Increase triathlon performance with this 30-minute at-home strength and stability boosting routine
Swiss ball plank
Increases core stability around your trunk, to help reduce inefficient movements during swimming, cycling and running. Directions Lean with your forearms on the ball, keeping your back flat or maintaining its natural curve, with your legs straight. Breathe naturally while bracing your stomach muscles to keep the position on the ball. To make it harder, bring your knees alternately up to the ball.
Routine Start by holding for 20secs, increasing to 1min as you improve over time. Rest for half the time you work. Repeat three times.
Single-leg box squat
Increases your strength and balance, especially in your gluteals, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Stand with one foot on the floor, the other extended in front of you. Maintain a tall posture and move down, bending your knee so there is brief contact with the box (or sofa, or bed), then come back up. The downward motion is controlled, the upwards motion is quick.
Routine Six to 12 reps on each leg, repeated three times. Over time, you can make this more challenging by holding dumbbells.
Swiss ball Superman
This works your back, hamstrings, gluteals and the back of your shoulders. It’s particularly effective for swimming.
Start with the ball under your stomach and chest and your whole body extended like Superman. Alternate raising your arm and leg on opposite sides (eg right arm and left leg) while maintaining balance. Keep the inactive hand on the ground for balance at first. Make sure the area around the ball is clear of hazards in case you roll off sideways
Routine Three sets of 15-30 reps. Rest for 30secs in between.
This move works your gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings. It encourages eccentric muscle control, which is particularly useful when you land during running. Do not try if you have any knee problems.
Start standing straight, step forwards and down into a lunge in a controlled movement. Keep a flat back and do not allow your front knee to go beyond your toes. Don’t allow the back knee to touch the ground and keep your hip, knee and ankle aligned, facing forwards.
Three sets of 10 reps on each leg. Start without dumbbells.
This increases strength and stability, particularly around the sides of your trunk, and helps you hold your run and swim form.
Lie straight on your side on a mat. Place your forearm under your shoulder, perpendicular to your body. Stack your legs, straight, one on top of the other. Raise your body by straightening your waist.
Hold the position for 30secs to 1min, for two or three reps. Repeat with opposite side. You can make it harder by slowly straightening and lowering your upper arm.
Swiss ball hamstring curl
This improves the strength of your hamstrings and glutes – muscle groups that are prone to fatigue and injury in triathletes.
Start with your back flat, legs fully extended and heels on the Swiss ball. Roll the ball towards you with your hamstrings in a controlled manner, then roll it away from you. Don’t let your body sag.
Three sets of 10-20 reps. Rest for 30secs in between. When this gets too easy, double the resistance by lifting one leg off the ball and pulling the ball with your other leg.
This exercise strengthens the muscles at the back of your shoulders, reducing the likelihood of front crawl overuse swim injuries.
You’ll need stretch cords or stretch bands for this. Loop them around an unmovable object. Brace your torso by engaging your core and abs. Keep the spine as tall and straight as possible. In a controlled way, pull the cords towards your chest and back for one rep.
Do two sets of 10 to 20 reps, with 20secs rests between sets. Increase the resistance over a period of weeks and months.
Calf raising and lowering
This exercise strengthens your calf muscles in both directions. It’ll improve your lift-off phase during running, as well as controlling impact forces when landing.
Stand with both feet on the edge of a step, with something to hold on to for balance. Lower your heels gradually as far as they’ll go, and lift them back up to the top again.
Do two sets of 8 to 10 reps at first. Build up the reps to 20 and increase resistance by wearing a weighted backpack.