Endurance Athletes, listen up. This is KEY. Stop what you are doing and pay attention to this next sentence.
Ready? “If you want to get stronger & faster, and have less injuries, you need to do strength training.” AND, you need to do it in a way that will make you a better endurance athlete. Uh Oh……Cue Pandora’s Box opening up at this very second. This is a hot, highly debated topic in the endurance world. However, if you follow the science you will learn: if you want to get faster: lift weights. If you want to have more POWER: lift weights. If you want to be more economic on the run: lift weights. If you want to be less injured: lift weights. If you want to look better in your bikini or turbo…guess what? You need to LIFT WEIGHTS. At this point, you’ll most likely head to google and do a search titled “strength training for triathletes” or “do triathletes need to lift weights?” I’ll save you the 5 minutes and tell you…what google says is crap. 99% of it is garbage. It’s garbage written by Triathlon Coaches who have no background in strength training OR strength coaches that have no background in Triathlon. There is a certain way to strength train that will 100% help you become stronger, faster, leaner, more powerful and more economical. This way is not found in your local LifeTime fitness, Crunch, or Planet Fitness. It’s found with a strength coach, who is also an endurance athlete. It’s found with a Coach who has a background of collegiate level or higher strength training and a degree in Exercise Science (why do they need a degree…because although college CAN be a joke, we do actually learn a few advanced things). Let’s say your Coach has those qualifications and you’re ready to be stronger, faster, more powerful, less injured and look better in your turbo/bikini- what do you do next? You walk into your gym/facility/Box and remember this equation: POWER = FORCE x SPEED. Repeat it over and over again. POWER = FORCE x SPEED. If you lift a 20 pound dumbbell for Biceps curls for 15 reps…good for you. But, you’re not making yourself a better Triathlete. Remember. POWER = FORCE x SPEED. You need POWER. You need more WATTS. You need more SPEED. (you may need more caffeine..but that’s for another day). You need to lift HEAVY things, FAST. These movements need to be compound movements. Why? Because swim/bike/run is a FULL body, multi-joint exercise. Remember those biceps curls…yeah, not helping you…at all. You need to lift Heavy things, FAST. And, it must be done with good form. Let’s repeat that: IT MUST BE DONE WITH PERFECT FORM. Lift HEAVY things, FAST and WITH perfect form. Woah…now we’re getting somewhere! Perfect. Do I still have your attention? Good…moving on.
So, Coach? How do I lift HEAVY things, FAST and WITH perfect form? Well, where you start in your strength program depends on:
1) Your current strength training regime.
2) Where you are in your season. What you do in out season will be different than what you do 6 weeks out from an IM.
3)Your natural Kinesthetic awareness.
4) Your age! Yes, although this is always a hot topic and can be debated.
5) Your current training schedule- are you in a power block or an endurance block? Your strength work should compliment it!
6) If you have any imbalances that we first need to address and correct. Triple bonus points if your coaches are also certified FMS coaches.
Team Soul Sports has realized this complete lack of endurance athletes doing proper strength work. We’ve also realized that Endurance coaches rarely know anything about proper strength work, and we are diligently working on a solution to fix it. Fixing it so the entire NATION of endurance athletes can be creating more power, more speed and more force by lifting HEAVY things, FAST and with PERFECT form. Until this happens, visit your local CrossFit Box (not even joking…CrossFit actually ties into the mix quite well here)…oh wait, I totally lost you when I said “CrossFit”….OK…backing up a bit to where I totally did NOT say “CrossFit”….
Let’s back up and start with this: once a week do one set of unweighted: deadlifts, lower height boxsquats, jumping up and down on both feet, skipping, and single leg step ups. Start with a few reps of each, with no weight. If your form is perfect and no imbalances are being shown, then progress with a bit of weight the following week. Keep perfect form! It’s hard to suggest strength exercises to athletes without watching them move: having eyes on the athlete tells us everything we need to know, and where to start the progression. However, those are good exercises to start with. Be sure to follow us along on the journey to making the Endurance world Stronger, Faster, less injured and with more Power on Facebook, here on our Blog and on Insta.
For more information on how lifting heavy things, fast and with good form helps us as endurance athletes, follow the SCIENCE to a few links at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21833484
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12762828, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20072042. There are plenty more studies to show, but we can’t give away all of our secrets in one post.