So you're coming
out of hibernation and ready to get serious about your multisport
endeavors. You'll be swimming, biking, and running your way to
greater and greater summer fitness, but don't forget about a bit of
strength training to stay strong and uninjured.
core training can be done within your primary sport in the form of drills
and plyometric exercises in that they isolate specific muscle groups
for extra work. But the specific sport itself usually cannot target
every ancillary (secondary) muscle group as well as alternative
resistance training can. Re: running hill repeats puts more
stress on your glutes (butt / rear hip) and quadratus lomborum (lower
back), but is not the best way to make those muscles stronger.
It is, however, the most specific way to adapt to running hilly
In other words,
combining specificity training and supplemental strength training is
the two-pronged approach to creating stronger, more resilient
athletes (leaving out nutrition/recovery, etc). Resiliency is a
key component of not becoming injured. Injury, as you might imagine,
stinks for athletic progression.
The rage about
core strength has been going on for a while so most of you should be
familiar with the idea. Fundamentally, core strength is having
a strong torso, from your shoulders through your pelvis. There
are a lot of muscles in there. Certain exercises like calf raises
wouldn't be considered 'core' work but would be considered functional
or specific strength work. For purposes here I'm just calling
everything strength training without getting into semantics.
It is very easy
for strength training to fall off the radar as we get busy with our
lives and consumed by the demands of higher effort run/bike/swim
workouts. But, do yourself a favor and keep these on your
plate. They don't have to be 1 hour workouts. You can
stay pretty well-together with a couple 15-30 minute routines done 2x
a week (more if time permits is great). I'm not preaching 7
minute abs - but over the long haul, consistency week in and week out
will add up.
Yoga and Pilates
classes taught my competent instructors are valid forms of strength
training. A lot of the movements in here require flexibility
& strength, both of which will enhance most athletes'
performances in multisport endeavors. You can find some really
good DVDs like Sage Rountree's customizable DVD and Rodney Yee's
catalog of DVDs.
We have a number
of strength routines for our athletes, some much more specific than
others. Here is an example of one of our quick, simple
routines. You can adjust the time/reps as needed for your level
of experience and current fitness. Rest 30 seconds or more as
needed between exercises so you're not panting/shaking.
Warm up a few
minute easy aerobic exercise
1 minute front
plank (optional arm-leg raises)
30 second side
plank left (optional twists)
30 second side
plank right (optional twists)
(optional medicine ball or kettle bell, optional on a bosu
10-20 side leg
(optional with feet on swedish ball, roll knees to chest between each
would take about 10 minutes if completed one time and hits most of
your major core muscle groups. Each of these exercise has video
samples/long articles about how great they are all over the
internet. You could complete the routine more than once for
additional training stress, or add a few other exercises.
If you have the
time to train and recover well, doing higher effort & methodically
approached strength training at the appropriate times in your
training cycle should have a positive effect. But, if you're
fighting for time on a daily basis, having a few simple go-to
exercises can make a world of difference.