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Strength training for Triathletes… why it may be the missing link

Very excited to bring you this blog, guest penned by Jimmy Wagner, head coach and all round great guy from The Fitness Experts Harwell gym.

I have been training under guidance from Jimmy and the team up there for nearly a year now and am delighted to have him contribute to our blog!

Have a read and see if you might be missing a trick by neglecting your S&C

For years now strength and conditioning work has been utilised by many power sports like rugby, tennis and sprinting to help improve performance. Normally sports requiring high output for short periods of time, making athletes faster, more powerful, more dynamic and stronger in contact, amongst other attributes.

But S&C has been overlooked by the endurance athletes, at the general public level and the pro level. Often told to get more miles in, with the thought of thats the best way to get in shape and to improve their performance. Unfortunately getting more miles in alone does not make a muscle strong, it targets your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

There are many benefits for strength training if you are an endurance athlete. Strength training has the potential to reduce your injury risk by correcting muscle imbalances and improving muscle activation, whilst increasing the efficiency of your biomechanics resulting in improved output and performance.

Decreased injury risk:

As you run, the force of about 3 times your body weight is placed through each leg. Having the muscular strength and stability to absorb that force each step will minimise the load through your joints and reduce your risk of pain or injury.

Improve muscle activation:

Unfortunately, just because you have the muscles doesn’t mean you’re always using them. Strength training improves muscle activation and recruitment. Strengthening muscles in isolation, progressing to multi-joint and sports specific exercises can retrain muscle recruitment patterns and make sure all the right muscles are contributing to your efficiency.

Improve biomechanics (movement):

By strengthening the muscles that support your body in ideal alignment improve your biomechanics and result in more efficient use of energy. Even trained distance runners have shown improvements of up to 8% in running economy following a period of resistance training.

Strength training should not be overlooked if you are an endurance athlete, competitive or casual. There are huge benefits to strength training. Incorporating weights into your regular exercise routine has been proven to increase your speed and VO2 max. The reason? Your muscles don't need to expend as much energy to hit a certain pace.

These are just some of the benefits of incorporating resistance training, in any capacity, into your routine. A well structured training plan can easily be worked into your season, allowing you to periodise your training around competitions, off season training and weakness work to manage training fatigue and drive results.

Look out for an upcoming offer in our newsletter where you can take advantage of all there is to offer up at The Fitness Experts

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