Indoor Triathlon Training with Total Gym

Swim, bike, and run yourself fit by training for a triathlon. Whether it’s your first attempt or you’re a seasoned triathlete, you can always train for a successful experience to conquer your training goals.


Training and competing for three sports simultaneously can be intimidating, especially if you excel at one more than the other. However, don’t get let intimidating thoughts prevent you from trying. Test your own limits and take on the challenge.


A triathlon is a fulfilling training adventure that pushes your athletic abilities in ways that no other race or competition can. There are some excellent training modalities that you can incorporate into your schedule by using your Total Gym.  This is the perfect addition to help diminish the overwhelming feelings and get you race day ready!



Not every triathlon is created equal. Most involve swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances. The goal is to compete for the fastest overall course completion time between the 3 sports components including the transition time as well.


Triathlons vary in length depending on the specific race.  There are three main types based on distance.

  • “Sprint Tri”: swimming 750 kilometer (0.47 miles), biking 20 km (12 miles), and running 5 km (3.1 miles)
  • “Olympic Tri”: swimming 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles), biking 40 km (24.8 miles), and running 10 km (6.2 miles)
  • “Ultra” or Ironman: swimming 3.8 km (2.4 miles), biking 180.2 km (112.0 miles), and running 42.2 km (26.2 miles)


If this is your first triathlon, chose a shorter race to train for and give it your best go!  It will still provide a good challenge and allow you to practice all the elements of a triathlon without overwhelming yourself!




Preparing for a triathlon can be daunting due to the extensive training time invested along with balancing your daily life (work, family, social activities).   However, you can obtain a quality workout in a short period of time without sacrificing your whole day by planning training sessions that balance your schedule.


The Total Gym is an excellent tool to incorporate into your training for efficiency and effective results. The Total Gym along with specific accessories can be your ‘go to’ training devise to adapt to the specific training modalities of a triathlon.


There are specific accessories that can easily attach to the equipment to sport specifically train for swimming, biking, and running. These Total Gym exercises will condition your body in the comfort of your own home without having to gear up and hit the road or water. You will still need training time outdoors, however, it’s a way to supplement your schedule efficiently and effectively for continued results.


So, get inspired to commit to a triathlon, plan out the race needs, and then stick to your goals!


Let’s ‘dive’ into the Total Gym accessories and learn how to incorporate these exercises to super charge your body for your racing goals.



Accessory: CABLES



The cables allow your muscles to safely and efficiently work through multiple planes of movement patterns. The free-flowing movement occurs by having constant tension applied to the cables along with your body weight, the glide board, and the height of the incline.


The exercises promote activation of your stabilizer muscles (core, hips, shoulders) to keep proper body placement and form. There are numerous variations of cable exercises that target specific muscle actions to strengthen the joints in every angle.


The cables are an essential attachment to condition and train the entire body for all fitness goals. Be creative and challenge your muscles in every angle!



  • Strengthens joints
  • Mimic sport specific movements
  • Promotes strength in varied angles
  • Alter speed, resistance, and variation of an exercise
  • Transition into other exercises without changing the setting
  • Condition both larger and smaller muscles at any range of motion



Bring the pulley to the front of the tower. Slide the glideboard up the rails and attach the pulley to the hook that is underneath of the glideboard. Hold on to the glideboard as it slides back down the rails to the closed position.  Chose your incline height based on the exercise and your fitness strength.  Now your ready to go!



  • Breaststroke
  • Back extension sweeps
  • Chest & Back flies






Maximize your training time by utilizing the cyclotrainer attachment to improve endurance, speed and power, while simultaneously building strength and stamina. It’s the perfect attachment to access on your Total Gym for indoor cycling training, especially when time permits or getting out on the road to train becomes challenging.


  • Non-electronic
  • Low impact on joints
  • Comfortable back support
  • Attaches to any Total Gym home model
  • Effective total body workout for strength & cardio
  • Improves core strength, endurance, and power output



The cyclotrainer easily attaches to the bottom base of the Total Gym. Simply place it at the bottom of the equipment with the ridge closest to the base for mounting. Lift the Total Gym base off the floor and slide the accessory under so that it attaches. Simple, set up, and ready to ride!


  • Circuit intervals
  • Low/ high positioning
  • Sprint intervals (15, 30, 45, 60 second sprints, 30 second recovery)



Accessory: STEP



The Total Gym STEP attachment is an accessory used for rebounding ‘jumping’ movements. It is similar to the squat stand by having a flat surfaced platform to place your feet on for strength or plyometric exercises. However, the STEP has a larger platform surface and is designed to have a ‘spring-less’ effect that absorbs impact when jumping to accommodate less stress on the joints. This is an excellent tool to condition for running demands to develop speed, power, and stamina.



  • Less stress on the joints
  • Promotes proper spinal alignment
  • Makes cardio drills more enjoyable
  • Allows full range of motion movements
  • Get a cardio workout from a recline position
  • Develops speed, power, stamina, and endurance
  • Energizes cardio movements with performance ease



The STEP is super simple to attach. It conveniently fits into the bottom base of the Total Gym and is ready for immediate use to run your heart out!



  • Jogging
  • High knees +speed
  • Bicycle crunch jog




I’ve developed an excellent Total Gym circuit workout that combines specific exercises and drills to develop the strength, stamina, endurance, and power needed to successfully complete a triathlon.


The exercises are arranged in a circuit interval format to effectively train and condition the entire body. Feel free to interchange the sequences, perform more reps or sets, and adjust the incline as needed to continuously alter the intensity.



  • Total Gym
  • Accessories: Cables, STEP, Cyclotrainer



  • Perform the exercises in circuit format (one exercise after the other with little to no rest until all the exercises have been completed.)
  • Adjust the incline based on your strength level. Progress when ready.
  • Perform each exercise or drill for the recommended timed interval.
  • Perform 1-3 sets depending on your workout time frame.
  • Options are provided to increase the intensity and to alter the intervals.
  • Keep the workout fresh by changing the circuit order, reps, sets, and interval time performed.



Dynamic Warm-Up: Prior to beginning the TRI-FECTA circuit, perform your own dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead.  Perform 5-8 minutes of full range of motion movements, and then proceed into the circuit.



First Set: Perform the following circuit for 30 seconds each drill

Second Set: Perform each drill for 45 seconds

Third Set: Perform each drill for 60 seconds

  1. Jogging
  2. High knees +speed
  3. Bicycle crunch jog



First Set: Perform the following circuit for 30 seconds or 15 reps per exercise

Second Set: Perform the circuit for 45-60 seconds per exercise

Third Set: Perform each exercise in a ‘pyramid’ (build up) or ‘drop set’ (bring down) style.  For example; for a ‘drop set’, adjust the incline to a challenging level.  Perform as many reps as you can until fatigue occurs, then immediately lower the incline to another level to perform the same exercise until muscles fatigue.  Lower the incline a 3rd time and repeat the exercise again to burn out the muscle (3 incline adjustments occur for each exercise).  Repeat this cycle for each exercise.  This will increase muscular endurance and overall strength.

  1. Chest & Back flies
  2. Breaststroke
  3. Back extension sweeps / Free Style



Cardio: cyclone trainer sprints

  • Perform speed burst intervals for a specific amount of time.
  • Recover 30 seconds in between intervals by slowing the pace, but never fully stop peddling.
  • Repeat for at least 2 or more cycles.
  • The sprint circuit can also be done in between the strength circuit.
  1. Sprints:
  • 1 minute, recover 30 sec
  • 45 sec, recover 30 sec
  • 30 sec, recover 30 sec
  1. Low/ High:
  • Sprint intervals keeping the body at a constant ‘lower’ position of the glideboard, recover at a ‘higher’ glideboard position
  • Use the above timed intervals (1 min, 45 sec, 30 sec)
  1. Constant Speed
  • Cycle at a constant speed for a set period of time (5-20+minutes)
  • Incline will vary depending on if your hill climbing or riding flat
  • This is a steady endurance training option when you just want to cycle and cardio train for a longer duration




NOTE: The Cable exercises can alternate between either the STEP or the Cyclotrainer before changing the accessory base to minimize transition time.  This is where you can decide how to perform the circuits.


Be sure to check out the video to see how the TRI-FECTA workout is performed.  Please “Share” & “Like” with others to enjoy too!


Banish race intimidation and prep for the big competition with a planned out, varied training schedule outside on the course and supplement it indoors on your Total Gym. Training for a triathlon is both mentally and physically challenging, but having a good mind set along with a consistent training program will insure you achieve success on all platforms!


Best of luck training for your next triathlon adventure!



Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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