Triathlons are one of the most rewarding, yet physically demanding sports. To be able to perform three completely different sports (swim, bike, run) back-to-back-to-back requires a certain level of fitness and tenacity that not everyone is equipped with.
As a triathlete, I know what it takes to train with a purpose—whether it's getting to the finish line, winning your age group or competing with some of the top athletes in the world. It's the one sport that's on so many fitness enthusiasts bucket list to experience. Why? Because it takes commitment and hard work to prepare, which usually is related to training time that most of us don't have.
Effective training is essential to compete in triathlons. The body needs to endure an incredible amount of stress on almost every muscle in the body for long periods of time. One of the best cross-training tools to help triathletes train is a kettlebell.
Kettlebell training is the most effective full-body training program because it has the ability to perform exercises in three planes, or directions of movement, at the same time engaging multiple muscle groups.
Studies show that kettlebell training increases VO2 max, which is essential for triathlon performance. The more oxygen you can get in to the blood stream, the better the performance.
Here are three essential kettlebell moves that every triathlete—novice to elite—should integrate into their training program:
Turkish Half Get-Up
This exercise is a full-body movement that engages the core to improve stability and strength while increasing the heart rate. The kettlebell is used for added resistance and intensity of the move. A strong core is key for any athlete, which is exactly what this exercise targets.
Lie on your back with the kettlebell in your right hand. Hold the kettlebell straight up over your shoulder toward the ceiling. Bring your right knee to a bent position with your foot flat on the ground (the same knee as the raised hand), and put your opposite arm straight out on the floor, palm up. Use your abs to lift yourself to a sitting position. Keep your right arm straight as the kettlebell rises up toward the ceiling. As you lift your upper body, use your left arm for balance.
Once you're in the sitting position, continue to lift your torso up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and contracting your abs at the same time. Reverse the movements back to the starting position.
Focus on maintaining balance throughout the exercise. This is not a move that should be done quickly. Proper form is essential. Make sure to repeat the same amount of reps on the left side.
This move is considered moderate to difficult. For someone doing this exercise for the first time, do the move without a kettlebell. Once you're comfortable and have proper form, then grab your kettlebell.