Triathlon requires large amounts of strength especially in the backend of an Ironman, but gaining more doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the gym.
Here are 4 simple ways I build strength on a weekly basis for racing long course triathlon. They’re easy to do and can easily be incorporated into your upcoming sessions.
1. Wind trainer – Often overlooked as a strength building tool, this can provide a great way to build your strength through the use of pushing low gears to simulate hills and just by the very act of riding non stop because of not having to stop for red lights or free wheeling down hills.
I use a direct drive trainer and like to do 60-70 rpm ironman efforts at length to replicate a solid hill. Try doing this on the aero bars as this position is where you want to be strongest and most comfortable on race day.
2. Run hill reps – During your next run you can build strength and a surprising amount of speed with these reps. Try for 3-8 minutes in length at around Ironman effort. This can be done continuous in a fartlek style session.
3. Core exercises – If you can find time before your next run, even just the act of engaging the muscles will strengthen and help your muscles fire properly for your key sessions. Some common ones I’ll do a few times a week include: Plank, Side plank, One legged squat and Glute bridge. Any form of glute activation prior to a run can really assist in holding good form.
4. Pull Buoy and Paddles – This is a great way to provide swim strength and simulate wetsuit swims in the winter or when you cant find the time for an open water swim. For best effect use a band for extra resistance. To take it one step further remove the paddles and pull buoy but leave the band on, ‘Band only’ is a great strength builder and helps the ‘Over-glider’ keep a high turnover because if you don’t you’ll get that sinking feeling.