Mirinda Carfrae’s Three-Part Strength Program
Targeting these three components has helped many athletes run more fluidly, use their muscles more efficiently and increase strength.
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The Triathlon Research Camp with Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and coach Siri Lindley brought nearly 50 campers to Boulder, Colo., in May for a look into the reigning Ironman world champion’s training. Throughout the five-day camp, athletes worked with experts from each discipline—swim, bike, run—as well as in other important areas such as nutrition and strength training.
Rinny’s personal strength coach, Erin Carson of RallySport and ECFIT Boulder, taught campers about the importance of strength training and how it can prevent chronic running injuries. Having worked with Rinny since 2012, Carson has helped the Ironman world champ get stronger and more resilient through a specific series of movements and functional strength exercises.
Carson’s strength system was created around endurance athletes and includes three key areas: mobility, activation and strength.
The mobility component works to get athletes moving and twisting in all different directions. This helps lessen the risk of injury from overuse and tightness caused from the repetitive movements of triathlon training.
The activation piece helps “turn on” important muscles groups so athletes can utilize these muscles more efficiently during workouts.
Finally, the strength component includes functional strength training to help increase power and speed. Some of these exercises come from traditional weight training practices such as deadlifts and lat pull-downs. However, other more fluid lifts focus on balance using just body weight.
Targeting these three components has helped many athletes like Rinny run more fluidly, use their muscles more efficiently and increase strength. And now everyone can benefit from this systematic strength-training program. Carson and ECFIT Boulder recently released a series of videos that demonstrate the different exercises in a set of five progressive phases. Check out the website Ecfitboulder.com for more.
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For mobility: Ankle Around the Worlds
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend your left knee while tapping your right heel 6 inches out front. Repeat this movement 10 times in quick succession. Then do the same thing but reach your right foot 6 inches directly to the right. Finish with 10 toe touches to the back. Switch feet and touch 10 times to the front, side and back with the other foot. Speed and balance are key components to this exercise.
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For activation: Double Leg Bridge
Lie flat on your back with both legs bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your glute (butt) muscles together and lift your hips until the front side of your body is in a straight line from your knees to your chest. Slowly move your hips back down to the ground. Repeat 10 times. Make sure your knees do not flair out each time you raise your hips.
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For strength: Tip and Reach
Pick a light dumbbell that you can easily lift over your head and hold it in your right hand. Balance on your left leg, bend at your hip and reach the dumbbell six inches in front of your left foot. Keep your left hand at your side. Extend your right leg straight out behind you. Keeping your back flat, return to standing and raise your right knee up to hip level while lifting the dumbbell straight above your head. Repeat six times and then switch hands and legs.