Become a Triathlon Warrior with the Total Gym: Week 3

Triathlon Preparation: Develop a HIIT Routine

During week three of your triathlon training, you should consistently be putting in the time biking, swimming, and running on the road or treadmill. Intermediate level athletes should be training three times a week in each event. Elite athletes can train five or six days a week in each event, which means two or three workouts a day.

Be sure to fit resistance exercises into your training plan two to three times a week. Elite athletes can get away with one or two thirty-minute sessions a week. Creating a high intensity interval program can cut down on the amount of time spent in the gym. Eight exercises performed over the course of four minutes can be repeated five times. Perform an exercise for 20 seconds on, ten seconds rest, and then switch to the next one. In four minutes, you can complete eight different exercises. Repeat this set of eight five times.

Upper body strength in the rotator cuff of the shoulder is very important for swimming. The exercises this week focus on the rotator cuff.

Upper Body (arms, shoulders, back and chest)

  1. Inverted Iron Cross: On the Total Gym, this dynamic move targets the top of the shoulder, the biceps, forearms, chest and the back. It is similar to the iron cross in gymnastics performed on the rings. This is not to be confused with the standing cable iron cross which works mostly the chest. Lie back with your feet on the glideboard and the handles in your hands, palms in, by your hips. Pull the handles by raising your arms to shoulder-height. Hold the position and don’t arch your back. Return to the beginning.
  2. Lateral Biceps: Sitting at the top of the glideboard sideways with your legs extended, grab the cable handle with the hand closest to the column. Lift your arm to shoulder height and keep it there, palm up. Focus on the biceps and shoulder as you pull the handle toward your shoulder by bending the elbow. Extend your arm slowly, resisting the pull of the cable in an eccentric contraction of the biceps. Try to complete the set without lowering your arm from shoulder-height, then switch sides.
  3. Lateral Triceps Extension: With the hand furthest from the support column, grasp the handle on the same side and pull the glideboard half way up the rails. Sit at the top of the glideboard sideways with your legs extended. Bring the handle directly in front of your chest, palm in. Then raise your elbow to shoulder height. Next extend your arm straight out to the side. Bend and straighten your arm at the elbow while focusing on your triceps. Remember to keep your wrist straight and sit up tall. Complete the set and then switch sides. Triceps and shoulder strength help decrease upper body fatigue on the bike and give power to your swimming stroke.

Core Muscles (rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, transversus abdominis, gluteus maximus, lats, traps, multifidus and erector spinae)

  1. Oblique Pullover Crunch: Lie on the glideboard with your knees bent and feet on the glideboard. Grasp the cable handles, palms facing up, with your arms extended over your head. As you lift your head and shoulders off the glideboard, draw your left arm over across your body. Aim for your right knee. Return to starting position. You can either continue to work the same side or alternate sides. Focus on twisting at the waist and contracting your abdomen. This exercise works all the layers of the anterior abdominal wall and recruits the lats and traps too. A stronger core lends to better balance on the bike and in the water.
  2. Core Extension: Unhook the pulley cable. Kneel at the bottom of the glideboard and put your hands on the front crossbar of the machine. Next, extend your legs and push the board up the rails. Keep your abs contracted and arms stable. Only the knee and hip joints are moving. Do not allow your lower back to hyperextend as you send your knees back behind you. You can modify this move and make it harder by starting with the knees bent, but not touching the board. Keep the knees elevated off the board throughout the movement. You will feel this challenging your core and your gluteus maximus, which will help with running.

Lower Body (quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes)

  1. Leg Curl with Seated Surfer: Hook up the pulley cable to the glideboard and the wing attachment at the top of the rails. Sit straddling the top of the glideboard, facing the column. Place your feet in the wing attachment and then grasp the cable handles with palms down. Extend your legs and arms. Then bend your knees while pressing your arms back behind your hips. Return to starting position. This compound exercise works the arms, shoulders and hamstrings.
  2. Sprinter Start: Unhook the pulley cable and insert the squat stand. Straddle the glideboard facing the support column and then get in hands and knees position with the left foot against the squat stand and the right knee on the glideboard. Push the glideboard up the rails with your left foot pressing against the squat stand as you straighten your left knee. Keep your core contracted throughout the exercise. Return to starting position. Complete sets on both sides. This exercise targets the glutes.
  3. Cyclo Trainer: Remove the squat stand and attach the Cyclo Trainer to your Total Gym. Pedal for three- five minutes to warm up. Next, increase the resistance so that you can still keep a steady rhythm and pace for 30 seconds of hard work. Rest for 10 seconds. Keep alternating periods of hard work with 10 seconds of rest until 4 minutes is up. During the rest period you can choose to keep pedaling at a slower rate or completely stop. This is a cardio conditioning workout focusing on speed and power.

Well Rounded Athletic Regimen

After completing resistance exercises, it’s a good idea to stretch the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Shoulder, back and arm stretches should be completed after each set if you experience fatigue or cramps. Otherwise, perform stretching after all upper body exercises are done.
Don’t forget to spend time fueling your body efficiently. Proper hydration and nutrition may mean the difference between starting the triathlon training program and finishing it. If you aren’t eating enough food to power your muscles and help with repair while you sleep, you are certain to suffer from fatigue, pain, and immunosuppression. Coaches and nutritionists online can help you design a menu specific to your training needs.

Jodai Saremi

Jodai Saremi, DPM, BS , is a freelance writer, AFAA certified trainer, and fitness model. She has written for American Fitness, SPIN fitness, Your Health Connection magazines, and other online publications. Her articles have also been featured in textbooks. She enjoys an active lifestyle and lives in Ventura County, Calif. with her husband and two children.

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