Incorporate Strength Training Into Your Regimen

Phase IV: Peak Power (8 Weeks)
As the season approaches, you begin to incorporate high-intensity intervals into your event sport training. Accordingly, your strength training is modified to turn power into speed.

"I call this the Chisel Phase," Buchta says. "All the exercises are dynamic. People love this phase, because finally they can feel the benefits of their strength work in their swimming, biking and running. Plus, they're in and out of the gym in 20 to 30 minutes."

Phase IV involves two workouts per week. Speed is the key. Do 2 x 12 sets at 55 to 65 percent 1-RM with no rest between sets.

Sample Workout

  • Bent-over row
  • Walking lunge
  • Flat dumbbell bench press
  • Pectoral pullover (with EZ curl bar)
  • Supine triceps press
  • Alternating biceps curl
  • Abdominals
  • Roman chair 

Phase V: Maintenance
Phase V is your in-season phase. It is optional in the sense that you can reap most of the benefits of your past work without doing it and, in fact, "The majority of the pros I work with give up weights during the season," Buchta admits. Nevertheless, for those who have time, maintenance is still recommended.

Hit the gym every three to four days during the competitive season. These sessions are quick and non-strenuous. Do just 1 x 12 for each exercise at 65 percent 1-RM. Allow two seconds for the concentric movement and four seconds for the eccentric movement.

Sample Workout

  • Lat pulldown
  • Stationary lunges
  • Barbell bench press
  • Pectoral pullover (with dumbbell)
  • Triceps kickback
  • Alternating biceps curl
  • Abdominals
  • Roman chair 


Running Arms (warm-up): Stand in a runner's lunge position: right foot one stride in front of the left, bending slightly forward at the waist, right knee slightly bent. Hold a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Beginning slowly, pump your arms in a slightly exaggerated running motion. Reverse your lunge position halfway through the warm-up.

Barbell Squat (quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back): Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a wide overhand grip on a weighted barbell that's resting on your upper shoulder (not your neck!). Looking forward and slightly upward, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back in a neutral position (maintaining its natural curve) and your knees over toes. Drive upright through your hips. Keep your weight on your heels.

Dumbbell Pullover (chest): Lie face-up on a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the bench. Hold a single dumbbell by shaping your hands flat against the inside plate on either end of the dumbbell and allowing gravity to keep it snug. Do not bend your wrists during the movement. Hold the dumbbell directly above your upper chest. Slowly lower the dumbbell back behind your head, bending your elbows slightly. When the dumbbell is in line with the crown of your head, hoist it back to the start position. Avoid lowering the dumbbell too far behind your head.

Walking Lunge (quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back): Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a weighted barbell positioned as in the Barbell Squat (or, alternatively, hold a dumbbell in either hand at your sides). Take a large step forward with your right foot and bend that knee to 90 degrees, then drag your left leg forward to join the right. Now lunge forward with the left leg. Keep your back in a neutral position by looking straight ahead. If your left leg extends fully during the lunge, you're stepping too far. If your forward knee gets in front of your toe, you're either stepping too short or lunging too deep.

Lat Pulldown (upper back): Seat yourself at a high pulley station with your knees secured under the padded braces and get a wide overhand grip on the bar. Lean back 35 degrees at the waist and pull the bar to your upper chest, then smoothly extend back to the start position.

Supine Triceps Press (triceps): Lie supine on a flat bench with a narrow overhand grip on a short straight bar or EZ-curl bar. Your shoulders, elbows and hands are in a straight line. Keeping your upper arms locked, lower the bar until it's just above your nose, then extend back to the start position. Keep your elbows in as you push up.

Reverse Stomach Curl: Lie face-up on a bench or mat with your legs together and bent so that your feet are flat on the surface. Interlace your fingers behind your head and curl your trunk up just slightly, until you feel tension in your stomach muscles. This is your start position. Smoothly draw your knees up toward your face, stopping just before your lower back leaves the mat, then return to your start position without letting your feet touch down.

Active Expert Matt Fitzgerald is the author of several books on triathlon and running, including Brain Training for Runners and Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners (Rodale, 2005).

Related Articles:

      • Periodization of Strength Training

      • An Integrated Approach to Increasing Flexibility

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