Fitting in strength training can be tricky, and your schedule has to be flexible, especially if there is nothing left in the tank. The goal is to avoid over-training and injury, and there is no doubt that strength training can benefit your IRONMAN performance.
It's important to focus on exercises that give you the most bang for your buck-- crunches, leg extensions and arm routines aren't enough. Here are a few exercises that should be on your list when you hit the gym.
Use these exercises 2x week for no more than 45 minutes each, including warm up and cool down. Keep your rest in between the sets on the short side.
TRX Lunge3-4 sets, 4-8 reps on each leg 1 of 7
Put your right foot into the strap with your shoelaces pointed to the floor. Step out with your left foot in front of you and squat down with your left knee. Keep your shin vertical, your knee over your toes and maintain a tight core. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Grab a pair of dumbbells to add resistance when you feel ready.
Deadlift3 sets, 3-5 reps 2 of 7
Stand with a weighted bar near the center of your feet. Grab the bar and bend your knees until your shins are touching the bar. Lock your arms out straight and keep your shoulder blades directly over the bar. Keep your abs pulled in to support your back, and do not arch your back. Pull the barbell up in a straight vertical line until you have fully extended your hips. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Single Leg Deadlift3 sets, 5 reps per leg 3 of 7
If you aren't a fan of the barbell deadlift, try the SLDL. Hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells in front of your legs. Pull your shoulders back and down to keep your back in a proper position during the exercise. Lower the dumbbells toward the floor by hinging over at your hips. Your trail leg will raise back behind you. Keep your arms straight throughout the movement. If your back or shoulders start to round, you have gone too far forward.
Shoulder Press3-4 sets, 4-6 reps 4 of 7
The shoulder press is a staple for building upper body strength. Grab a pair of dumbbells and put them up toward the front of your shoulders. Tighten your abs and legs before you press, then press the bar in a vertical path until you lock your elbows out. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
Renegade Rows3-4 sets, 8-12 reps 5 of 7
Grab a pair of dumbbells and put them on the floor and enter the push-up position with your dumbbells in your hands. Tighten up your torso and restrict any hip rotation during the movement. Row your left arm, keeping your elbow next to your body. Return to the push-up position and switch to the other side.
Glute/Ham Developer2-4 sets, 5-12 reps 6 of 7
Lie face-down on the back extension pad with your hips slightly off the pad. Cross your arms over your chest and keep your knees locked. Remember to keep your back as flat possible as you bend over the pad. Use your glutes, hamstrings and back to lift yourself back up. This exercise can be completed on a stability ball if you do not have access to a GHD.