How Strength Training for Triathletes Works

Triathlete Strength Training Workouts

When you incorporate a periodized strength training workout, you'll want to spend some time mapping out your program. While you set your goals, take into consideration how much time you have to train and whether you've been injured before. Try to leverage the help of a professional who can evaluate you and help you plan this process.

During the base training phase, which can last from eight to 10 weeks, anticipate doing a full-body workout two to three times a week. You'll perform two to three sets of each exercise for 12 to 15 repetitions. The load should be challenging, but not at a maximum intensity level. Throughout this base training phase, you can increase the number of sets, reps and weight to continually challenge your muscles. Remember, you're focusing on building strength in your muscles.

In pre-season training, which can be another eight to 10 weeks, you should tailor your program to exercises that mimic the disciplines. You'll also work on converting power and incorporating more explosive exercises, such as plyometrics. Work in two to three strengths workouts a week. These workouts should consist of two to three sets, with three to six repetitions per set, performed at close to your maximum output.

During your competition phase, which can be about six months long, you'll want to taper off the frequency and intensity of your workouts. Complete one or two strength training workouts, with no more than two sets of 12 repetitions per workout. Use a moderate level of intensity during this phase [source: Wallmann and Rosania].

As you incorporate periodized strength training into your triathlon training calendar, you should see and feel results. Making time for strength training can be just the ticket you need to take your race to the next level.

Read on for lots more information about strength training.

Related Articles


  • American Council on Exercise. "Periodized Training -- And Why It's Important." (Sept. 17, 2010)
  • Edwards, Sally. The Complete Book of Triathlons. Prima Publishing. Roseville, CA. 2001.
  • Friel, Joe. "Periodization of Strength Training." (Sept. 17, 2010)
  • Haettich, Reece. "Periodization In Strength Training." Oct. 6, 2005. (Sept. 17, 2010
  • Mayo Clinic staff. "Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier." June 30, 2010. (Sept. 17, 2010)
  • Silva, Michael. "Periodized Strength Training Program." Oct. 31, 2004. (Sept. 17, 2010)
  • USA Triathlon. "Triathlon." 2009. (Sept. 17, 2010)
  • Wallmann, Harvey and James Rosania. "An Introduction to Periodization Training for the Triathlete." Strength and Conditioning Journal. Volume 23, Number 5. Pages 55-64. December 2001. (Sept. 17, 2010) handouts/protected/articles/PE/wallman(period).pdf