Read an Excerpt
Triathlons are one of the most popular and accessible of sports. Regardless of age, sex, or athletic prowess, you can begin a training program that will lead you to the end of a successful race. Training for and competing in a triathlon gives you the satisfaction of completing a race and lets you walk away from it with a greater understanding of how your body functions and adapts to stress.
The vast majority of triathletes who compete recreationally are age groupers, or individuals with day jobs and families. Their most common complaint is that they do not have enough time to add strength training to their training program. After all, they are preparing for three different sports, and they feel their workout would be best spent swimming, biking, or running.
It’s time to re-evaluate that train of thought. Tri Power’s program is a valuable investment in your most important asset: your health. It will teach you discipline, self-respect, and commitment to your goals, all qualities that will take you far in any path of your life.
WHERE DID TRI POWER BEGIN (OR: WHY STRENGTH TRAINING)
We began to work together training adults for their first triathlons in May 2006. We weren’t trying to make our clients into the next Olympic champions. Instead, we taught the health benefits of being a triathlete, how to train smart, and the best way to stay injury-free. We designed a road map to help each client find their inner voice that says, “I can, I will.” Bobby McGee, a renowned coach and sports psychologist, once said, “Show them that training is only the process of learning to unlock that greatness that is within us all.” We are delighted to share with you now the program we designed for our clients.
Our goal was for our clients to participate in the 1st Annual JCC Triathlon at the end of three months of training. With this in mind, we created a program that encompassed a weekly team training session supported by a motivated coach. We used extensive postural, flexibility, and strength assessments to determine current abilities.
Fifteen New York professionals were not going to take our advice as coaches at face value. They asked questions–lots of them. They prodded and challenged us every step of the way. No one in the class had ever done a triathlon before so the thought of doing a 1/2 mile swim, one-hour bike ride, and 3-mile run was daunting. As the training evolved, they saw results–and then what once seemed impossible seemed doable.
On August 7th at 7:10 A.M. sharp, 15 individuals jumped into the water for a 1/2 mile swim, and by 9 A.M., not only did we have doctors, teachers, psychologists, and stockbrokers in our midst, we had 15 triathletes.
WHO ARE TRIATHLETES?
Most triathletes are just like you–people with jobs and families who want to make health and fitness an integral part of their life. They want to be around other likeminded individuals in a supportive atmosphere. It really doesn’t matter if you participate in a mini-distance sprint-triathlon or a full-blown Ironman, because in both, it’s the first step that counts.
Triathletes know the challenge in front of them and accept it. They commit to a solid training schedule and see it through, demonstrating their dedication and persistence. Take your pick: swim, bike, or run. Chances are at least one of these events will pose a challenge to you and require additional work. Even the greatest obstacles can be conquered. Just ask one of our triathletes, Nancy Newhouse.
Nancy, age 57, had an uphill battle to her first triathlon. Three years before she attempted our program, she had severe back surgery that left her with no abdominal strength, extra weight, and a long and arduous rehabilitation. Nancy quickly became the inspiration of the group as she gained strength and mileage step-by-step. Did she have any doubts? You bet. A week before the triathlon she had problems sleeping. But she trusted in her training and completed her race. Now, she calls herself a triathlete.
The success of these 15 professionals helped prove that anyone can become a triathlete. Know that when you choose to complete a triathlon, you are committing to a healthier way of life. Remember to train smart, be consistent, listen to your body, and let Tri Power be your guide.
In Health and Fitness,
Paul & Will
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK: A GUIDE TO MAXIMIZING
Tri Power will provide you with the knowledge, guidance, and structure you need–while still allowing you to have a life! This is NOT a how to swim, bike, and run book. Training for a triathlon, especially your first, can be an overwhelming and involved process. This is a to-the-point and time-conscious program designed to keep you on the road–or in the water, if you’re swimming laps.
Tri Power follows a simple format that incorporates five elements: Beyond Stretching, Warm-Ups, Strength Development, Corrective Exercises, and Core Development.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I stretch all the time! Why am I not getting any more flexible?”There is a way to increase your flexibility through improved knowledge of how your body functions. We will be introducing you to a foam roller (a long cylindrical object made of dense foam). This, and knowledge of your myofasical system (a network of tissue that wraps around your muscles, organs, bones, and the rest), will help you understand the relationship between parts of your body.
A lot of us grew up knowing we should stretch before participating in any activity. The end result of this is that we spend a lot of time preparing ourselves with stretches that have nothing to do with the movement patterns and intensity of exercise that is about to happen. In Warm-Ups, we will talk about balance between your muscle groups, the benefits of raising your body temperature to a vigorous sweat, and how to contract your muscles over multiple joints at once. We also call this movement preparation.
I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “I know what strength development is; I’ve been doing it all my life!”While we believe that to be true, Tri Power will be taking you through multiple patterns of movement with increased resistance. Triathlons generally require a forward motion, or an activity with very little lateral motion. Did you know that moving continuously in one pattern of movement creates imbalances in your body that can result in weak performance or injuries? In a triathlon, we react dynamically: running out of the water, sprinting out of the transition area, or slipping on a rock and catching our balance. Whatever the scenario, Tri Power will stimulate your body on this journey of movement through four phases of training: Foundations, Building, Power, and Maintenance.
We all have different muscle weaknesses and restrictors. For example, weakness can appear in the form of recurrent lower back pain, and restrictors could be tight hamstrings pulling on your hips. In Tri Power, you will be shown strengthening and flexibility exercises that can be used based upon your individual needs in your strength program.
Your core is not limited to your abdomen, but includes the entire area between your knees and shoulders, otherwise known as the connection between your lower and upper body. Your core strength is not only your abs, but also your groin, spine, and ribcage strength. Tri Power’s goal is to build muscle from the inside (around your organs and spine) outward toward your abs. As you read further, you’ll realize there is a strong connection between foam rolling exercises and the core.
Each of these five elements is included in the four strength phases. It’s that simple: five components, four phases. These four phases of training will peak your conditioning for a single triathlon or for the full triathlon season. The phases (Foundation, Building, Power, and Maintenance) build your conditioning to give you the greatest chance for success with the least possible risk for injury. This progressive conditioning is known as periodization, or a way to rotate the phases of your training throughout your yearly training cycle. Like when you build a house, you begin with the foundation, then install the frame, insulations, and floors. It’s only at the end that you paint and add the bells and whistles. If you skip a phase, your house may not stand the first time there is a storm.
A triathlete must condition for three sports, which is in itself time-consuming. However, our program will cut it down to basics and will take approximately three 30-minute workouts per week–all from home with minimal equipment.
Spending hours in a gym each week can feel redundant and ultimately ineffective. You probably think you’re wasting a lot of time–and you are. A well-designed strength and flexibility program should not take more than 30 minutes of real effort a few times a week. If you consider the long-term benefits, this small investment of time is well worth it.
THE FOUR PHASES OF TRI POWER
Phase I: Foundation and Adaptation
Before you begin working on strength and power, you need to make sure your foundation is secure. Think of your body like a tree. You have the stump, trunk, roots, and branches. We need to grow your foundation, and evolve the surrounding structures. In the Foundation phase, we introduce our strength program for the first time. Warm-Up, Strength, Core, and Beyond Stretching exercises are included.
Phase II: Building
During this phase, you will begin exercising through different patterns of movement, grow stability in your spine and hips, and increase the weight for all of these exercises. Holding the muscles under tension for longer periods of time will build strength and prepare you for the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) in the next phase. As your muscles become stronger, they recover quicker from stress.
Phase III: Power
Power is the ability to move as quickly as possible within a given time period over a standard distance. This will be accomplished by strengthening the SSC, which is responsible for shortening and length mechanic in the muscle. In this phase, you’ll discover why deceleration and recovery are so important for triathletes. This is also a factor in injury prevention and performance. After all, how much more fatigued does your body get running on sand than it does on concrete?
Phase IV: Maintenance
You’ve made it! Great job arriving to the Maintenance phase. At this point you will be entering your tri season and starting to see the benefits of your Tri Power program in action. During this phase, recovery and consistency are our priorities. The volume of exercises decrease, but you are swimming, biking, and running in full swing.
As you page through Tri Power, soak up all the knowledge and information at your own pace. Each circuit is progressive, challenging, and specific to your needs as a threesport athlete. Yes, you are an athlete!
Prior to using the Tri Power program it will be important to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the equipment contained in the following pages. Tri Power has gone through great efforts to not only explain exercises, but to show them via pictures in a manner conducive to even the most inexperienced fitness participant. With this in mind, explanations and pictures do not fully capture how to use a piece of equipment safely, so this is our goal in the paragraphs below. Please read our descriptions and suggestions for the physio-ball and elastic band several times.
Because of the physio-ball’s unstable nature, training on it strengthens your stabilizing muscles, the muscles that are found at major joints and around your spine, hips, and shoulders. It also conditions your body globally, as opposed to isolating muscle groups. This unique form of training will enhance your strength, endurance, and balance by utilizing your neuromuscular system and how your nerves and muscles communicate.
We recommend you get acquainted with the ball first by performing exercises such as rhythmically bouncing up and down in a sitting position, which is a low-intensity movement. We also recommend using a quality physio-ball. It should be burstresistant up to 500 lbs. Be sure the ball is inflated so that it is taunt. Wipe the ball clean after each workout.
Elastic resistance has been used in physical rehab for decades. There are many exercises that you can do with bands that cannot be reproduced with any other method. The band is able to reproduce the body’s movements within their full range of natural motion–as opposed to a machine, which only allows movement in a fixed plane. Exercising with the band is time-efficient and portable. It requires more coordination and stabilization than your standard machine-based exercise. Free weights rely on gravity for resistance while an elastic band uses its resistive design.
Be sure to anchor the band securely before executing an exercise. Anchoring can be done by wrapping the band around a pole, through a door frame if on the road, or around the leg of your bed, which essentially creates a stable point that is fixed. Also be aware that although the bands are extremely durable, occasionally they will break. Examine the band right before each use. The manufacturer recommends wearing safety glasses.
The most important tool you have is your body. Spend your time in this program with the understanding that each of us is unique, and thus your journey will be unlike anyone else’s. What is the same is your commitment to evolve, change, and improve. So, when you’re ready, jump on in–the water is great. Come and join the family of individuals that call themselves triathletes.