Many triathletes at all levels have an interest in developing strength, but they're not sure which exercises to do.
Bodyweight exercises are a great way to build muscle and improve body composition, especially for people that don't want to spend hours in the gym every week. There are a few bodyweight exercises triathletes can do at home or at their local park to boost their strength.
Bodyweight Exercises for Triathletes
Here's a look at five such workouts:
The push-up is a popular bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere. It works the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core.
To do a push-up:
- Get into the plank position with your hands on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure your core is engaged as well as your glutes so that you don’t arch your back or let it sag toward the ground while doing this exercise.
- Lower yourself down till your chest almost touches the floor, and press back up to the starting position.
- If you need to modify this move try placing a pillow underneath each knee for extra cushioning or bend at an angle with one foot behind you for added difficulty.
The pull-up is a foundational exercise every triathlete should master. It's also one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular health, as it works the arms and back muscles extensively.
The pull-up can be performed with no equipment at all. If you have access to a sturdy bar or beam, you don't need any weights or machines to do this exercise.
There are two different types of pull-ups: neutral grip and wide grip. A neutral grip means your palms are facing each other; to perform this variation, try keeping your elbows close together while gripping the bar so that the elbows are directly below it.
Wide-grip pull-ups involve spreading your hands as far apart as possible while still supporting yourself on the bar (or other vertical structure). Both variations work in different areas of the upper body, so try doing both, if possible.
The plank is the most basic bodyweight exercise, making it an excellent place to start your training.
To do a plank:
- Get into a push-up position, and keep your back straight while holding yourself in that position for as long as possible without compromising form.
- To make it harder: Add extra weight by holding dumbbells or wearing a weighted vest. If you're not ready for that, try placing objects on top of your back like books or water bottle. That will increase resistance, and strengthen your core muscles even more.
- To make it easier: Place your knees on the ground (instead of keeping them off) to make the exercise less difficult. However, keep them off the ground, if possible, to maintain proper form and avoid injury.
Squats are an excellent way to build strength in the legs, improve coordination, and increase flexibility in the hips. They also help develop power and endurance.
To do a squat:
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out at 45 degrees.
- Keeping your weight on the balls of your feet, bend at the knees till they're almost parallel with the floor. Straighten back up again.
- You can hold onto something for balance, if necessary, but make sure it's not too heavy or far away from where you are standing so that you don't shift allyour weight into that leg.
Lunges are an excellent exercise to improve overall strength and endurance. Here’s how to do them:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
- Lunge forward with your right leg as far as you can without losing your balance or leaning too far forward (make sure the knee does not go over the ankle). You should feel the tension in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat with left leg to complete one rep. Here’s the tricky part—you need to repeat this movement for 30-60 seconds straight without taking any breaks.
Lunges get easier as time goes on if you work hard enough, so don’t be afraid to crank up the intensity when doing them.
The aforementioned exercises can help you develop the strength and core stability you need to be a triathlete.
Remember that your body is an asset, and you should treat it as such by keeping it in good condition with regular exercise.
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