Become a Triathlon Warrior with the Total Gym: Week 5

Compound Exercises for Triathlon Training

This week’s triathlon conditioning focuses on compound exercises which use more than one muscle group as you move more than one joint at the same time. Running, biking and swimming all recruit multiple muscle groups; therefore, it makes sense to incorporate these exercise variations into your Total Gym workout.

Although compound moves require a little more coordination, they tend to save workout time since you are working multiple areas. The time factor becomes increasingly important the deeper into your tri-training you go. As you increase your mileage on the road and in the pool, you may find it more difficult to fit in your gym sessions. An additional benefit is these exercises will burn more calories as a group, while improving cardiovascular fitness.

Plan your training so that you don’t spend any more than 30 minutes per conditioning session. Once a week is fine if you’re an elite athlete, since you are swimming, biking and running much more than novices, who will need about three sessions a week. Complete three sets of each compound exercise with 12-15 reps for a light workout, more reps, and 20-25 reps if you find that you aren’t fatigued by the last rep, or if you have the extra time.

You will need the following Total Gym accessories: leg pull cable with harness, Cyclo Trainer.

Cyclo Trainer Warm Up/Cool Down

Warm up on the Cyclo Trainer for three minutes in the supported position with the glideboard resting at the bottom of the rails. Continuing with last week’s goal of working harder, after you’re warm, raise the glideboard on the column one level higher than last week and/or increase the resistance on the control panel. Remember, you can go all the way up to level 16, so you have plenty of options. Intersperse lifting the pelvis off the glideboard and pedaling with staying in the suspended pedaling position while your back is supported. If you’re doing HIIT, complete ten sets: pedal 25 seconds, rest 5 seconds. This will be a five-minute workout. At the end of the workout repeat this as a cool down.

Kneeling Reverse Fly with Rotation

Recruits internal and external obliques, erector spinae, and iliopsoas in the torso, the rhomboid, posterior deltoid, trapezoid, teres minor and infraspinatus in the upper back, and hip flexors and extensors:

Grab the handles in each hand and kneel, sitting on your heels on the glideboard. Lift your hips off your heels and engage your core. Next, extend your arms out in front of you, palms in, and then pull one handle up and back while rotating your trunk in the same direction. Your gaze should follow your moving hand. Concentrate on keeping your chest lifted, your wrists flat and back straight. Slowly rotate forward again and return to starting position sitting on your heels.

Toe Touch Biceps Curl

Recruits the biceps, anterior and medial deltoids, iliopsoas, rectus abdominis, and erector spinae:

Grab the cable handles and sit facing the column with legs straight. Bend forward from the hips and extend your arms out toward your feet with palms down. The glideboard will slide down the rails. Next sit up tall and bend the elbows until your hands are at your shoulders with palms facing up. Elbows should be in a fixed position as you flex. The deltoids will be in isometric contraction.

Back and Triceps Extension

Recruits the iliopsoas, erector spinae, triceps, teres minor, lats, and trapezoid:

Grab the handles and lie face down on the glideboard with your head toward the column. Move your arms to your sides and lift your feet off the floor by bending your knees. Keeping your head in line with your torso, lift your chest off the glideboard. Return to start and then bend your elbows, bringing them in toward your ribs, palms down. Return to starting position by extending your arms. Contract your abdominals throughout the exercise to support the lower back.

Incline Push Up

Recruits core musculature anteriorly and posteriorly, biceps and triceps, deltoids, serratus anterior, and lats:

Unhook the pulley cable and remove the squat stand. Place your feet against the crossbar and your hands on the glideboard. Start with your wrists, elbows and shoulders in alignment, stacked on top of each other. Perform a complete push up, then slide the board up the rails as far as you can without hyperextending your back and slide the board back down to start position. The higher the incline of the board, the easier the exercise. You can choose to challenge yourself by doing these on one foot with the other one raised in the air a few inches.

Leg Press with Incline Ab Crunch

Recruits the rectus abdominis, quads, biceps femoris and gastrocnemius:

Remove the squat stand and unhook the pulley cable. Attach the leg pull accessory with the foot harness. Lie back on the glideboard and place the right foot into the harness. The left leg is bent 90 degrees with the foot in the air. Extend your right leg out parallel to the ground with the ankle flexed. Next, bend the right leg while curling your upper body toward your knees in a crunch. Keep your lower back pressed into the glideboard. Press the right leg straight and return the upper body to starting position. Complete the set before switching sides.

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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