

This month’s strength challenge focuses on three parts of strength—mobility, balance, and core. To get started, you’ll do three simple tests of your mobility, balance, and core. You’ll then follow the workouts (ideally three times per week) and repeat the three tests at the end of the month. Purvis works with a number of tri’s top pro athletes, including Flora Duffy, Matt Hanson, and Chris Leiferman, all of whom you’ll see doing the tests and workouts themselves in each of the demo videos.  

“The time between Thanksgiving and New Year often becomes a lost window of opportunity when triathletes allow their normal post-season break to drag on way too long, limiting the benefits of off-season training,” said Purvis. 

“We want athletes to take a break to allow their minds and bodies to recover, but we also want to maximize the relatively short off-season. Diving into heavy lifting right away isn’t the best approach, so we look at the month of December as a time to unwind the physical stress of the season, so we can hit January ready to incorporate a solid lifting program. Rather than a squat, push up, or HIIT challenge, this challenge is all about building better balance, mobility, and core to get you ready for 2021. Over the next five weeks you’ll identify your weaknesses, follow a progressive plan to improve upon them, learn a little, and possibly win a prize or two!” 

Here we’re getting started with the test sets. The weekly workouts will follow in a separate post (find week 1 here). First test your mobility, balance, and core to see where you’re at.

How It Works

  1. Complete the tests below and record your scores
  2. Perform the workouts (ideally) three times per week
  3. Repeat the tests again on New Year’s Eve to assess your progress over the course of the challenge!

The Test Sets

Balance

Watch the demonstration video here.

Move through the progression until you can’t complete it:

  • Stand on 2 feet with your eyes closed
  • Stand on one foot with your eyes open
  • Stand on one foot with your eyes closed
  • Stand on one foot with your eyes closed and tilt your head back about 60 degrees.

Mobility

Watch the demonstration video here.

Make a note of where you get stuck on each exercise:

Toe Touch Squat

  • Are you able to touch your toes without bending your knees?
  • Are you able to get your hips below your knees with your heels down?
  • Are you able to raise your hand over your head in the bottom position?

Double Reach Back

  • Are you able to get your hands together on both sides?
  • Is there a difference between one side and the other? 
  • Note the distance between your hands for each

Straight Leg Raise

  • Did you maintain contact with the bottom leg?
  • If you didn’t achieve vertical note the height of each side

Core Strength

Watch the demonstration video here.

You must maintain the plank position the entire time. Note the point when you feel your lower back or cannot complete the position:

  • Hold a plank for 60 seconds
  • Raise your right arm parallel to the floor for 15 seconds
  • Return your right arm and raise your left arm parallel to the floor for 15 seconds
  • Return your left arm and raise your right foot off of the floor for 15 seconds
  • Return your right foot and raise your left foot off of the floor for 15 seconds