When I first started working with a coach it came with many changes to the way I had trained in the past. One of those changes was a structured weight training routine. When I first saw it on my schedule I couldn't help but feel discouraged. Why? Because I was weak and the thought of going into the gym and reaching for my 5 and 10 pound weights surrounded by grunting guys lifting 100+ pounds intimidated me. However, my vanity lost this battle and it was off to the gym for me. Surprisingly it wasn't so bad!
If done properly, having a solid weight training program will enhance every aspect of your training. The key is doing exercises that specifically work the muscles you use during swimming, biking and running. Starting during the off-season is critical! This allows you time to build muscle strength so when your season starts you can switch to a strength maintenance routine.
The Key Phases of Strength Training
Phase 1: Anatomical Adaption
- This is best done late fall to early winter.
- Weight is light but reps are high: 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps.
**Start with 20 reps and every two weeks add 5 reps. When you reach 30 reps it's time to go up in weight.
Phase 2: Muscular Strength
- Best when done mid-winter. Great progress can be made during this phase!
- Weight is heavy but reps are low: 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps.
**This is done a few weeks leading up to your season start and may occasionally be done during the season if there are long periods between "A" races.
**Knowing your max weight is important because you will use those numbers to calculate what you lift in the next phase.
Phase 3: Strength Maintenance
-This phase begins with your season and you will most likely stay here through the duration of your season. Some exceptions apply.
- Grab a calculator! You will be lifting 60% of your one rep max.
- 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Key Exercises to Include in Your Routine:
Items to Note:
**Try to use free weights when possible**
***Going twice per week is best, especially for women and all adults over the age of 40***
****Make it fun!****
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