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Weight Training

Hello All,

There is probably a post about this somewhere on the forum, but cant find anything so will start a new one! I do weight training 3 times a week, and was wondering if there are any particular things i should bear in mind i.e. excercises to avoid incase they hinder in Tri, or should i do loads of reps with light weight or is it ok to low reps with big weights etc. I have it split up thus, Bi's and Tri's one night.

Chest and shoulders another with back and legs another. Any advice, critisism?


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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Ok, yeh there are quite a few threads about this subject, I will link some of the ones I have replied on at the bottom as my answers are a lot more comprehensive.

    In answer to your questions i think it is best to do high weight, low reps. This will increase strength and anaerobic endurance in particular. Some people suggest doing lots of reps of a low weight, but personally i think thats rubbish, as the idea behind it is based on doing similar movements to cycling etc. but even doing high numbers of reps it isnt going to come close to the speed at which you pedal if you get what I mean.

    Looking at the way you have split things up I would say you are looking at it from too much of body builders perspective rather than a triathletes, i.e. I dont think a triathlete should be doing isolated moved on the biceps and triceps, you should be doing big compound moves on the upper body i.e. chest and tri moves like the bench press and back and bicep moves like pullups/chinups. These will increase your functional strength rather than increasing the bulk and strength of a specific muscle which you would get from isolated moves.

    Personally I think your weight lifting should revolve around the following exercises -

    Squats - get the form right first, as this move has high potential for injury, but it is pretty much the best exercise you can do

    Deadlifts - works the core so hard and will increase full body strength, but like squat you will need good form

    Clean and jerk/muscle jerk - the best full body move there is, increases strength, burns fat, does the lot!

    Bench press, great for upperbody strength and swimming

    Chinups/pullups, start will lat pull downs or seated row if you can't do them (dont worry, the average man can only do 1 full pull up!)

    There are other moves, but try to stay away from isolated moves, they will only give you very specific directional strength if you get what I mean, and give you bulk you dont need!
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    BEEFBEEF Posts: 43
    Surely for certain movement patterns Isolatory exercises are ideal for triathletes?

    Swimming - the ability to isolate lats as opposed to recruiting delts are fundamental to an effective and economical stroke?

    Cycling - the entire function of circular pedalling is isolatory to glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads and their support muscle network.

    Core training performed well will beneift all 3 Tri disciplines and can help limit fatigue by a small amount through correct posture control.

    Full body exercises such as clean and jerk are great but how many gyms these days have a suitable lifting platform and someone there to instruct safely?

    Just my opinion.

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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    sorry beef i probably didn't really explain what I meant by isolated moves. I mean by this exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions etc. Moves which concentrate on just the one muscle. As you've described in cycling you use all of the leg muscles, therefore I think its better to work them as a unit in a move like squats, rather than do isolated moves such as leg extension and leg curls, do you see my point? The aim obviously is not only to increase strength but also work on support muscles and get the muscles working together as a unit.

    You have raised a good point though, I stress when I suggest doing moves such as squats and deadlifts that they should only be done under instruction from someone who knows what they are doing. And yes you are right that not all gyms offer the facilities, such as squat racks, platforms etc. But I've been the member of approx 9-10 different gyms, and with the exception of 1 I have always been able to get around that problem. Most gyms have barbells available, lots of gyms have a smith machine which can not only be used for bench press but also for squats and deadlifts.

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    BEEFBEEF Posts: 43
    Good points TT and apologies if my thoughts came across as critical.

    If someone can get good lifting advice then they can make good gains during the off season especially if someone struggles with hills then the following can develop good climbing legs.

    Squats, split squats, single leg squats, straight leg dead lift will all helpdevelop stability and strength.

    Look develop core strength from exercises such as bridges, front and side planks.

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    TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Yeh definitely, I think a strength program through the winter has so many benefits, increasing strength and power, injury prevention, decreasing fat.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I tend to concentrate on a lot of core strenghtening exercises over winter, like Beef says it's all bridges and planks... I also do sit ups on a ball with a 10kg weight held behind my head. Ouch. I found that doing this last year really helped with my cycling: I had a much more stable platform for pedalling.

    One other thing, though: I'm currently in physio restore the imbalance in my shoulders caused by 15 years of F/C with no back strengthening exercises. I'm now doing lots of outward rotation exercises, seated rows, press-ups etc.

    It might be worth bearing in mind before people go off loading up on the muscles that are already well developed from tri - particularly swimming.

    Maybe the winter weight training should be as much about restoring balance, as well as adding power?

    (BTW, I am utterly unqualified to comment, just speaking from a bit of experience)

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    BEEFBEEF Posts: 43
    The key thing with looking to start a good strength development programme is to get a screening by a physio. As Bopo mentioned there is a strong likelyhood that each of us has a muscular or skeletal inbalnce of some form. Getting this identified at this time of year is ideal as we have the winter period to address it.

    One good site for Core Stability exercises is here.....


    Hope it helps


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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Rotator cuff exercises..for swimming & scapular stability.

    All of the leg ex mentioned will be core stabilizers too, add in moving lunges, lunges with rotation (medicine ball in hand) etc, planks onto & off the ball..all good.
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    You should keep doing weight training along side all the cardio training, but the type of will depend on the time of year. What I mean by this is... you should split your training up throughout the year, for instance over the winter when you are not competing the cardio should be very low intensity but for a long duration to build up your endurance. The weight training should go along side this i.e. 15-25 reps for 3-4 sets (muscular endurance training). This should include both compound and isolation movements.

    During the Spring you should aim to increase your speed and stamina, both in the cardio (run,bike & swim), and in the weights. A good way in which to do this would be to concentrate more on compound moves and stick to the rep range 1-6. This will build up mass amounts of power to go alongside the already built up endurance, thus increasing times for each of the splits.

    Lastly, idealy about 2 months before the 1st race you would do the last part of the cycle which would include both endurance work and Strenght training.

    One more tip, you may want to split weight training like so... Chest & triceps on running day, Back & Biceps on Bike day, Legs on swim day and Shoulders / abs on another bike / run day. This is so you will still get the most out of your cardio sessions, and wont have depleted mass amounts of your muscle glycogen reserves.

    Hope u find this useful guys

    Daz - Personal Trainer and Triathlon Crazy!!!
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    Thanks guys for your advice, especially you Daz, my weight training is probably more still for the defination and 'vanity' factor! (Since my Mrs has a thing for Mark Foster's body!)

    My Training is broken down like this:

    Mon: Bicep and triceps, with 5km run, abs

    Tues: Club Swim training

    Wednesday: Club Turbo Training

    Thurs: Chest and Shoulders with abs

    Fri: Rest

    Sat: Back, run and abs

    Sun: Long cycle.

    I may just change to what Daz was saying, being a personel trainer you know!

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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    However....split routines are a body buliding hangover & we are not body builders, I would still favour a whole body compound movement approach every time. periodise yes, but on a bike/run day I will do less intense legs, on swim/run day I will do more intense legs, all with a core focus, so one legged stuff, bosu, balance board etc.
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