Strength-training takes a backseat during racing season. That’s not to say I skip weight workouts altogether, but I only fit in the weights during interval classes that I teach. Structured strength training just doesn’t happen. Part of the reason is lack of time – when you’re dedicating hours to endurance training, strength training doesn’t fit. Another reason is that strength-training can leave you tired and sore which certainly doesn’t make for quality endurance workouts.
Part of my current preparation phase includes more emphasis on resistance – to build a little more lean muscle, which helps with weight loss, and to work on imbalances that are causing my knees, hips and ankles a bit of trouble. Today’s workout, day -237, included a cycle class, an interval class and a total body, strength-training workout using dumbbells. Squats, chest presses, balancing rows, curls, skull-crushers, shoulder presses (Arnold-style) and lunges comprised this simple workout. We (my class and I) completed four sets of each exercise with 10 to 15 reps per set. Fewer reps, longer rest and heavier weights tends to contribute more to building strength and power, but I’m not looking to build lots of muscle mass, just to replace the bit that disappeared during all the running, biking and swimming — and to lean-out some. Contrary to calories-in, calories-out theory – cardio doesn’t contribute much to a leaner frame…building lean muscle mass does.
On two other days during the week, I do a targeted strength-training workout. Right now, I’m doing my favorite split – back, triceps and legs on Wednesday and chest, biceps and glutes on Friday. Each workout consists of three different exercises for the chest or back, two different exercises for the triceps or biceps and two different exercises for the legs or glutes. When you add in the total-body workout on Monday, which consists of one compound exercise for each major muscle group, I hit each muscle group three times per week – sometimes as a primary mover, sometimes as a synergist.
This week’s plan:
Monday: Total Body
Wednesday: 3 sets of each exercise, 10 to 12 reps per set, 30-60 seconds of rest between sets
- Back: bent-over barbell rows, straight arm pull-downs, pullups (assisted)
- Triceps: Overhead extensions, dips
- Legs: Single-leg squats, Single-leg hamstring pushups with medicine ball
Friday: 3 sets of each exercise, 10 to 12 reps per set, 30-60 seconds of rest between sets
- Chest: Pushups with feet on stability ball, cable chest press, incline chest flyes
- Glutes: Single-leg deadlift, walking lunges
- Biceps: z-bar curls, incline curls
Each workout takes between 30 and 40 minutes to complete (with a warmup).