In Part II of this article series, I covered the benefits of participating in a resistance training program. In Part III, I will discuss resistance training program considerations for endurance athletes.
Young (2010) has recommended that triathletes resistance train the whole body one to three sessions per week while focusing on high-resistance / low-rep programming or power movements with proper rest intervals (p. 25). You want to train for strength and power, not muscular endurance. These training sessions need not be long, as “15-40 minutes per session is sufficient” (Young, 2010, p. 25). Young has also recommended that trainees select exercises that target multiple joints at the same time and that they work through full ranges of motion in performing the exercises (p. 32). Utilizing compound movements or exercises that involve multiple joints saves time and is more in line with how the body typically works. For example, the biceps curl exercise known to almost every young man that has picked up a dumbbell, involves a single joint – the elbow. However, a rowing movement such as a single-arm dumbbell row involves both the elbow and the glenohumeral (i.e., shoulder) joint. Not only are the elbow flexors on the front of the upper arm being trained with the single-arm dumbbell row, but so are muscles in the back and the shoulder. This saves time during a workout and works the muscles of the body in a manner more in line with how they work in our daily activities and in sporting events.
Another recommendation that I have for endurance athletes is to perform their exercises, where possible, on their feet and avoid the temptation to only resistance train seated on an exercise machine. Few sports are performed in a sitting position. And just because, as a triathlete, you spend part of the time for your chosen event on a bike, you don’t get a pass. Even if you spent your entire event in a seat (e.g., a race car driver), I would still recommend that most of your resistance training be performed without the artificial stabilization provided by a machine. The balance and stabilization challenges presented by performing resistance training exercises such as a lunge or split squat can be felt and appreciated. Besides, you feel more like an athlete when you train this way.
In the fourth part of this five-part series, I will discuss warm-up and flexibility considerations for endurance athletes.
Young, M. (2010). Auxiliary training: Means & methods for the multi-sport athlete. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/hpcsport/auxiliary-training-means-and-methods-for-the-multisport-athlete