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Crucible Fitness Strength Training Plan

Adapted from the Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

General Guidance for All Strength Training Phases:

  1. Only lift when you are fully recovered from the previous strength training session.  If on Wednesday you are still sore from Mondays session, push it to Thursday or Friday. Accrue the full benefits of strength training by recovering completely between sessions.
  2. Think of your strength training in terms of the number of total sessions per training phase, rather than 2 sessions per week.  If you follow the guidance in #1, you may find yourself lifting every 4th or 5th day, as you fit it around your aerobic training.  This is OK.  Again, track total sessions, not sessions per week.
  3. Following this train of thought, it is possible that your 8 sessions could extend over into the next training phase.  There are certain combinations of strength training and aerobic training that we want to avoid.  Combining these training elements decreases the effectiveness of either session and greatly increases the risk of injury:

a)      Maximum Strength (MS) weights combined with Force and/or Muscular Endurance (ME) training on the bike and run.  Hill repeats, long climbs, and tempo paced efforts.  MS, the most stressful strength training phase, is usually completed at the end of Base 1, the least stressful aerobic phase.  Be very cautious when extending MS weights into Base 2 Force and ME training.

b)      Power Endurance (PE) weights combined with ME and/or Anaerobic Endurance (AE).  ME and AE are very stressful aerobic sessions.  To increase their effectiveness and decrease the risk of injury, we usually end the PE phase and go into a maintenance mode.

  1. Warm-up before each session with 10-15 minutes of light aerobic exercise, such as spinning on a stationary bike.  Cool down with same.
  2. Stretch continuously during your lifting session and drink water.

Anatomical Adaptation Phase (AA)

·        Length: 2-4 sessions, 2 per week.

·        Purpose: Adapt muscles and connective tissues to higher weights to come.  Refine lifting technique. Begin to develop core strength.

·        Exercises (in order of completion):

1.      Squat or leg press. Squat is preferred.  If you cant do squats, do leg press and eliminate #4 below.  This guidance carries through for the entire strength training plan.

2.      Standing, bent-arm, lat pull down

3.      Flat bench dumbbell chest press.

4.      Squat or leg press (different from #1)

5.      Seated Row

6.      Biceps concentration curls

7.      Triceps kick backs and/or cable pull with rope.

8.      One-arm dumbbell raises.

9.      Personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extension, or heel raise)

10.  Core strength: abdominal and lower back exercises.

 

·        Guidelines:

1.      3 sets of each exercise for 20-30 reps. Light weight. Speed of lift is medium, with 1-1.5 minutes recovery between sets.

2.      Start with a conservative weight for your first session.

3.      Ideally, you should be sore after the first session.  If you are still sore for session #2, push it to later in the week.  Soreness + Recovery = Adaptation.  This is exactly what we want. Sessions 3 and 4 continue this adaptation.

4.      Core Strength: rather than try to explain a routine in text, I would recommend asking a personal trainer for some recommendations.  I will find some good references and post them.  Core strength exercises are performed throughout the entire season.

 

·        Form: if you are unfamiliar with form for the exercises above, now is the time to learn.  Ask a personal trainer or qualified friend to show you proper lifting technique for each of these exercise.

Maximum Strength Transition Phase (MT)

·        Length: 2-4 sessions, 2 sessions per week.  Length depends on experience of the athlete

·        Purpose: to ease the transition from the low weight, high reps of AA to the heavy weight, low reps of MS.

·        Exercises: Use AA exercises above.

·        Guidelines:

1.      Sets: 3-4

2.      Reps: 10-15

3.      Recovery between sets: 1.5-3 min.  Stretch during recovery.

4.      Speed: slow to moderate, emphasizing form.

5.      Equipment: free weights are preferred.

Maximum Strength Phase (MS)

·        Length: 8-12 sessions, 2 per week.

·        Purpose: to develop a great deal of weight room strength.  In later phases we will turn this into sport specific strength, but for now we just want strong, especially with legs and the swimming specific upper body exercises.

MS Exercises

Name

Sets

Reps

Weight

Speed

Squat or leg press

3-4

6-8

See guidance

Slow

Standing, bent arm lat pull-down.

3-4

6-8

See guidance

Slow

Seated Row

3-4

6-8

See guidance

Slow

Squat or leg press

3-4

6-8

See guidance

Slow

Tricep cable pull, with rope.

3-4

15-20

Medium

Slow to Medium

Personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extension, or heel raise)

3

12-15

Medium to heavy

Medium

Core Exercises

 

 

 

 

 

·        Guidelines:

1.      For squat/leg press, lat pull-down, and seated row, your objective is to get strong by lifting a heavy weight. Period.  Nothing fancy.

a)      1st Set: Warm-up, very light.  Stretch and rest 2-3 minutes.

b)      2nd Set: Intermediate, heavier, but still light.  Stretch and rest 2-3 minutes.

c)      3rd Set: Work Set.  Get aggressive with the amount of weight by picking a load that you can only lift about 5-6 reps.  With a spotter, go to failure (you are unable to lift the weight by yourself), and then use the spotter to get 2-3 more reps. 

d)      4th set is optional.

e)      A good goal would be to increase the weight of the work set by 10-15 pounds every other session.

2.      For other exercises, use AA guidance above.

3.      Speed of all lifts is controlled, with good form.

Power Endurance Phase (PE)

·        Length: 8-12 sessions, 2 per week.

·        Purpose: to develop the ability to move a heavy weight, very quickly, and repeat this movement many times.

PE Exercises

Name

Sets

Reps

Weight

Speed

Squat or leg press

3-4

12-15

40-60% of final MS weight

Fast, explosive

Standing, bent arm lat pull-down.

3-4

12-15

40-60% of final MS weight

Fast, explosive

Seated Row

3-4

12-15

40-60% of final MS weight

Fast, Explosive

Squat or leg press

3-4

12-15

See guidance

Fast, explosive

Tricep cable pull, with rope.

3-4

15-20

Continue with AA guidance

Slow to Medium

Personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extension, or heel raise)

3

12-15

Continue with AA guidance

Medium

Core exercises

 

 

 

 

 

·        Guidelines:

1.      For squat/leg press, lat pull-down, and seated row, your objective is to lift explosively, for many repetitions.

a)      All sets are the same weight.

b)      Bring the weight down slowly and controlled, then explode upward, forcefully.  Be careful to not throw the weight and risk injury.  Repeat.

c)      You may find that these sessions do not challenge you as much as MS.  Thats OK, they shouldnt.  But if you want to get a good burn, try experimenting with how slowly you bring the weight down.

d)      4th set is optional.

2.      For other exercises, continue to use AA guidance above.

Strength Maintenance Phase (SM)

·        Length: 8+ sessions, 1 per week.

·        Purpose: consolidate and maintain strength gains, used during very intense or high volume aerobic training phases.  The focus of this training is shifting heavily toward high intensity, sport specific workouts: swimming, cycling, and running.  Something has to give so we turn to a maintenance phase in the weight room.

SM Exercises

Name

Sets

Reps

Weight

Speed

Squat or leg press

2-3

15-20

40-60% of final MS weight

Medium

Standing, bent arm lat pull-down.

2-3

15-20

40-60% of final MS weight

Medium

Seated Row

2-3

15-20

40-60% of final MS weight

Medium

Squat or leg press, different from above

2-3

15-20

40-60% of final MS weight

Medium

Tricep cable pull, with rope.

3-4

15-20

Continue with AA guidance

Slow to Medium

Personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extension, or heel raise)

3

12-15

Continue with AA guidance

Medium

Core exercises

 

 

 

 

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