The last thing triathletes need is another discipline added to their current slate of training responsibilities. Learning to incorporate the swim, bike, and run workouts into a manageable schedule is overwhelming enough. And depending on the distance of the race, and the athlete's level of experience, training can sometimes be so time consuming that it qualifies as a part time job—minus the paycheck of course.
It's no wonder many multisport athletes cling to lack a time as justification for strength deficiencies.
Instead of neglecting the obvious need to train strength, however, consider an alternative approach: kettlebell training. Kettlebells are the ideal strength training tool for triathletes.
To start, the workouts are time efficient: One session can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.
Other benefits of kettlebell training include improvements in total body strength, cardiovascular capacity, and flexibility.
Unlike typical strength training circuits and stationary exercise machines, the asymmetrical construction of the kettlebell requires core engagement throughout every repetition. Training the body as a unit, instead of isolated muscle groups will enhance an athlete's range of motion through forward, backward and lateral pathways.
Exercises like the kettlebell swing develop explosive hip drive and improve lower body strength, allowing a triathlete to train harder and longer. For example, a triathlete who trains with kettlebells can experience improvements in running posture, power output on the bike, and increased propulsion through the water during the swim.
In addition to improvements in athletic performance, training with kettlebells will help decrease an athlete's likelihood of injury. The training volume associated with preparing for a triathlon can sometimes result in overuse injuries, muscular imbalances and joint fatigue. Kettlebell workouts help conteract those tendencies with improved balance, and unilateral strength and muscular recruitment patterns. Moreover, it is possible to obtain these benefits with minimal pounding on fatigued connective tissue or ailing tendons.