In a previous article, I noted that the offseason / preparation season is a great time for triathletes to start strength training. Why is strength training important in the offseason?
As a triathlete, your dominant muscle groupss (pecs/lats/quads/glutes/hamstrings) get stronger by the repetitive nature of swimming, biking and running, while your smaller stabilizer muscles (the 26 muscles that make up your core and that help generate power) become weak. The off/preparation season is the prime time to set the foundation for endurance and create muscle balance before you start building base miles in the pool and on the bike. When all those muscles are strong and working, you are going to be more efficient.
Your core muscles in the front extend from the base of your ribs all the way down through your abdominals, pelvic girdle and upper quad. In the back, they go from your upper hamstrings and glutes to your low and mid back. Your core includes the areas around your hips that allow extension, flexion, and rotation oblique. Core stability is what helps support your spine, allowing you to sit and stand tall instead of slouching. The muscles in your middle and upper back and your rear deltoids often become weak as you develop stronger pecs from swimming. This can create a slough instead of a smooth, flat back when running and cycling.
Exercises found in MovementU, Core Performance, TRX and P90X2 all work on stability, balance and strength simultaneously to create balanced musculature, tendon and connective tissue strength. Having a strong core and hip stability helps lengthen your body and create an ideal position for swimming, biking and running.
TRX TV offers a tip, movement and sequence of the week. An example of mobility and stabilty for your ankles, hips and shoulders can be found in the May edition of TRX TV.
Core Peformance and MovementU shoulder and hip mobility exercises can be found here
The first phase of P90X2 involves 4 weeks of mobility exercies utilizing the form roller, stability ball and medicine balls.
After spending a period of time strengthening your core and improving balance, your smaller muscles are stronger to support your advanced exercises and power moves such as squat, lunge, plyometrics, and exercises designed to improve speed and agility. That will be the focus on my next article