Here are my top 5 gym exercises I do every week to make sure I stay injury free and have a well maintained working body ready for hard session.
Barbell Hip Thrust
Great exercise for your gluts and Hamstrings. Which are really important in triathlon for running and also running off the bike when tired. When running your Gluts work to stabiles your hips and legs when under impact. Making sure your Gluts are strong and conditioned means your gluts will activate when running helping you run faster and more economical so you are using less energy.
Instructions: Begin seated on the ground with a bench directly behind you. Have a loaded barbell over your legs. Roll the bar so that it is directly above your hips, and lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Begin the movement by driving through your feet (heels to activate glutes), extending your hips vertically through the bar. Your weight should be supported by your shoulder blades and your feet. Extend as far as possible, and then reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
Do 3 sets of 8-13 reps. Increase weight slowly.
Lat pull downs:
The lat pulldown is a basic upper body strength exercise that targets the upper back. The exercise also improves stability in the lower back and core. This exercises helps with your swimming making sure you engage your lats when swimming. Although other arm and back muscles are used in frountcrawl, the latissimus dorsi is the main muscle working for your momentum through the water. This exercise can help you become faster and stronger in the water.
Instructions: Sit at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with an overhand wide grip that’s just beyond shoulder width. Pull Shoulders down , bar to chest then back up slowly.
Do 3 sets 8-13 reps. Increase reps or weight slowly.
Hamstrings are important for triathletes when running and cycling. For cycling when Knee flexion occurs a lot when riding every time your feet lift up from the bottom of a revolution, and a degree of hip extension is also involved, especially when you’re riding out of the saddle and climbing hills. When running it will make you more efficient at bring your heel towards your bum during the recovery cycle.
Instructions: Begin with a light weight and stand facing the machine. Position one leg for the lift by hooking it under the weight pad. Make sure the pads are in a comfortable position around your ankle in order to involve the heel in the movement. Don’t position the pads too high on the calf. Grab hold of the support handles. Flex your knee and lift the pad upwards as far as you can towards your bum (Gluts) as you exhale. Lower the leg to the starting position and repeat.
3 sets: 10-12 reps start with a easy weight increase slowly.
Calf raises should be part of every Triathletes gym program. You benefit from calf as it is strengthening your lower leg muscles to improve your running speed and reduce your risk for injuries.
Instructions: Place the ball of the foot on a sturdy and stable board of the ground while your heels extend off. This will be your starting position. With the toes pointing either straight to hit all parts equally raise the heels off the floor as you exhale by contracting the calves. Hold the top contraction for a second. As you inhale, go back to the starting position by slowly lowering the heels.
3 sets of 15 to 30reps depending on weight, higher the weight lower reps.
Core may arguably be the most important muscle group to strengthen in triathlon. Swimming requires a stable trunk and streamlined position for the most efficient technique. Triathlete with a weak core are susceptible to a poor pelvic position on the saddle of your bike, which results in side-to-side movement. This is bad form and is usually due, in part, to poor core strength. When Running your foot hits the ground, a shockwave of force is sent up through your trunk and torso. For the triathlete, especially at this stage in the race, having a conditioned core will hold your torso and trunk upright and aligned for the best form. When our core is weak or tired, we tend to wobble in our hips and upper body and this deflects energy that should be geared back towards our legs.
Instructions: Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck. Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. All done slowly.
3 sets: 20-30 reps.
Hope this helps,