Strength training for triathletes can be tricky business. Between training, work and home-life, finding an additional one to three hours per week dedicated for strength training is quite a challenge. Team Amino Vital Pro Athlete Jenny Lagerquist shares her secrets to getting the job done.
As a broad rule of thumb, Jenny explains if you want to get faster at the swim, bike and run, then you have to swim, bike and run. Pretty simple, huh? Undoubtedly though, there are benefits to strength training—namely injury prevention and core strength. Even doing a little can go a long way. Jenny likes to see her athletes squeeze in the simplest of routines; it can be done at home with little to no equipment.
Here’s a quick, simple, yet effective routine from Jenny that can be done in your living room. If you’re just starting out, do 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps and build from there.
- Planks: Lie belly-down and support your weight on your toes and your forearms. Your arms are bent and directly below the shoulder. Keep your body straight at all times, and hold this position for 30 seconds. Planks are one of the most useful strength exercises to strengthen core and overall stability.
- Side planks: Lie on your side on the mat. Place your forearm under your shoulder and your upper leg directly on top of lower leg. Straighten your knees and hips, and raise your body upward so you form a straight line from your head to your toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Side planks are often skipped because they are hard, but in addition to strengthening your main core muscles and arms, you need to work the obliques, too!
- Crunches—any variation: Any type of crunch, as long as it’s done correctly, provides a simple way to strengthen those core muscles. Just be sure to engage your abdominal muscles and press the lower back to the floor to prevent back pain and stress. Relax the neck and disengage the hip flexors.
- Obliques with a medicine ball: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and sit at about a 45-degrees angle. Hold the medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you. While contracting your abs, twist slowly from your torso to your right and touch the medicine ball to the floor beside you. Quickly, but smoothly, contract your abs and twist your torso and touch the medicine ball to the other side.
- Walking lunges: Start in a standing position, and take a step forward with your right leg, pausing when your back knee is just above the floor. Push up and out of this position, and step forward with the back leg, bringing the knee high and returning to the standing position. Lunges are a great way to work the quads, glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings.
- Calf raises: Stand on the edge of a step or bench with the balls of your feet on the edge and your heels hanging off the back. Next, place one foot behind the knee of the other leg. (Hold on to help with balance, if you need to.) Slowly let your support heel drop as far as you can, but below the planar surface of the bench. Push up on the ball of your foot as high as you can, and then slowly return to start position. Keeping the calves strong and dynamic can help prevent stability, mobility and posture issues, but even more importantly, it’s critical in preventing troubles with the all-important Achilles tendon.
- Burpees: Begin in standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squatting position and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick both feet out behind and land in push-up position. Do one push-up, then hop both feet back into squat position. And in one smooth motion, stand, push arms overhead and jump off the ground as high as you can. That’s one burpee. This move is a fantastic full-body exercise that also revs the metabolism.
Thanks, Jenny! We can’t wait to add this routine into our weekly workouts.