Ironman Strength Training (No Gym Required)

Posted: April 9, 2014 by kirisyko in Fitness and Training, Ironman, SykOtic
Tags: , ,

Photo: Shutterstock

riathlon legend John Hellemans hates going to the gym. But as a 60-year-old triathlete whose muscle mass has declined considerably since his days as a pro, he realised that maintaining his strength was an important key to finishing an Ironman. So he built functional resistance into his swim, bike and run workouts while training for Kona.

“I hardly have any muscles these days,” he says. “It’s really frustrating. My legs are skinnier than ever. Normally, when you go into a training stint, you get stronger, your muscles get bigger, you respond. But when you’re older nothing much happens.” For swimming, he uses hand paddles, rubber bands tied around his ankles that force his arms to work harder and occasionally drag equipment. “For running and biking,” he says, “I do plenty of hills. You lose strength slower when you keep some strength component in your programme.” In addition, his functional strength programme saves time, is more specific to the strength requirements for swimming, biking and running, and reduces the risk of injury from lifting weights. “I also do this with my Dutch athletes because,” he says, “is the risk of injury in the gym really worth it? It adds variety and keeps it very specific to the sport as well.”

Swim: 8×50 metres free on 1-minute interval, bands only Or: 4×100 free, bands only, on 2-minute interval, followed by 400 steady pace. Repeat 3–4 times. “A typical swim session for us is bands only. You put a rubber band around your ankles, no flotation device, and you swim with your arms only.”

Run: 4–6 repeats up a steep hill that takes 3–10 minutes to run, paying attention to your push-off to develop strength in your quads and glutes.
“In training for an Ironman, especially for older athletes, I suggest they just choose a hilly run and when you get to a hill, up your tempo a little bit and pay attention to your push-off.”

Bike/Run: 4–6 repeats up a steep hill that takes 3–10 minutes to climb, paying attention to maintaining your rhythm.

Or: Choose a hilly route and bike for 90 minutes (when training for Olympic- distance races) or 2 hours (when training for an Ironman), fol- lowed by 3–4 running hill repeats of 3–10 minutes (for short- course races) or a 90-minute to 2-hour run (for Ironman).

“Do the hill with attention, using your strength. Most important is that you keep your rhythm. I’m not a great believer in big gears, especially for younger or older athletes. Use the aerobars when it’s not too steep, and alternate standing and sitting.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s