Challenge Strength Workout #4: Mobility and Activation

In our final strength session from Kate Ligler there’s a perfect blend of activation and strength work to get you ready for the Challenge.

With the Triathlete Challenge just a couple days away, this final session from strength and conditioning coach Kate Ligler is designed to get you fully prepared. In this workout, there is plenty of mobility and activation work to get you warmed up, before a simple main set that will prime you without fatiguing you. Unlike the previous workouts, you’ll notice there’s just one main set with three rounds of exercises—including push-ups, squats, and lunges—none of which are new or foreign, so you should be fine doing them prior to the final Challenge. Of course, if you’re concerned about doing any of the exercises in the main set so close to the Challenge then just stick with the warm-up/activation exercises.

There are videos from Ligler showing you how to perform each exercise, so be sure to watch closely for correct form and technique. Many of these exercises are similar or identical to the work she undertakes with the pro triathletes whom she trains. 

Ligler has more than 15 years of experience working with age-group and pro endurance athletes. She specializes in hands-on functional strength and conditioning, as well as sport-specific program design, and is a seasoned road cyclist and mountain biker. 

Challenge Strength Workout #4: Mobility and Activation

Warm-up: Mobility/Activation

Repeat x3 rounds

Reverse Lunge + Woodchopper Swings (Video). 8 reps/side. Step back into a reverse lunge while focusing on a tall, straight spine as you rotate down through this movement to release your hip and mid-back.  Return your twist to center, squeeze the glute of the non-stepping leg, and return to standing with good posture as you continue to rotate over the non-stepping leg’s shoulder.

Overhead Squats (Video). 8 reps. Engage your mid-back and drive your shoulder blades down toward the pelvis as you lift your arms overhead. Without allowing your arms to drop forward, sink your hips back into a squat. A chair or bench is recommended for this movement to control range and form. Perform this exercise with either straight arms (advanced) or with a 90 degree bend in the elbows (beginner) without sacrificing range on the squat.

Hip and Chest Openers (Video) 8 reps/side. The foam roller is optional in this movement. Sink into that knee on the ground while squeezing your glute to create space in the front of the hip. 8reps/side.

Optional Main Set: Strength

Repeat x3 rounds

Inchworms + Push-Ups (Video). 5 reps. From standing, forward fold at the waist driving your hips backwards until your hands reach the ground. Walk out to hand plank position and complete a push-up (knees for beginners; toes for advanced) before walking back in by reversing the motion. Your legs should remain as straight as possible.

Squat Thrusters (Video). 10 reps. From standing with palms at your shoulders and facing forward, drive your hips backward and down into a squat. Squeezing your glutes, drive your hips back to standing while extending the palms directly overhead to full arm extension. Additional weight (5-15lbs) can be added to challenge the glutes/quads/shoulders (advanced).

Hollow Rocks (Video). 10 reps. Start seated with your legs at full extension. Extend your arms overhead, and while engaging your core, slowly roll your upper back toward the floor one vertebrae at a time. As your upper back approaches the ground, additionally engage the hip flexors/quads to lift your legs into the air. Holding the position of the pelvis, gently shift from heel to upper back touches with great control.

Lateral Weighted Slides (Video). 10 reps/arm. Starting from a hand plank position, reach your hand down and through the opposite armpit to touch the ground on the outside of the opposite wrist. While holding pressure on the floor, drag your fingers back across to the starting position by creating tension with the back of the shoulder. Alternate external wrist drags/side (beginner). If able, drag a weighted object from the outside of the opposite wrist back to the plant hand’s starting position before switching arms (advanced).

Alternating Reverse Lunges (Video). 10 reps/leg. Begin by stepping backward to a stagger stance and focus on dropping the back knee directly toward the floor while minimizing any twist or lean from the hips. Squeeze the glute of the non-stepping leg and drive your posture forward and up to starting position with good form. Additional weight (5-15lbs) can be added to challenge the glutes/quads (advanced).