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Strength Training
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As female athletes, how often should we incorporate strength training into our weekly routine? And, what would that strength training look like?

The reason for the question .... I've gone back and searched prior forum postings about adding strength training to triathlon training, and a lot of the comments were along the lines of:

'if you have time to strength train, then you have time to swim, bike, or run more, so do those things instead'
'don't strength train because you don't want to get big and carry that extra weight for races'
etc

I found those comments a tad backwards, and perhaps the majority of the people commenting were men and that's why. ;-) But, everything that I've read says that women should incorporate strength training into their weekly activities, especially if over the age of 30.

So, as a 38 year old woman, I'm under the impression that strength training is positive and something that I should be adding to my weekly routine. I just signed up for my first 70.3 race (May 2019) so I'm brainstorming a good training schedule now. Based on my work schedule, kids, etc .... I have built in 3 swims a week, 3 bike sessions a week, 3 runs a week, and 3 strength training sessions a week. Would that be a fair assumption going forward? Note, I'm doing the race to just enjoy the moment .... I'm not trying to podium. ;-)

If so, what should my strength training sessions look like? Pilates? Barbells/dumbbells? Body weight only? One of each a week? What do you all do as fellow women?

Thanks for any input. :-)
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Re: Strength Training [FiveBlessings] [ In reply to ]
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I'm also 38. Every time I have stopped strength training to focus on more s/b/r, I have ended up injured. I don't think it's a coincidence.

I can only tell you what works for me. I try to lift twice a week, which usually ends up being once a week. I have tried the arm day/leg day thing but that doesn't work for me; I do better when I can do everything in one session. I try to rotate a video (I just did Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones last night), a barre class, and my own routine of pushups, lunges, bicep curls, etc. I figure rotating workouts will make sure everything that needs to be worked is worked eventually, and I make sure to do some glute moves every session.

Good luck!

http://mediocremultisport.blogspot.com
My life goal is to improve my race times so much I'm featured on MarathonInvestigation.com.
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Re: Strength Training [FiveBlessings] [ In reply to ]
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I'm with Midtown -- strength training keeps me healthy and strong.

I lift twice a week in season and three times in off-season. I do bandwork for my glutes/hips/shoulders every day. Takes less than 10:00 minutes but pays dividends.

I lift low rep but heavy using barbells and kettlebells. I focus on strength via basic movements (hinge, lunge, push, pull, squat, carry) and do p/rehab and corrective work within my recovery phase.

I am heavier when I strength train but I would not describe myself as bulky and do not worry about the "extra weight" for races. But if I had a dollar for every dude in the gym who made a comment like that I'd have a nicer bike :D

Hope that helps! Feel free to DM me if you have questions.
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Re: Strength Training [FiveBlessings] [ In reply to ]
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Strength training is definitely helpful for injury prevention, as well as performance.

As far as how much, a comment that someone made about running mileage comes to mind: "25 miles/week is MUCH better than 15. 35 is better than 25. 45 is a little bit better than 35."

I think the same applies to strength training. Once a week is will give you a lot of benefits. 2x a week will give you more benefits, but after that you've gotten most of the low hanging fruit.

In terms of what to do, I've always been a fan of body weight exercises, with emphasis on core. Planks, crunches, burpies, lunges, etc. These also have the added benefit that if you have a busy schedule, you can do them at home, rather than carving out time to go to the gym.

Figure out what your weakest link is, and focus on that. Which muscles are most sore after a race? For me, usually my quads, so I've been doing wall sits. (Sit with you're back against the wall, thighs parallel to the ground, like you're sitting in an invisible chair.) I also like that I can do these while I'm waiting for the bus or something, and I won't look like a complete idiot!

Cheers,
Ginger

https://www.instagram.com/gingerhowellracing/
If you find yourself thinking "What if I can't", instead think "What if I can!"
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Re: Strength Training [FiveBlessings] [ In reply to ]
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Congrats on registering for your first 70.3. It sounds like you have a full life schedule so you will need to make your training hours efficient.
For more than a decade I have used Troy Jacobdon’s “Strendurance” DVD. It is a strength training routine for triathletes. There are 6 levels ranging in difficulty and time commitment from 25 to 35 minutes. Lots of squats, pushups and other body weight exercise. You would want to have some hand weights (for me, 10-15 lb.), a stability ball and a mat. In the off seasons I have tried to do it 3x per week. When training hours increase closer to race time, it often falls off a bit.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!
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Re: Strength Training [niagirl] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, congrats on signing up for your first 70.3!

It occurs to me that I may not have used the best example when I was talking about run mileage. The numbers I mentioned were more geared toward finishing a full, rather than a half. So it might not have been the best analogy to use in a thread about 70.3 training! The point I was trying to make is that even if you don't have time to do a lot, doing a little bit can go a long way.

Also, in terms of getting bulky, I wouldn't worry too much about that. Doing a lot of high weight / low rep can lead to bulk, but low weight / high rep tends to lend itself better to endurance training.

Above all, enjoy the process, and have fun!

Cheers,
Ginger

https://www.instagram.com/gingerhowellracing/
If you find yourself thinking "What if I can't", instead think "What if I can!"
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Re: Strength Training [FiveBlessings] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for all the great advice!

I like the idea of adding more glute work .... that definitely tends to be my sore spot after a running race.

A little more about myself, I have 5 kids .... 9 year old boy, 7 year old girl, 5 year old girl, and twin 4 year old boys. ;-) After my pregnancies, I was in physical therapy for about 13 months to help correct the diastasis recti. So I know core work should be a focus as well. Do you all recommend core work more often a week? Someone told me that could be done daily? I try to do planks 3 times a week .... but it usually ends up about twice a week. And when I do them, kids end up climbing on me thinking it's a 'horse ride'. Ha! ;-)
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