The Key to Strength Training for Triathletes

More reps with less weight is the endurance athlete's ticket to strength training that actually leads to success on race day.

Thirty minutes is a mere 2 percent of your day, but that’s all it takes for successful triathlon strength training. According to coach and physical therapist Stephen Weinmann, owner of Irish fitness franchise BikeRowSki, endurance athletes who don’t incorporate regular strength training into their workouts ultimately compromise their ability to produce their best muscular force.

Weinmann says that implementing low-weight, high-rep strength training ensures a triathlete’s musculoskeletal system can handle the regular cardiovascular efforts required on race day.

“This improves the body’s ability to sustain longer periods of work against levels of resistance just above [the athlete’s] current muscular threshold or ability—and will slowly but surely improve the ability to produce slightly more force, therefore bringing competition times lower,” he said.

“Every muscle group will be working during a race. We want to create a full-body training program so that a triathlete will improve their ability to produce sustainable power,” he added.

Check out Weinmann’s 30-minute strength training for triathletes set. These exercises will help you build the muscular endurance you need for triathlon. Rest for 30 seconds between each move, rest for two minutes at the end of the set, and repeat four times.

Strength Training for Triathletes 30-Minute Set

Straight-Arm Standing Lat Pulldown
Stand facing the lat pulldown machine, gripping the bar with both hands at arm’s length. Bracing your midsection and engaging your glutes, press the bar down to hip level. Pause for one second and take three seconds to slowly return. Complete 12 reps of 25-35 lbs.

Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on bench with arms fully extended holding dumbbells. Lower one dumbbell for three seconds to chest level, leaving the other arm extended. Raise back to start position for one second. Alternate on both sides for 20 reps each of 15-20 lbs.

Bench-Supported Dumbbell Bent-Over Single-Arm Row
Place both feet on the floor, bend over and push your hips back, placing a supporting hand on the bench. Keep your chest up, chin tucked and back flat with a slight knee bend. Grip a dumbbell, keeping your elbow close to your side, and row the weight up to ribcage. Complete 12 reps on each side of 20-30 lbs.

Dumbbell Walking Lunge
Holding a pair of dumbbells by your side, step forward to lunge, keeping your chest up, core engaged, and leading knee behind your toes. Allow your trailing knee to kiss the floor, pause, then push forward up to standing. Alternate for 24 reps each of 15-25 lbs.

Side Plank
Lie on your side with legs and feet stacked. With your forearm flat on the floor, push yourself up into a straight line—keep squeezing your glutes, and brace your core. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.