Triathlon training is full of choices… do you do the indoor solo lone wolf 2hr indoor strength set that your coach has set you, or do you hit the gym and do the HIIT Pump class with Svletlana the recently imported 25 year old Russian instructor. Obviously the choice is clear in this situation but at what cost of sacrificing your indoor session to do a HIIT BODY PUMPstrength class will have on your long term fitness and racing plans?
Strength For the Long Haul:
Things happen when you do a Long Course Triathlon, and these don’t include the obvious such as urinating in your pants, or getting 17 flies caught in your gel encrusted moustache! Your core begins to go on an extended lunch break and nasty things start to happen, especially in the latter stages of a long course race. If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to be a spectator in one of these events you will notice a lot of athletes hunched over with terrible form making the movement of running look laboursome and hard to watch. Your core is what will hold your shoulders back, lungs open, hips high and straight. This is all the more important in longer triathlons as the fatigue levels are accentuated.
Zumba or Crossfit:
What do you do to improve these areas? The good news is that you actually dont have to do a lot, you just have to do it consistently. 10min is all you need to activate and strengthen your core 3-4 times a week and the benefits are enormous not just for your racing but also for your injury prevention and your general recovery. You don’t need to hit a Zumba class instead of your trainer set anymore as the Science is there now to streamline exactly what you need. If you have access to a good physio practitioner they can give you a full body analysis and let you know what specifically to work on. It might be a simple thing like activating your glutes or hamstrings before a run. These can be implemented in your warm up routine and they take minimal time and effort yet the benefits are exponential.
Most people who are not clued up on core believe that sit ups are your only exercise, this is actually not the case as core strengthening can also activate other areas in full body functional movements. Using a fit ball, one leg squats, normal squats, kettlebell swings and more are all useful exercises to strengthen core and activate areas that are lacking.
Try and implement some transition training with your core strengthening program, small circuits can be implemented instead of a bike or run session, so you still can utilise the bike/run/swim component. You can simulate transitions by performing functional core movements after a short bike/run or swim and rotate through these circuits so its more triathlon specific. These sessions can be a good mental shift as well as its a good change from the monotony of churning out kms.
With all that taken into account I am sure the Full Body PUMP HIIT class with Svetlana is a more than acceptable option!