Credit: Darren England/Getty Images
Why has pro triathlete Barb Lindquist been a consistent podium finisher over the years? How does she race year round in as many as 20 events a year and still come out on top?
It is a given that smart training, good nutrition, and a lot of hard work are the foundation to her success. So let's take a look at a key element to the formula that keeps Barb at the top of her game.
One essential element to her success has been strength training. This ingredient has helped to keep her injury-free a key to consistency. In the past seven years Barb has never been sidelined due to strains, tears, overuse, and other chronic symptoms that many athletes experience.
Barb races year round, so her strength training is not structured in the traditional cyclical pattern of weight training. We have a year-round schedule. After years of conditioning, muscle memory builds, so the pattern in which she trains puts her into a maintenance level with her program.
Year to year there are slight variations to mentally freshen the workouts; however, the program has continued in a consistent vein over the years, inserting variations to the existing routine occasionally.
Key races will slightly alter the timing of the training in order to prepare for a specific event, similar to a taper concept. For the most part, though, there are no major changes in the routine throughout the year. Pretty boring, eh?
To understand Barb's strength training program, we have to plug the use of the Total Gym. The Total Gym works on a cable system using your body weight on a sled at various resistance levels.
The concept of the machine allows you to strengthen more than one body part at a time safely. Safety is paramount. There are too many ways to end up injured when going to the gym if you are not extremely knowledgeable about machines and free weights. You can't train effectively or efficiently if you're injured.
OK, enough of the sales pitch, let's look at the nuts and bolts.
We use a high-repetition routine designed to alternate upper- and lower-body workouts, giving valuable rest and recovery. With any strength program, it is necessary to give time to rebuild the muscle.
It must be mentioned that proper nutrition is very important both prior to and post-exercise to promote recovery. I can't emphasis this enough.
Barb uses a number of products from Platinum Performance, the pioneers in using flaxseed products. The Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids are now being recognized as having vital elements to aid the body repair connective tissues and assist the immune system.
This nutritional element, in combination with stretching and yoga, helps the muscles to maintain suppleness. This combination is just as important as the strength program itself. Taking time each day for a strength workout is an important part of the injury prevention.
Now on to Pumping up!
Upper-body workouts are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Lower body and core sessions are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays with Sunday off. In race week, the program is reduced to one light day early in the week.
With Barb's swimming background, she has a built-in reserve of muscle memory and strength. We rely on that longtime base when charting a plan for her workouts. She spends less time on the arms and shoulder area than she does on the core and lower-body workouts.
So with that in mind, the program is fairly simple.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Upper-body Total Gym sessions 3 x 20 reps with one minute's rest between each set.
Areas emphasized: Fly pulls, triceps, bicep curls, bench press and pectorals routines. Using the Total Gym for a full range of motion exercise we are able to combine several movements in a smooth flowing pattern, working muscles in an opposing fashion.