Get Stronger During the Off-Season
We all know that strength training should be an important part of every triathlete’s off-season training program, but do we really know how to utilize this critical period for maximum results? Use these valuable 8-12 weeks to address any strength issues, nagging injuries or flexibility concerns that may have been uncovered during your last competitive season. Maybe you decided that your legs just would not recover from hard workouts anymore, or the hills during your cycling training were not as fun anymore. These issues any many more can be resolved with a properly designed off-season strength-training program.
Before we get into the specifics regarding you’re off-season strength training program, let’s cover the ideology of strength training and what it means to the Multisport athlete.
The concept of strength training begins at the cellular level with metabolism. Increased muscle mass directly correlates to an increased metabolism, a major component of daily energy expenditure, which in turn complements aerobic exercise for weight control. This increased metabolism theoretically will drop your body fat percentage, turning you into a leaner and more efficient athlete. I say “theoretically” because this also comes with the assumption that you are eating correctly with proper amounts of protein in your diet.
Functional strength for the multisport athlete translates to exercises and programs that specifically address the sport of triathlon. Functional strength deficiencies can be addressed several different ways, through sport-specific weight training routines, via sport-specific high intensity interval training, or with structured sport specific plyometric workouts. It is good practice to include bits and pieces of all these routines into your periodized off-season strength-training program.
The physiologic benefits associated with resistance training include increases in bone mass, muscular strength and strength of connective tissue. These benefits can reduce the risk of injury by improving mobility, strengthening ligaments and tendons around joints, and/or eliminating muscle weaknesses and imbalances. Common overuse injuries can often be traced back to some type of flexibility issue. Limited flexibility decreases the range of motion therefore restricting and delaying progress with muscular development. Spend at least 15 minutes everyday stretching out your problem areas. It is also good practice to stretch after every workout as well.
As you can see, strength training is no longer just about getting stronger, it’s about getting leaner, becoming functionally stronger, preventing injury and staying flexible.
Here are some specifics to remember when designing your own sport-specific off-season strength training routine.
1. Try to keep your body in a state of shock. Studies have shown that it takes between 4 and 6 weeks for our muscles to adapt to an existing program. When this adaptation occurs progress begins to slow down or plateau. Keep your body in the state of shock and change your routine when this adaptation begins. Change can be defined in many different ways via, intensity, reps, sets or rest periods. All you need to do is modify one variable involved with your regular routine. Change is good.
2. Always try to incorporate all of the major muscle groups into your program, even the ones you don’t like to work. The muscle groups that are often neglected usually turn out to be the one’s that need it the most.
3. Keep your intensity high. Strive for 80-95% effort for the last couple reps of every set.
4. Never train the same muscle groups two consecutive days in a row
5. Try to incorporate multi-joint movements into your routine, such as lunges, squats or plank variations.
6. Come see the qualified professionals from The Training Studio to learn all of this first hand. Don’t forget about our popular Tri Strength workout that meets Tuesday/Thursday evenings from 5:30-6:30pm
This overall concept of strength training can be very complicated and intimating for the average person. Please take the time to seek out a qualified professional (like those at The Training Studio) that has experience designing and developing sport specific programs. The initial investment involved with learning proper form and technique by hiring a professional is worth it in the long run.
Make the most of your off season this year to enjoy a very successful injury-free up-coming training season.
Dale is a graduate from the University of Louisville with a degree in Sports Management/Exercise Science. He is the founder and co-owner of The Training Studio (http://www.thetrainignstudio.com), a comprehensive private fitness training facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Dale has spent the past 15 years at The Training Studio designing and implementing successful training programs for both beginning exercisers and seasoned athletes utilizing his expertise in total body functional strength. Utilizing this passion for teaching total body functional training, Dale also founded Snow Angel Fitness. Snow Angel Fitness was designed to transcend Dale’s knowledge, passion and success to the worldwide market via instructional, well designed and easy to follow strength training DVD’s. http://www.snowangelfitness.com
Dale can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org