Weight training for triathlon

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 26, 2011 7:53 AM GMT
    I'm starting to get into my triathlon training now and doing 3 swims, 3 runs and 2 bikes a week with the local club.

    The thing is - I want to carry on doing my weights workouts too 'cos my ideal body would be aerobically fit but kind of hunky at the same time, if you know what I mean ;-) I've been doing 3-4 sessions in the gym along with all the cardio stuff. My body is handling it OK at the moment.

    Right now I weigh 90Kgs and reckon I need to drop another 5 before the summer to get down to my race weight, but I want to also put on muscle and tone up too. I don't want to get too skinny.

    Is this even possible? I guess I need to eat really well for this to happen. I'm already a big eater but I don't do any supplements at the moment. Should I start taking protein shakes? Or will they stop me shedding the extra 5Kgs?

    Or should I just not stress about gaining muscle until the end of the summer?

    Any thought gratefully received :-) I'm off for a run.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 26, 2011 3:13 PM GMT
    Hi Dave,

    Like you, I wanted to get 'hunky' whilst doing triathlon. The reality is it is very difficult, to impossible, unless you are genetically geared towards being bulky.

    I used to train 10-12hours a week on top of a normal 9-5:30 job. I was often training twice a day.

    The reality is, working a muscle for triathlon is very different to working it for muscle growth. Tri focuses on making your slow twitch fibres more efficient, weights works on your fast twitch fibres.

    Gym weights for me as a triathlete meant light conditioning. anything more and I usually became ill, because of the enormous stress placed on the body to recover.

    all i can say is, tread with caution and accept that professional triathletes look the way they do for a reason!
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    Feb 26, 2011 5:08 PM GMT
    Hey - Thanks for the warning. Looking at your profile it seems you were into it alot deeper than me. Very impressive .... I guess I'm mainly doing the triathlons to get in shape for the summer - just to get round and not embarrass myself too much. I'm really enjoying the training though - especially the swimming. Running isn't so much fun when you weight 90Kgs ...

    I guess i'm going to have to listen to what my body is telling me and back off if necessary. So far it's going OK.

    So you're aiming for weight gain now are you? How's that working out?

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    Mar 06, 2011 4:53 PM GMT
    as a triathlete I was on average 74kgs race weight, at my lightest this went down to 68kgs but i was borderline eating disorder by that time!

    I'm now just under 90kgs :-)
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Apr 01, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
    weights are a waste of time for triathetes. if you have a good coach like the one's at www.teamtbb.com they know how to incorporate strength work into each sport.

    swim=paddles, buoy and band (you want massive shoulders, lats,triceps, abs, back muscles? do a mix of 70% your swimming with them, your upper body will be screaming)

    bike=pushing big gears and hill reps

    run=hill reps

    very simple really and then you'll more time to relax by taking out those 3hrs a week of gym time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2011 11:03 PM GMT
    Most tri guys work out like crazy during the off-season to put on pounds and muscle... and then lose a lot of it during race season. I think it would be really difficult to gain muscle while doing all that cardio.

    I barely see my hubby when he's training for a half-iron... I'd have to kill him if he added a gym routine too! icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 01, 2011 11:09 PM GMT
    I would contact RJ member...Ironman4u....hie is a triathlete...and quite a good one....just tell him westdave sent you
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 753

    Apr 01, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    Thanks WestDave... for the endorsement.

    I, too, am like you OP. I work hard all year in the gym so I'm not willing to sacrifice my muscle (at least not all of it during race season which for me is about six months of the year).

    I workout pretty intensely with the tri training as I focus on Iron and Half-Iron distances. But I do weight/strength training 4-5 times a week (even in race season). Two of those days are focused on core and legs which I know helps me with my long-distance cardio work. And yes, I will lose a bit of muscle mass in prime race season, but I look to keep it to a minimum.

    My tri coach tells me that big muscles won't make me faster, but I'm not competing in tri's to win (although I will place in my age category in some smaller races) so I'll give up a little speed to keep a bit more muscles on my bones. Just a personal preference which goes against what some of the purists will tell you.

    I do my best to get my protein and other nutrients from food, but I will occasionally do a protein shake after a heavy lifting workout. If you have specific questions, happy to answer.
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    Apr 01, 2011 11:37 PM GMT
    Another thing you might want to consider is lifting weights in the off season and taking a break from lifting when triathlon season really gets under way, and then maybe just hit the gym once or twice a week for some general corework or stretching.

    I think that it's hard to have it both ways. Some guys, like Ironman4U, can pull it off, but you'll have to figure out which approach suits you the best. Everybody's training needs and training ability varies, as do their other life priorities.
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    May 12, 2011 8:45 PM GMT
    Although cramming strength workouts into a packed training schedule might be hard, any triathlete can benefit from periodization (see pic and think of each "peak" as a race and the positive slope area as training [S, B, R, Lift] towards a race, negative slope as active recovery). So, yes, do weight training, it is not a waste of time (like someone said earlier).
    Periodization consists on breaking up the year into different periods, adjusting the workout with each period or gear towards a specific race. It helps build base strength and prevents muscle plateaus -which most of us experience due to the amount of cardiovascular activity.
    As a competitive triathlete, I can tell you that weight training helps you increase stamina, higher resistance to injury (very important to gear your weight training towards cross-training/functional trainig [not to confuse with Cross-Fit], this technique helps you engage your nervous system, improve flexibility and stability), better form, decrease fatigue, improve efficiency, and the list goes on and on and on.
    Also, for faster recovery, you should consult with your physician about Complex B and Thymine shots (works faster [but hurst like hell -seriously] vs the capsules [they work, too, but slowly]), twice to three times per week (on a heavy training week). The benefits of this ''regiment'' are amazing (there is a ton of research behind the benefits of these B-type vitamins).

    Happy swim, bike, run and lift icon_smile.gif