Exercises for strength training in triathlon

Swimming, pedaling and running are not enough to improve your times and your triathlon performance. Apart from the series with the stopwatch and gps on the road, pool or athletics track, triathlon training also requires a series of exercises in which water, cycling and running shoes are not present.

It is necessary to do a great job of technician and specific strength to ensure a good preparation to compete in triathlon. In addition, these strength exercises will also help minimize the risk of injury.

A stronger musculature will make you faster, more resistant and less prone to injury. That’s why in this article I’m explaining a series of basic strength exercises to consider whether you’re preparing for a single triathlon or competing regularly throughout the season.

Strength exercises in the swimming segment
To improve the strength in swimming I propose three strengthening exercises for different parts of the body, and a fourth exercise to improve the technique. The latter is a priority in this discipline to swim faster, longer and with less fatigue.

Don’t forget that these exercises are a general guide that almost everyone can put into practice, but if you want to take it seriously, it’s best to put yourself in the hands of a swim coach who evaluates your physical condition and creates a personalized training plan.

Exercise 1: the iron

This exercise improves the strength of the core and provides greater stability in the water.

To do it correctly, you must position yourself horizontally and parallel to the ground. Place your elbows and toes on the floor and hold in this position by inserting your navel.

Start with 3 repetitions, holding as long as you can (from 20 seconds to 1 minute per repetition), and gradually increase both the number of repetitions and the working time.

Exercise 2: Swimming with your feet only

To improve the propulsion of the feet I advise you to do series swimming only with crawl feet and using fins. Help yourself with a cork board to keep your arms static while you exercise.

An example to make a session of this type is the following:

  • 400 meters styles (warm up)
  • 4×200 meters only with crawl feet (with fins)
  • 4×50 meters only with crawl feet (with fins)
  • 200 meter styles (return to calm)

Exercise 3: Swimming with arms only

It is the same principle as the previous exercise, this time exercising the upper train, instead of the lower train.

In order to improve the force in the water traction phase, I recommend you to do a series of swims in which the feet remain static. To do this, use a pull buoy that will keep your legs in a horizontal position. We will move the crawl arms using shovels.

An example of a recommended session to work on strength in swimming is the following:

  • 400 meters styles (warm up)
  • 4×100 meters only crawl arms (with shovels)
  • 4×50 meters only crawl arms (with shovels)
  • 200 meter styles (return to calm)

Exercise 4: dead center

One exercise that you can include in your pool training sessions to improve technique is the so-called dead center.

It consists of swimming with one arm while keeping the other arm stretched holding a cork board. When the arm that runs the stroke comes forward, you change the hand that grabs the board and perform the stroke with the other arm. So on and on.

Once you’ve mastered it, you can add more difficulty by bypassing the board and swimming in what’s known as a ‘dead end’.

A good session for this exercise would be as follows:

  • 400 meters styles (warm up)
  • 2 series of 4×100 meters dead center
  • 200 meter styles (return to calm)

Strength Exercises in the Cycling Segment

There are many exercises you can do to strengthen your muscles and improve your results in the cycling segment. Here are two exercises you can do at home or in the gym.

Piston pedalling with platform pedals

This exercise is aimed at learning to use and strengthen the musculature of the lower body, which is the one that must carry out the greatest workload in cycling.

You’ve probably read or heard a lot about round pedaling. However, the truth is that the correct way to pedal is with a piston. It consists of pushing the pedal downwards and with a predominance of quadriceps.

When the pedal goes up, the leg must make the necessary force to lift only its own weight and never pull the pedal.

Remember that pulling the pedal up is a gesture that can cause injury. It also destabilizes you on your bike.

In order to be able to consolidate the gesture of pedaling it is recommended that, at least once a week, you use platform pedals instead of the clipless pedals in which you are anchored.

A good way to do this exercise is to use the bicycle with this type of pedals as a means of daily transport.