Following a very general periodization model for endurance athletes in the Northern hemisphere, we are currently in the Pre-season phase of training, and starting to move into the early race season.

With this comes certain changes in the focus of our training program, meaning a reduction a in the overall volume of work being at the lower intensity training zones (Quatitative training), and an increase in the work done at higher intensities (Qualitative training).

This applies to our resistance training too, and as we near race season proper, we want to maintain the gains in muscle endurance we have achieved over the Winter months.

To ensure these gains are maintained, aim to lift weights 2 - 3 times per week, working for 30 - 45 minutes (it does not have to be a long session for you to see the benefits).

The loads you should be lifting should should be heavy, but not the heaviest you can lift (around 80% - 85% of your heaviest), with the goal being that you should hit muscle failure on the final repetition.

Speaking of Sets and Reps, complete 3 - 4 sets of each exercise, with 6 repetitions in each set.
I know this is not a large number of repetitions, but the high % of your maximum weight that you are lifting will fatigue the muscles.

A very important concept to keep in mind at all times is movement cadence (speed). This is the speed at which the weight is lifted and lowered, and for strength training, you should aim to lift the weight in 2 seconds, have a brief pause at the "top" of the movement (this ensures you have control of the weight before lowering it), and then allow 3 seconds to lower the weight, in a controlled manner.

Lift (Concentric): 2 seconds
Hold / Control: 1 seconds
Lower (Eccentric): 3 seconds

Exercise selection is also important during this phase of training because we do not want to fatigue the muscles utilized in racing more than they already are by overloading them during our resistance training session.

A simple rule of thumb is to focus on multi-joint movements, that combine multiple muscle groups and upper and lower muscle groups.

These exercises will assist you to realize the improvements in strength necessary for ultimately increasing your muscles ability to generate power. It is essential that you do not neglect to continue to working on improving your Core Stability and joint mobility and flexibility.

Seated Cable Row

Barbell Upright Row

Barbell Hi Pull

Barbell Step Up

Barbell Cross Step Up

Barbell Half Clean

Clean and Press

These are a few movements that will help you to lay a good movement foundation for the Power Phase of your training. These exercises can be incorporated into your regular exercise routine for your swimming, running or cycling.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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