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Why Do Strength Training / Resistance Training?

Strength training makes muscles stronger, enabling it to overcome resistance or force when required. With proper and well-rounded strength training, other significant physical benefits follow: these are marked improvements in bone density, joint function, and tendon and ligament strength. Strength training also decreases the risk of skeletal and muscular injuries. Overall, it contributes to general improvement in quality of life.

In triathlon, strength training provides the benefit of economy. Improved economy, which is another term for efficiency allows the triathlete to swim, bike, and run at a faster pace for a certain distance or for a longer period of time due to a decrease in the required oxygen consumed by the individual. This conservation of energy demand makes the triathlete more durable in terms of taking on stress from hard training days and tough races. Strength training prevents injuries, thus extending the triathlete’s participation in the sport. Effective program design involves training phases, which vary in intensity and volume to achieve peak levels of conditioning.


Four Strength Training Phases

Hypertrophy

At this phase, training begins at a very low intensity with very high volume. Goals of this phase is to increase lean body mass or develop a muscular and metabolic base for endurance.

Basic Strength

The aim of this phase is to increase the strength of the muscles essential to the primary sport movements. The resistance training program becomes more specific to the sport and involves heavier loads for fewer repetitions than the Hypertrophy Phase.

Strength/Power Phase

The training program involves performing power/explosive exercises at high loads and low volumes. Plyometric drills are done in this phase.

Competition Phase

The goal for this phase is to bring the previous strength/power phase to its peak through further increases in training intensity with additional decreases in training volume. Competition phase includes peaking and maintenance. For peaking, athletes use very high intensity (>90 percent of 1 Rep Max) and very low volume (one to three sets of up to three repetitions). For maintenance, athletes use moderate intensity (80 percent to 85% percent of 1 RM) and moderate volume (two to three sets of six to eight repetitions).

 


HOW CAN HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) ENHANCE TRIATHLON?

HIIT is a type of cardiovascular training which includes high-intensity bouts of training followed by lower intensity bouts, or rest. These bouts are repeated for a specific number of times depending on the fitness level of the individual. The rest periods allow the lactic acid to settle down from the blood ensuring recovery for the next high-intensity interval.

Key things to know when doing HIIT:

 Intensity or speed of each interval

 Distance or time of each interval

 Active rest or rest of each interval

 Total number of intervals to be completed in a workout

Research has shown that triathletes gain in speed, power, and fitness economy when HIIT is incorporated in their training program. An increased Maximal Oxygen Uptake (VO2max), decreased resting blood pressure, and increased insulin response are just a few physiological changes that can be experienced when comparing results of HIIT training to slow steady-state exercise. By adding variety to the program design, a triathlete can overcome plateaus in training.

The study also concluded that there was a decrease in lactate accumulation, an increase in fat oxidation, which shows that HIIT is an effective method to increase metabolism and the ability of the muscles to break down fat and use it as a source of energy.

 

Sample HIIT Program

For Active Triathletes with more than six months of regular training/racing.

 

Sport Workout HEART RATE 

(estimated 

target max HR)

Swim > 400m warm

> 8x100m Sprints, 1min RI (rest interval)

170 bpm
Bike > 15min warm

> 5min @ 90% effort

> 5x3min @ >100% effort, 3min RI (rest interval)

170 bpm
Run > 20min warm

> 6x2min @ >100% effort, 2min RI (rest interval)

170 bpm

 




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