Although frequently overlooked, Strength & Conditioning (S&C) can have profound effects on endurance performance and should be a part of every triathletes training plan. S&C is not just limited to professionals, with injury prevention and enhanced performance benefits for beginners and experienced age groupers alike.
S&C for triathlon should aim to identify and improve deficiencies in range of motion, muscle capacity, and strength. Improving these qualities will make athletes more robust and resistant to injury, allowing them to train to a higher quality and subsequently improve performance. As general qualities are improved, specific adaptations can then be targeted to improve elements of the swim, bike or run. Issues are commonly seen at the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder, often due to reduced range of motion and/or strength through this range. Interventions are varied and typically focus mobility, stability, capacity and strength around these joints. Specific improvements in strength, achieved through appropriate and progressive loading, can transfer to areas of performance such as power on the bike, running economy or a stronger catch when swimming.
Elements of S&C can be integrated into the warm up and cool down of existing training sessions, or scheduled as separate sessions to be performed in the gym or at home. Having a basic understanding of scientific concepts will allow you to design simple S&C sessions that can be progressed over time to deliver long term results. This understanding is vital, as simply adding additional unplanned work will not deliver optimal results.
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