Strength & Conditioning For Triathletes! | S&C Exercises For Athletes Of All Levels

Strength & Conditioning For Triathletes! | S&C Exercises For Athletes Of All Levels

– It’s easy to think that
training for a triathlon purely involves swimming,
cycling and running. Unless you’re strapped for time, then it’s going to be difficult to justify fitting in any other training. But if you can manage one or two strength-conditioning
sessions a week, it can make a huge difference
to your overall performance and also your ability to
train for those three sports. So with that in mind, we’ve
chosen a few key exercises that you can fit around your training that can be either done
at home or in the gym. (funky music) Now we’re going to begin
with sideband walks, as these are great for
activating your leg muscles as well as your core, and they also act as a
bit of an extended warm-up before we get onto the heavier exercises. You need an elastic band of some sort that can fit around your ankles and has enough elasticity
so you can sidestep with it. So lower yourself into a
half squat start position with your chest up, facing forwards, and then sidestep sideways
in a crab-style walk maintaining pressure on the
band throughout each step. In this position, take
10 steps to your right and then 10 steps to your left, trying to make it smooth
and light on your feet, so you shouldn’t actually see
your head bobbing up and down, it should be more of
a continuous movement. Take a rest and then repeat
it once or twice more. And if you’re doing this properly, you’re really starting to feel it burn on the outside of your bottom. (calm music) Superman is another
activation-style exercise that’s going to focus on
the trunk and the core. So start in four-point kneeling
with your knees and shins and your hands on the floor, and your hips should be
directly above your knees, your shoulders should be
directly above your hands. Start by simply lifting
one hand off the ground and extending your arm out in front, place it back and then
repeat on the other side. Now this might sound simple, but check that your hips
and torso do not move. Once you’ve got that
control, you can then move to extending one leg at a time behind you. The movement needs to
be slow and controlled with all of the focus on
keeping the hips still and not arching the lower back. The next step from here is to work your arms
and your legs together. So you’re going to be
working across the diagonal, so start off by extending one arm and then you’re going to extend
the opposite diagonal leg at the same time in a
very controlled manner, and then bring them back together. So this will really be
activating your core across that diagonal, and then obviously
repeat on the other side. It might sound easy, but it’s much harder than
it looks to make sure that you don’t actually let
your torso move too much. And if you can, do it
in front of a mirror, or maybe get a friend to watch you, to check that you’re keeping
that really good form. And when it comes to this,
it’s very much important to concentrate on quality, not quantity, so I’m not going to
give you a number here, but as soon as your form starts
to drop, then take a rest. (calm music) Single-leg squats are great for increasing strength and control, cycling, running, and even swimming, are all unilateral movements, and therefore, one side of the body is moving separately to the other. Well, this requires strong
core, great coordination and the obvious limb strength. Start off by standing on one leg, if possible, in front of a mirror, then before progressing, check that your hips are still level, then start to lower your body down by bending that standing leg and pushing your bottom backwards as though you’re going to sit on a chair. Go as far as you can maintain the control and then straighten back
up to single-leg standing. You can even pop a chair behind you and then go down to just
touching and back up again, but you need to make sure
that the movement is smooth. And you don’t actually
sit down at the bottom, so taking a couple of seconds to go down and a couple of seconds to come back up. Get your knee tracking
forwards over your laces towards your toes, your
chest needs to be kept up and your gaze forwards. If you really struggle with control, then you can use a TRX-style
cable or even hold a stick to give you a little added stability. It’s just important to
do this action correctly as quality beats quantity here. These squats are especially
great for running as they replicate that
stance phase of the gait. So they’re going to activate
all of those smaller muscles that help to control your
lower leg and your foot, as well as obviously
working the large muscles such as your glutes,
and of course your core that we’ve already mentioned. So if you start off by aiming to do two sets of five reps on each leg, and then you can progress this by increasing the number of sets, or the number of reps, and both, and then when you really want
to take it a step further, you can add a weight. But another progression
that I actually quite like is to change the surface
which you’re standing on, so it really adds that
challenge of proprioception, making it something that’s less stable. (calm music) Hip bridges will activate
the posterior chain, so those muscles at the back of the body, and in particular, that really start to get those glutes firing. So for this exercise, you need to start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground,
and you should be able to just brush the back of your
ankles with your fingertips. Begin this exercise by lifting your hips and your bottom off the floor
and raised towards the ceiling whilst keeping your hips level
and your thighs parallel, so that gap between your
knees remains the same. Once you lift up into full-hip extension, there should be a straight line from your shoulders on the ground, all the way up to your knees. Aim to do it as one
second up, one second down in a continuous movement, start off by only just
three lots of 10 reps. And this is quite an easy
exercise to actually progress. So the obvious progression
will be to take to single-leg, but here you need to really make sure that you’re still keeping
your hips extremely level. And if you want to then take
it another step further, you can add a weight that
you hold over your hips. While this does predominantly
work your glutes, a little bit of your hamstrings,
as I’ve already mentioned, but you can actually add
in some more activation. So if you put a block between your knees and you’ve got to
squeeze to maintain that, that will start to work the inner thigh and then the opposite,
you could actually have a band around your knee so
you’ve got to maintain that gap by putting out against resistance band, which will work your outer thighs. (calms music) All my exercises are a
little harder to do at home and also hard to vary without weights, but we’re going to start with
the obvious, the press-up. Well, this is great for working your pecs, your deltoids, your triceps, biceps, and all of those muscles
around your upper arms and your shoulders, and that
obviously are going to be great for that strength required for swimming. I expect you probably know
how to perform a press-up. So start facedown with your
hands underneath your shoulders and your arms extended. The rest of your body
should be in a straight line from your feet up to your shoulders. Then from this position, bend your elbows and lower your body,
in a controlled manner, towards the floor, just before the point
of touching the ground, push back up to your starting position. You need to engage your core
throughout this movement to ensure you’ve got
that nice straight line of your whole body. Now, if you do struggle to do
full-body-weight press-ups, you can alternatively
do them on your knees but do make sure in this position that it’s a straight line from
your knees to your shoulders and you’re not just simply
folding at the hips. Now, as for the number,
aim to do three sets, but as to the amount of reps, that depends really on
where you’re starting from, so try to keep the same number throughout. You should be finishing that third set feeling as though you can’t do any more. Calf raises are a simple exercise that can be performed pretty much anywhere and they are great for
strengthen your Achilles tendon and your calf muscles, both of which are essential for running. To start with, you can do these by standing on a flat surface
and raising your body weight onto your toes, lifting your heels. As soon as you’ve got enough
control, take this to a step, then stand on the ball of your foot with your heels over the edge. And you can lower your heel down, and then lift all the way up so you’re working your calf muscles through that full range of movement. You can progress this
by moving to single-leg, but do make sure that your
hips stay level throughout it, or you can even add weight
to increase that difficulty. So if you’re doing double-legs,
start off by trying to do three sets of 10
reps, if it’s single-leg, three sets of eight, and then
progress as you get stronger. There’re so many options
for core exercises, but today we’re going
to keep it super simple with a good old plank. Now, this is going to
activate those muscles around the trunk which will
help to make you more efficient for your swimming, cycling and running. And yes, all the exercise
we’ve already covered are to going to actually your
core to a certain extent, but this one is really
going to make you feel it. You’ve got the option here of starting on your elbows or your hands. Whichever you use, though, make sure that they’re
underneath your shoulders. So facing down, raise your
body away onto your toes and elbows, or hands, and
aim to get a straight line or a plank shape, from your
heels all the way to your head. You might well start to
experience the shake, but hold through it for
as long as you can manage. If you can get someone to check that you’re not dropping your hips, or that you’re not cheating by actually lifting your hips up too high, and if you’re finding this
nice, and comfortable, and easy, and you’ve got a stable position, then you can progress it
by moving to single-leg. So simply lift one leg off
the ground, hold it there, replace and then swap
it to the other side. And then you’ve got side plank which will move the concentration
to the side of your trunk. You can simply rotate
onto one hand, or elbow, and place one foot on top of the other. Still keeping that
straight plank position, make sure you hold for
the same amount of time on the other side too. Like I said, this is just
a selection of exercises that require minimal equipment,
are straightforward to do, and will directly help
you as a triathlete, but do feel free to experiment with them, adapt and work out which
exercises work for you, and if you can, try to fit them
in two to three times a week and you will certainly
start to see a difference. Well, gives us a thumbs-up
like if you’ve enjoyed it, hit the globe to subscribe, and if you’ve got any
exercises that you like to do, let us know in the comments section below. And if you want to see a video
that’s specifically designed to strengthening and
conditioning purely for runners, you can find that one over here, and if you’ve got knee injuries, or you want to know how
to prevent a knee injury, you can see that one just down here.

About the author


  1. Nice to show the other side of triathlon, but I think wold be more interesting for a personal trainer teach some preseason exercises.

  2. The Hip Bridges is the best. When I'm too lazy and lying down cozy in my bed. This one does lessen my guilty feeling of being lazy 😂

  3. Try doing those bird dogs (think you called them Superman’s) with just balancing on one hand and one knee. Slightly bend knee so foot is not providing balance). Super challenging

  4. If you have a slight bend in the knee when doing calf raises it helps target the soleus which is one of those often neglected but super important muscles.

  5. I've just recently restarted Pilates to assist in my triathlon development. Similar exercises to what's in this video. Correct technique is very important.

Leave a Reply

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