Importance of strength training in triathlon

 Strength training should be an essential component and we hope that after reading this article, do not hesitate to include it in your planning. 

Sessions of swimming, cycling sessions, sessions de career and some transitions; this is usually the structure of the most frequent planning for triathletes at the popular level. The strength training It must be a essential component and we hope that after reading this article do not hesitate to include it in your planning.

Why strength training?

The role of force in both injury prevention as in the performance improvement, included in endurance sports such as triathlon, and both in women and men, is more than proven. Among the general benefits that strength training brings, we find: improvement of the economy, aerobic capacity, the lactate threshold, time delay until Fatigue, improvement of maximum strength, maximum speed and the resistance (Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014).

And more specifically and in relation to our sport have been found improvements in career economics with the training of maximum force and explosive force and in the pedaling economy with maximum strength training (Rønnestad & Mujika, 2014). Therefore, both the Maximum strength training as the fexplosive force should be included in the planning consistently with the period in which we are.

How do we train strength?

During the general preparation phase, that is, the Preseason, must be made greater volumes of strength training to improve working capacity and body composition, increasing lean mass (Bompa et al., 2009). Increases in muscle hypertrophy during this phase will enhance the gains in strength and power in the next phases of the planning that will include smaller volumes of strength training but at high intensities.

Some experts of the area recommence start with maximum strength workouts (high loads at low speed of execution) and after reaching a certain level of strength, move on to training explosive force (low loads and high execution speed) (Beattie et al., 2014). However, before starting work with high loads, it is highly recommended that athletes have acquired the correct technique of exercises with lighter loads.

Gym weights

Considerations to include force work

But in addition to the type of strength training we must keep in mind how to combine with endurance sessions, given that an incorrect organization can reduce the physiological effects of training and induce fatigue without major improvements (interference effect). Therefore, González Badillo y Serna (2002) recommends some guidelines:

  • Avoid the coincidence of hypertrophy training with the one maximum stress resistance metabolic and peripheral (95-100% VO2max)
  • Do not perform maximal exercise hypertrophy training, due to the risk of injury and physiological damage to the organism they pose.
  • Can match resistance training to the anaerobic threshold with hypertrophy training, with a character of medium-high effort but never maximum.
  • When the metabolic stress of resistance training is high (above the anaerobic threshold) strength training should be directed towards the development of maximum strength.
  • Reduce the number of strength sessions and the number of repetitions per series when resistance training tends to be of maximum demand.
  • Separate as much as possible the training sessions of strength and endurance when done on the same day. And if it is possible to do them on different days

Now you know you have a "fourth sector" to train to improve your performance in triathlon, so give it the importance it deserves and start from today!



Badillo, JJG, and Serna, JR (2002). Strength and resistance In Bases of the strength training programming (Caps 7 and 10). Barcelona, ​​Spain: INDE.

Bazyler, CD, Abbott, HAM, Bellon, CR, Taber, CB, Stone, MH. Strength Training for Endurance Athletes: Theory to Practice. Strength Cond J. 2015; 37 (2): 1-12.

Beattie K, Kenny IC, Lyons M, Carson BP. The effect of strength training on performance in endurance athletes. Sports Med 44: 845-865, 2014.

Bompa T, Haff G. Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2009.

Rønnestad BR1, Mujika I. Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance performance: A review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug; 24 (4): 603-12. doi: 10.1111 / sms.12104. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Laura García Cervantes

Dra. Science of Physical Activity and Sport

Technical Director Club Trikatlón Tres Cantos

Triathlon and Swimming Senior Trainer

Paratriathlon Specialist Trainer

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