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How To Get Started With Strength Training For Triathletes

How To Get Started With Strength Training For Triathletes



Strength training in triathlon is one of those topics that has grown in popularity over the last couple of seasons as professionals and age groupers alike began to really understand the positive impact strength training had on overall performance. When performed correctly and with a purpose, strength training can not only make you stronger within the three disciplines of triathlon, but it can also help with injury prevention and flexibility.




Just like all triathlon training, strength training should be periodized throughout the year. You should start with a general strengthening and preparation phase, which will allow you to build base strength in the off-season. During the off-season, with no races on the calendar, you can focus more on building power and strength that will increase your overall base as you head into the upcoming season. This is an opportunity for an athlete to implement a progressive overload plan to increase overall strength. Strength training in the off-season is also a great change of pace from the general swim/bike/run training that takes over during the race season, and will allow you to build strength without worry about fatigue affecting other workouts.


During the pre-racing and racing stages, your strength training will be less about building base strength and more about honing in on specific and focused power and speed as it relates to the specific sports. Athletes will now focus on becoming more powerful in movements that directly relate to the three sports of triathlon, which will work in conjunction with your general triathlon training.


Once the season is over, take some time off to let your body rest and recover. Following some time off and your body has fully recovered, then you can get back in the weight room and start building that off-season base!




Strength training for triathletes improves muscular endurance, increases your power input, and prevents injury. Throughout the long triathlon season, we put our bodies through rigorous training, and the addition of strength training will help ensure that we can continue to be strong as the sessions get longer and more intense. An athlete with a well balanced strength training plan has the ability to efficiently transfer power from their body into their swim, bike, and run.


Injury prevention is something that we as coaches at Playtri put at the top of our goals for our athletes. As your workouts get more challenging, your body requires the proper support from your muscles to maintain good form throughout the duration of your race. Building core strength is at the center of our focus for strength training as Playtri coaches.




Strength training does not have to mean lifting heavy weights at a commercial gym. Simple body weight activities and resistance bands will go a long way in the improvement of an athlete looking to get into strength training. The key is to find specific workouts and movements that will directly correlate to the movements that go into each of the sports in a triathlon. The best way to get started with strength training is to get in touch with someone who has experience training endurance athletes in the strength training space (contact me at


Body weight exercises are great to build muscular endurance and improve flexibility. The next step would be resistance bands and maybe some lightweight dumbbells. Just the addition of some weights will increase the strength base and you will see that carries over into your training. Finally, once you have consulted with a coach or an expert in the strength training space, you can look to add heavier weights to really take your training to the next level.




Strength training does not have to be a chore, and it does not have to take up endless amounts of time. Utilizing 2-3 days of strength training for about 30 minutes at a time can exponentially increase your fitness and be a game changer for you in the sport of triathlon. Go to to learn more about our coaching programs and how a Playtri coach can help get you started strength training; we can get you to your next finish line feeling stronger than ever!



Coach Michael Rourke is a Level 2 Playtri Coach and an American Swim Coaches Association Level 4 swim coach. He coaches junior and adult triathletes of all levels, as well as high school elite swimmers. He is also a 70.3 World’s Qualifier.

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