In The Triathlete’s Training Bible (4th edition) an entire chapter is devoted to building muscular force. This is part of what produces power when swimming, biking, and running. The other part is the velocity of your movement – cadence (steps per minute and strokes per minute). What this means is that power is the result of force and velocity (p = f * v). The more powerful you are the faster you go. What follows is a summary of force development that is discussed in much greater detail in my book. Here you will find a list of the recommended force-building exercises and then 3 tables that fill in the details of how to plan your season.
Muscular Force Exercises
The following is an overview of exercises to include in your gym workouts in the Prep, Base, Build, and Peak seasons of training. There are a total of 4 or 5 exercises to be done in each session. Explanations and illustrations of each may be found in The Triathlete’s Training Bible, 4th edition. The 3 tables following this list of exercises fill in the details.
Do one of these 6 exercises (your choice):
Double-Leg Squat (freeweights)
Single-Leg Squat (freeweights)
Dead Lift (freeweights)
Leg Press (machine)
Also do this exercise in each phase:
Leg Curl (machine; maintains muscle balance)
May include an optional exercise to build greater power (for advanced weightlifting athletes only):
And include a swim-specific exercise in each phase:
Catch and Pull (using elastic band; see book for details)
To build/maintain core strength in each phase do some combination of these in each session:
Front Plank with Rows
Table 1. The weightlifting phases and their purposes.
|Weightlifting Phase||Seasonal Timing||Purpose|
|Anatomical Adaptation (AA)||Prep and/or early Base 1||Become accustomed to the various exercises.|
|Max Transition (MT)||Prep and/or Base 1||Gradually adapt to heavier loads.|
|Max Strength (MS)||Base 1 (and possibly going into Base 2)||Build strength.|
|Strength Maintenance (SM)||Base 2, Base 3, Build 1, Build 2, Peak||Maintain the strength gains made in MS.|
Table 2. How to Determine the Load for Each Exercise
Estimate your 1-repetition max (1RM) by finding how many Reps you can do for a given exercise. (Exercise loads in each phase are determined by percentages of your 1RM.)
Step 1: Do a weightlifting exercise from Muscular Force Exercises (above) with a challenging self-chosen load with which you can only do 4-10 reps.
Step 2: Divide your load for that exercise set by the corresponding Factor based on the number of Reps you did to estimate your 1RM for that exercise.
Table 3. Details of the weightlifting phases.
|Season||Total Sessions||Sessions per Week||Load (% 1RM)||Sets per Session||Reps per Set||Recovery (in Minutes)|
|Anatomical Adaptation (AA)||Prep,
|Max Transition (MT)||Prep,
|Max Strength (MS)||Base 1||8-12||2-3||85-95||3-4||3-6||3-4|
|Strength Maintenance (MT)||Base 2