Strength Training

Coach Ray’s Power Bag Strength Circuit for Runners and Triathletes

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.

A Power Bag (PB) is a sand (or sawdust) filled bag that will provide you with weight or a resistance to make certain exercises harder and challenge your body more.

This weeks article follows on from last weeks one:

The Best Way to Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Training for Triathlon’s & Marathon’s

PB Triathlon Strength Session FI Phase B

  • 10min WU running;
  • 4 sets of:
    • PB Bent Over Row,
    • Partial Curls,
    • PB Lunges,
    • PB Squat Push Press,
    • Shuttles;
  • No rest between sets.  Go straight from one exercise to the next.
  • First set – 30sec each exercise;
  • Second, third & fourth set – 45sec 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.

The first set is 30 seconds long for each exercise (including the shuttles). and the second, third and fourth sets are all 45 seconds long for each exercise. 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. The first set will last for a total of 2:30 minutes and the other three sets 3:45 minutes in total for each set.

Start off with a PB Bent Over Row: holding the bag by the two handles, feet hip width apart and slight bend in the knees; tilt your upper body forward by hinging at the hip, maintaining a natural curve in the lower spine; from here row the Power Bag up towards the bottom of the rib cage.

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 third exercise is PB Lunges.  Complete these by standing with your feet hip width apart and the Power Bag across your shoulders.  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 PB Squat Push Press. With the Power Bag held across your chest with the palms of your hands cradling the Power Bag; squat down by bending your knees and pushing your hips out behind you.  Stand back up and at the same time drive the Power Bag to full arm extension overhead. Slowly lower the bag to the chest and repeat.

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.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.