Strength Training for Triathletes

How To Incorporate Strength Training Within Your Triathlon or Run Training Programme

This is a great wee workout for runners and triathletes to include in their training a couple of times a week to build and enhance their strength endurance which will benefit their overall health and fitness.

The advantages of strength training for endurance athletes include:

  • Decrease the risk of injury;
  • Improved speed;
  • Enhanced efficiency;
  • Improved muscular power; and
  • Decreased body fat, optimised lean muscle tissue.

Each week I’ll take you through a progression of exercises and workouts that you can do on your own (or in a  group) with no equipment required. Do a couple of sessions a week for 2-4 weeks before progressing onto the workout I’ll post about next week.

This weeks article follows on from last weeks one:

The Perfect Body Weight Strength Training Session for Marathon Runners & Triathletes

BW Triathlon Strength Session FQ Phase B

  • 10min WU running;
  • 4 sets of:
    • T Press Ups,
    • Partial Curls,
    • Bicycles,
    • Lunges,
    • Burpees,
    • Shuttles;
  • No rest between sets.  Go straight from one exercise to the next.
  • All four sets – 60sec each exercise
  • After each complete set rest for between 30-60sec, long enough to grab a quick drink.
  • 5min jogging CD;
  • 10min stretching;

Set up by placing a mat down and setting some cones (or some other marker like a hat or a jacket) out at either 10m, 15m or 20m intervals from the mat.

Start with a 10min Warm Up (WU) running at Level II (read this article here for the explanation of Training Intensities). This will get the blood flowing through the muscles and your body ready for the exercise that will follow.

For this workout you’ll complete four sets of each exercise. You will do all exercises in order without rest then the shuttles before taking a short 30-60 second Rest Interval (RI). During the Rest Interval (RI) grab a qwik drink and do some stretching then get back into it. The reason this session is done in a circuit format is because as endurance athletes you compete without taking a rest, rather than break the session into many sets and rest periods like body builders and more power oriented sports do.

All four sets are 60 seconds long for each exercise (including the shuttles). In this time, try and complete as many reps of each exercise that you can maintaining good form in the time available, then change over to the next exercise qwikly with no delay. Each of the four sets will last six minutes.

Start off with T Press Ups. Complete full press ups until you can’t do anymore and then revert to the Eccentric Press Ups as shown in the video above. Avoid doing press ups on your knees as these provide very little benefit. Start in the front support position on your toes and hands, with a straight line from head to heel. Lower your body by bending your elbows to a point where there is a straight line across your shoulder blades from elbow to elbow. Make sure you maintain the straight line from head to heel, then press back up to the start position by straightening your elbows. Once back at the start position rotate your body and extend your top arm straight up to the sky prior to returning to the start position. Complete another Press Up and then rotate to the other side.

The next exercise is Partial Curls. Lie on your back with your knees bent about 90 degrees, with your feet flat on the ground or mat and your palms resting on your thighs. Raise up by contracting your abdominal muscles, sliding your palms up your thighs until your wrist reaches your knees, then lower back down until your shoulder blades touch the mat or ground.

The next exercise is Bicycles.  Lie on your back with your feet off the ground and your finger tips resting just behind your ears (not behind your head or neck). Lift your shoulder blades off the mat and drive your left knee towards your chest. At the same time rotate your core to the left so your right elbow touches your left knee. Extend your left leg and rotate to the right at the same time as you drive your right knee towards your chest until your left elbow and right knee meet. Continue the leg drive and rotations for the duration of the set.

The fourth exercise is Lunges.  Complete these by standing with your feet hip width apart.  Step forward with one leg and then lower down to a point where both knees are bent to a 90 degree angle. Raise back up and then step back to the start position. Then repeat with the other side. Keep your spine vertically aligned (avoid leaning backwards).

The last exercise (prior to running the shuttles) is a Burpee. In this workout use a 4-Count Burpee. Start from standing and then drop down to the front support position by shooting your legs out behind you, as you drop down onto your hands. From here drive your feet forward towards your hands, as you bend your knees. Explode up vertically as you jump up and clap your hands overhead.

To finish off the set complete as many shuttles running between your two cones or markers. It doesn’t matter if they are 20m or 10m apart (or even 15m).  You just end up turning more often if they are closer together.

After you have completed the set, take a short Rest Interval (RI) prior to the next set. After the last set, complete a Cool Down (CD) of a minimum of five minutes jogging at Level II. Finish off with ten minutes of stretching.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to my informative newsletter.

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For more great workouts see my eBook: ‘Top 10 Workouts from Coach Ray – The Ten Most Popular Training Sessions from”.  Use the workouts within the eBook to enhance your fitness.

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