By Dr. Cindy Lewis-Caballero (DC), and the founder of CL Performance Training
Does a triathlete really need to strength train? The short answer is – YES! Strength training will make any endurance athlete stronger and more powerful if done in the right way, and has the added benefit of helping to keep them balanced and injury free.
Triathlon, like most endurance sports, requires a straight forward motion from start to finish, which is very repetitive. That means the same muscles are working over and over again – while other muscles are NOT working over and over again. This leads to overuse of some muscle groups and underuse of others.
Has anyone ever said to you “running is bad for the knees”? Well, if you integrate strength training into your endurance training program you’ll protect those knees, as well as other joints, muscles and tendons from repetitive strain and ultimately injury.
The most common thing I hear from athletes when they don’t do strength training is that they don’t have time. The swim, bike and run take up all their time and they can’t fit in a visit to the gym to lift weights. (Ironically, they can find time for treatment to make up for it!) Ideally, an athlete can get to the gym and work with strength training equipment several times per week to achieve the goal of getting stronger. However, it is possible to integrate this into your schedule by doing it regularly at home using little to no equipment – and in 30 minutes. Isn’t that worth it to help keep you injury free – with the added bonus of making you faster?
How you integrate strength training into your schedule is important. Going to the gym and doing the same exercises the same way as someone who is looking to put on muscle mass and or do a strength competition is counterproductive. The strength training program for an endurance athlete should complement the endurance training program, which involves working on the same or similar goals at the same time of year. Periodization is key for your endurance AND your strength program. If they match, you will see big benefits!
CLPT coaches believe in making strength training part of your training program and have the knowledge to do it in a way that will help you achieve your overall goals. You may choose to do one-on-one sessions with your coach or you may choose to do it on your own at a time that works better for you, with our guidance.
Either way, as the saying goes, just do it! To find out more about the programs we offer, visit www.clperformancetraining.com.