Whether it is the upcoming triathlon season, a planned Ironman event, a marathon, a 5-10km fun run, team sport or corporate challenge, structured strength training is key to your success and reduction in injury risk.
A tailored strength program or detailed small group class, geared specifically towards your event, is critical to building you physically. Strength training will not just help you meet the demands of your sport, but exceed them and make the most of your time and enjoyment.
Your strength training should be include, but not limited to, being structured around improving:
- Stroke mechanics and efficiency
- Running economy
- Cycling economy & cadence
- Fatigue resistance
Strength training has a host of benefits for our saddle riders, pavement pounders and those who prefer aquatic pursuits. Unfortunately, however, very few maximise their performance potential, and will sacrifice the critical strength training to fit in that extra run, swim or bike session, thinking it will improve them more than properly structured strength & power training. Anyone that enjoys endurance pursuits, should ensure they introduce concurrent training into their week. What this means is a combination of well-structured strength and endurance training.
A well-structured strength training program prepared by a professional Performance Coach will reduce the long volume of activity needed in endurance work, improving efficiency of your training, while maximising performance outcomes.
While strength training significantly reduces your injury risk through increasing load tolerance of muscles, bones, joints and connective tissue, we all want to know the effort put into training is going to improve performance. As an example of the myriad of research supporting the above statements around strength training, Paavolainen, Hakkinen, Hamalainen, Nummela, & Rusko (2003), demonstrated that when approximately one-third of endurance training was replaced by resistance training there was a significant improvement (8.1%) in movement economy. In another study by Hausswirth (2010), it was found that a concurrent strength training program with your endurance pursuits will help prevent neuromuscular fatigue, which causes the reduction in cadence towards the end of your ride.
Basically, you go faster, and it feels easier, you experience less fatigue, all while doing less hours of overall training! Now doesn’t that sound appealing with the busy demands of work, and of course family and social commitments to maximise your limited time resources.
So how do you get started?
So, are you looking for a greater energy reserve, bulletproof your body against niggling injuries and reduce fatigue to prolong your athletic endeavours? All while being more time efficient? The key movements to learn, perform effectively and develop to maximise your outcomes are:
- Squat Patterns
Generates power for cycling and strength for inclined running. It is the most effective exercise for improving your aerobic power and improving output in running and cycling.
Higher cadence maintenance & more efficient running economy.
- Hip Hinge/Deadlift
Add extra power to the engine room, the Glutes! A movement that closely mimics you’re cycling posture at the bottom range, which will develop hip extension power for those hills or big necessary bursts on the bike.
Improve cadence in vital stages of a bike race and have greater stability in prolonged running.
- Upper body Pulling Patterns
To strengthen your pull phase in your swimming stroke, which early research has led to form the opinion that improving upper body strength through pulling patterns such as a lat pull down or pull up/chin up has positive effect on drag and stroke mechanics (Aspenes, 2012).
Performing these pattern will also lead to improving posture which will lead to economy benefits in cycling and running.
Improve power and efficiency of your swim and postural stability on the bike and run.
- Lower Body Unilateral Patterns
Bilateral asymmetry is an extremely common condition in most athletes and general population alike. We all have a ‘dominant’ side. Performing multi-joint single leg exercises will help improve your running, as running asymmetry’s, particularly in the lower body can create a myriad of problems. Potential problems include instability, single sided overload and poor running & cycling economy.
Body balance equals economy & efficiency.
- Core Stability
A strong effective core is pivotal to produce power, a weak core is a weak link in the chain, which creates what we term ‘energy leak’. Essentially it is wasted energy through poor technique, leading to over exertion of working muscles to make up for the lack of stability and transference of power through the body. The best way to strengthen your core is through heavy compound movements (Olympic lifts and derivatives, deadlift, squat & overhead lifting), however there are great variety in supplementary core exercises to get that little bit extra, such bracing techniques to ensure your core stays strong and robust throughout the entirety of any race.
Reduce energy ‘leakage’ leads to greater efficiency and energy utilisation.
Want to minimise injury while maximising performance? You have to include quality structured strength training, specific to you each week. Come on in to Absolute for all your endurance and team sport coaching needs, where our expert coaches will guide you either in 1:1, 2:1 & 3:1 private sessions, or join in on the fun on our small group class targeted specifically to you. With a max of 6 participants, it’s the most detailed and focussed way to achieve your training goals, whatever they are, in a group setting.
Written by Performance Coach Jarrad Kay