Strength and conditioning exercises are a great addition to your swimming, cycling, and running training. And it’s certainly becoming more popular amongst the pros.
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I do have some very good reasons as to why you might want to start making regular trips to your gym. Well the obvious, you will get stronger. Which translates to being more powerful. And therefore faster. And it’ll also make you more efficient. But you can see your gym as prehab. So you can work on your weaker areas. Preventing yourself from getting injured. And therefore, saving a bit of time in the long run.
But you might be worried that going to the gym will make you too big and muscly to be a triathlete, and it’s purely for cyclists. But it’s not actually. You’ll see professional swimmers and runners in the gym just as much as you will cyclists. So, if you are new to strength and conditioning, we’ve put together a basic plan to help get you started. That you can adapt to suit yourself.
A simple exercise to start with is the back squat. So the bar will be across your shoulders. But, before you get to the bar, you just check you’ve got the right movement for the squat. So, start with your feet a little bit wider than your shoulders. Just slightly. Either facing forwards, or slightly facing outwards. And then from there, you’re going to bend at the hips and the knees. Squatting down as far as you can comfortably go. And then back up again. Trying to keep your back nice and straight. It’ll be really important when you’ve got the bar on. If you’ve got a mirror, just check your form in the mirror. Do a few of these to make sure you’re nice and warmed up.
And then when you are warmed up, it’s time to get to the bar. And if you’re new to it, then start with the lightest bar you can find. Without any weights on. And you’re just gonna do a few simple squats with that. So, make sure it’s the right height. That you can duck under it and take the weight on your shoulders. Also then, you can get rid of the bar quickly if you find it too heavy. And just walk back into these.
So, this is already setup with the right height for me. I’m gonna duck under. And I take the weight just across the top of my shoulders. Find a nice comfortable hand position. So your hands are gonna support the weight for your shoulders, take most of it. And then stand up. Step backwards away from the rack. And find the right position. So once you’re comfortable in that position, you’re just gonna repeat the movement you did earlier. Squatting down. Facing forwards. And driving back up ’til your legs are fully straight and extended. If you’re finding this easy, or you’re happy with it, go to a heavier bar. And then you can start to add on some weights.
This is an upper-body exercise. It’s the lat pulldown. So, as it sounds, it’s gonna work your lat muscles down here. And it’s perfect for swimming. So you wanna find a bar similar to this. And if you’ve got one that’s on cables, make sure you’ve got the weight the same on either side.
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