T Nation



Any triathletes here?
I've come back to a point in my life where I want to compete in something again, I've fought since I was a kid (judo,boxing,mma) moved into cycling for my cardio and ended up racing for a club, also ran marathons etc.
Now I've decided on triathlons as it seems the likely path giving my past experience except the swimming, I'm learning to swim.
Big question, anyone have ideas or even workouts to make me simply a beast for triathlons??
I love the Olympic style lifting if that's useful!

Thanks for any input.


There are books and websites that will provide you with a workout schedule, if that’s what you’re looking for. I was a lifter that married a recreational runner and I turned into marathoner and ironman triathlete. (Lost 25 lbs on my 5’7 frame and didn’t swim well at all) I really didn’t lift much during heavy training months. I do suggest doing core work at least weekly. Start on local short distance races, have fun, and build from there. Maybe even get with a local tri-club. Good Luck.



Read everything you can by Mark Allen.


Cheers for the reply and info.



I’ve been sort of “all over the place.” I always liked weights and several years ago I tried learning the Olympic lifts. Without bumper plates and a coach telling me how exactly to fix the many flaws that come from being self taught, I was not good. Then my wife got into triathlons and I joined in. Did a few sprint distance tris and a half-marathon. Then a local Crossfit got an Olympic coach and I joined his weightlifting club (I’m still a member). However, I have a seriously messed up back, and despite having surgery two years ago for a herniated disk, it is still messed up. Also, I’m fat as hell. I’ve decided to take a break from the heavy lifting and get back into doing some endurance training and kettlebell lifting. Now that you are familiar with my training background, here are my thoughts:

If you ask about weight training on an endurance or triathlon site, you may as well start a discussion about religion and politics. There are some diehard endurance who will vehemently argue that weight training has zero impact on endurance performance.

Despite the above, most canned/free triathlon training programs have two weight training days. But the exercises are lame.

You mentioned that you are learning how to swim. For now, focus all of your time and energy on that. Trust me. All triathletes, except maybe those who swam competitively in high school and beyond, hate the swim. Swimming is very technique driven. It’s one thing to know how to swim so you don’t drown, it’s a whole other thing to be a fast and efficient swimmer. I learned how to swim “so I wouldn’t drown” as a kid. I am comfortable in the water and have no fear of drowning. But my 16 year old daughter who has been swimming competitively since age 8 can kick my ass at any distance. She actually coaches me on my swimming technique. She’s a tough coach, too.

You asked about the Olympic lifts. Having competed as a masters lifter I love the lifts. But… First, if you don’t already know how to do the lifts, save learning them for later. You’re already trying to learn to swim and you need to focus on the swim. If you can do the lifts with some proficiency they make a good addition to tri training. Endurance events are really about power endurance, especially the bike, so it is not a bad idea to improve top end power. However, I have found that kettlebell swings and snatches are better because these are done for high reps and actually improve power endurance and conditioning.

In an effort to find the “best” strength program to add to tri training I’ve read studies and articles on the subject. There is no best program. The articles suggest that strength training helps endurance sports because it allows the muscles to work more efficiently. Not what I expected. So, my philosophy is that I continue to train with weights because I like to and because I believe that strength is an important component of general fitness. I no longer care whether it helps or hurts my endurance performance. I will do it anyway.

As I said, the weight training recommendations that come with most tri plans are lame. You don’t need to waste time on biceps curls and leg extensions. Well, maybe some curls so you’ll look good in your tri suit. I stick to the big exercises and follow Wendler’s 5/3/1 plan. I don’t try to get cute and do sports specific exercises in the weight room. I keep those “sports specific.” For instance, if you want to get stronger on the bike, push a big gear up a big hill. Repeat.


Mike that’s the reply I’ve been searching for…

I’ve been asking on some triathlon forums the same question and they all thought I was the “devil” talking about strong man weight programs and Olympic lifting, dam pussies…

I got looking into the 5/3/1 plan and it sounds like a beast, I’ve got a meeting with a personal trainer on Saturday about my goals and specific needs, he comes from a pro rugby background (south Sydney rabitoh) (yes im in oz) so he should know a few things about functional strength.
Cheers again for the replies.