Cardio is great, but strength helps to build those muscles necessary to propel you forward! Strong muscles provide structure and support to your body so that you can avoid injury as you increase your training. While strength workouts are great all the time, at times like these when pools are close, strength can supplement your swim routine.
When you don't have access to a pool
When you are swimming, you are using many muscles that you might not have realized. In order to stay floating and parallel to the surface of the water, you are engaging your core. When you are rotating, you are keeping your core engaged to have a stead and smooth rotation, rather, your core should be engaged. By practicing dry-land strength, your water skills will improve. When you kick, your strength doesn’t come from your quads, it comes from the lower abs. In the future, we will be sharing exercises you can be doing to improve the strength of your shoulders and back which are imperative for a strong pull underwater. The thing that is different from swimming than other sports in triathlon is that the swim is all about strength and form. Endurance is important too but technique and strength will go a long way. So, let’s use this time of pool shutdown and try to work on strength. Who knows, maybe you’ll be a faster swimmer the next time you are able to swim.
Photo by mali maeder
Strength improves bike and run
Let’s talk about the other sports in a triathlon. The bike and run. When you’re performing those sports, it is quite obvious by the soreness you feel after a hard training day that you are using your legs a lot. By working on strength, you can push off the ground to run faster or cycle with more power. Did you know that you’re actually also engaging your core? Well, you should be at least. Your core will keep you balanced and enable you to more easily lift your legs or drive through your cadence with explosive force.
Below is a workout you can do with no equipment in the comfort of wherever you are. If you’re stuck at home during corona virus, find a open area of your house. If it’s nice outside, find a grassy area and enjoy fresh air. When we’re able to travel again and your hotel doesn’t have a gym or the gym is not impressive, you can do from the comfort of your hotel room.
Photo by Li Sun
- 3 x 15 reps Bicycles / elbow-to-knee crunches – lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Your arms should be behind your head. Raise your right leg bending your knee engaging your stomach to lift your leg. Simultaneously, bring your left elbow to your right knee. Then slowly release to starting position. Repeat with the other side (left leg and right arm). This is one rep.
- 2 x 10 reps Bird Dogs / Alternating reach and kickbacks – Start in a “tabletop” position, on your hands and knees. Extend your right leg and left arm straight out. Hold for a second. Then, bring your arm and leg back to the starting position. But wait! Before you put your hand and knee back on the ground, try to touch your elbow and knee below your body. Repeat with the other side. This is one rep.
- 3 x 15 reps Body Weight Squats – Start standing with your feet hip width apart or slightly wider. Squat down as if your reaching your butt to a chair that is far behind you. Take extra care to keep your shin vertical and not allow your knee to pass in front of your toes.
- 3 x 20 reps Flutter Kicks – Start lying on your stomach with arms and legs extended in front of you (arms) and behind you (legs). Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time. Release to the starting position. Then repeat with your left arm and right leg. This is one rep. You can challenge yourself and do this quickly.
- 2 x 10 reps Hip Raises/ Butt lifts/ Bridges – Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Your arms can be beside you near your hips or extended straight up to the sky. Extended straight up will be more challenging. Engage your core and your glutes (butt) to raise your hips off the ground. Hold for a second and release back to the starting position. This is one rep.
- 3 x 45 seconds planks – You can do this plank on your hands or your elbows. If you cannot hold for the full 45 seconds, try your best. Take a moment to regroup and continue until the 45 seconds is complete. Keep working on it and eventually you’ll be able to do it and rejoice in your progress.
- 4 x 10 reps lying side leg lifts / lateral Raises (do 2 sets each side) – Start lying on the floor on your right side. Your arm can be on the ground supporting your head but ensure your spine is in a straight line. Your legs are stacked vertically aligned with your hips. Engage your core as you lift your left leg up to the sky. It will help to pretend it is levitating up to the sky. This is intended to be a core workout not a leg workout. Slowly bring your leg back to the starting position. This is one rep. When you complete the set of 10, flip to the other side and do the exercise.
- 4 x 10 reps single leg glue bridge / hip extension with leg lift – This is a variation of the Hip Raises and butt lifts. Start in the same position and follow the same instructions. However, this time keep your right leg extended straight. Your quads are aligned but one foot will be on the floor and one will be pointed at the wall. The movement of the hips will be the same as above.
That is the core and glut workout! Give it a shot and let us know how it went. If you have questions or would like us to focus on a particular body area in the future, let us know!
Be safe and try to have some fun!
NOTE ABOUT FOLLOWING TRAINING ADVICE YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET:
As with all training advice, please read this with knowledge of your own health and abilities in mind. Be sure to ask a doctor if you’re healthy enough to perform these exercises. If you have an injury, make sure you have recovered and cleared for additional activity. Do not over-train and ensure you are fueling your body appropriately to maximize your body’s performance and recovery. If something causes pain, that’s not good. Stop that exercise and perhaps the workout. When you workout, you should feel like you’re doing work but there shouldn’t be pain. Listen to your body and be smart.