October 13, 2020

Should Triathletes Do Strength Training?

Strength training on the bike

One of the most significant challenges faced by age-group triathletes is fitting swimming, cycling and running around an already busy work, family and social schedule.

It surprises me then, the frequency I see gym sessions included in the previous schedule of athletes new to Coached when reviewing their past training. I also find it curious that it’s one of the most common questions I get via email, and during talks that I give.

Fitness is sport-specific.

When time is tight, it’s essential to focus on the things that will move the needle. For most, that means dedicated time swimming, cycling and running, to develop the crucial technical skills and fitness that will allow you to perform at your best in a triathlon.

Does that mean triathletes don’t need to do strength training?

No! It means you don’t need to dedicate time to a specific strength training session in the gym.

Sign up for Coached running or triathlon programmes.

I believe that strength training is best incorporated directly into the disciplines of swim, bike and run. That’s what we do in Coached programmes, and it works.

What we’re trying to do is engage and strengthen the muscle groups that actually perform the discipline while using the correct technique for that sport.

In swimming, we use paddles, pull buoys and bands to build strength.

On the bike, hills, big gear or a combination of the two work great.

For the run, hills and drills do the trick.

None of this is complicated; the results are fantastic, and best of all, it adds no additional time to your already packed week.

Are there exceptions to this? Of course – like in everything related to training – but in my experience, this approach works for most athletes, most of the time.

Head CoachBen PulhamBen Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personal training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.