Training is the Core of
Top Triathlete Barb Lindquist's
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has pro triathlete Barb Lindquist been a consistent podium finisher over the
years? How does she race year round in as many as 20 events a year and still
come out on top?
It is a given that smart training, good
nutrition, and a lot of hard work are the foundation to her success. So
lets take a look at a key element to the formula that keeps Barb at the
top of her game.
One essential element to her success has
been strength training. This ingredient has helped to keep her injury-free
a key to consistency. In the past seven years Barb has never been
sidelined do to strains, tears, overuse, and other chronic symptoms that many
Barb races year round so her strength
training is not structured in the traditional cyclical pattern of weight
training. We have a year-round schedule. After years of conditioning, muscle
memory builds so the pattern in which she trains puts her into a maintenance
level with her program.
Year to year there are slight variations to
mentally freshen the workouts; however, the program has continued in a
consistent vein over the years, inserting variations to the existing routine
Key races will slightly alter the timing of
the training in order to prepare for a specific event, similar to a taper
concept. For the most part, though, there are no major changes in the routine
throughout the year. Pretty boring, eh?
To understand Barbs strength training
program, we have to plug the use of the Total Gym. The Total Gym works on a
cable system using your body weight on a sled at various resistance levels.
The concept of the machine allows you to
strengthen more than one body part at a time safely. Safety is paramount. There
are too many ways to end up injured when going to the gym if you are not
extremely knowledgeable about machines and free weights. You cant train
effectively or efficiently if youre injured.
OK, enough of the sales pitch
lets look at the nuts and bolts.
We use a high-repetition routine designed to
alternate upper- and lower-body workouts, giving valuable rest and recovery.
With any strength program it is necessary to give time to rebuild the
It must be mentioned that proper nutrition
is very important both prior to and post-exercise to promote recovery. I
cant emphasis this enough.
Barb uses a number of products from Platinum
Performance, the pioneers in using flaxseed products. The Omega 3 & 6
essential fatty acids are now being recognized as having vital elements to aid
the body repair connective tissues and assist the immune system.
This nutritional element, in combination
with stretching and yoga, helps the muscles to maintain suppleness. This
combination is just as important as the strength program itself. Taking time
each day for a strength workout is an important part of the injury
Now on to Pumping up!
Upper-body workouts are on Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday. Lower body and core sessions are on Tuesday, Thursday,
and Saturdays with Sunday off. In race week, the program is reduced to one
light day early in the week.
With Barbs swimming background, she
has a built-in reserve of muscle memory and strength. We rely on that longtime
base when charting a plan for her workouts. She spends less time on the arms
and shoulder area than she does on the core and lower-body workouts.
So with that in mind, the program is fairly
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday:
Upper-body Total Gym sessions 3 x 20 reps with one minute's rest between each
Areas emphasized: Fly pulls, triceps, bicep
curls, bench press and pectorals routines. Using the Total Gym for a full range
of motion exercise we are able to combine several movements in a smooth flowing
pattern, working muscles in an opposing fashion.
While lying on your back on the Total Gym
sled, the movement is a circular arm rotation alternating forward and backward.
Imagine a gymnast on the rings to visualize this movement. This rotation works
the shoulders, pectorals, and the smaller muscles in the upper arm and forearms
at the various points in the circle.
With free weights or machines you would do
it in a circuit fashion, alternating opposing muscle groups. An example would
be 20 reps on the biceps, then move to 20 on the triceps. Bench presses and fly
pulls are more conventional movements.
Pushups and chair dips are other exercises
we mix in when on the road.
This season we have increased the stretch
cord sessions in regards to the upper-body focus. The cords are convenient when
traveling and serve as a substitute for swim workouts on the days we dont
have pool sessions. Exercises include fly and free arm movements concentrating
on a high elbow position to simulate swim movements.
The build-up follows a gradual progression
based on feel. We arent trying to bulk up muscle mass, so weight and
resistance is low to moderate. The speed of the movement is quick.
A good starting point is to begin with 12 x
20 seconds on, 20 seconds off; progressing up to 20 x 1 minute on, 20 seconds
off in the peak of the season.
LOWER BODY: Tuesday, Thursday, and
Total Gym exercises: one-legged squats,
hamstrings combined with crunches, and calf raises. Sessions 3 x 20 reps
building to 3 x 30.
The one-legged squats are done alternating
legs (20 right leg, 20 left leg, etc ...) with no rest between sets. The pace
is varied. Some days will be slower when concentrating more on the strength
emphasis. Other days well use a faster pace with lower resistance to fire
the quick-twitch fibers. Either way the negative is always
controlled and slower than the positive."
Hamstring exercises combined with the
crunches are done on a low level of resistance, concentrating on a quicker pace
on the up phase and a slow, controlled pace on the down movement.
For calf raises, the repetitions are
slightly less 2 x 15. This is a slower movement combining a calf and
Achilles stretch on the downward phase as the heels move lower than the toes.
Supplemental exercises include split-legged
squats 3 x 20 using a chair to rest the back leg on. In this
exercise, concentrate on the hip flexor area and work a stretch into the
Walking lunges are a mainstay. They are done
on a slight incline at 3 x 30 to 40 steps.
We also will use weights and a slower
movement to aid in the stretching. Concentrate on keeping the thigh and knee at
a 90-degree angle to prevent knee stress. This is also a great exercise to help
CORE STRENGTH: Tuesday, Thursday, and
Core strengthening creates the foundation
for body stability. To be efficient as a multisport athlete strong abs and back
are a must. A rigid core is necessary to promote fluid motion in the swim and
run without energy waste. Not to mention it adds comfort for all those bike
There are many options for core
strengthening exercises: pilates, ball work, and yoga. We use a variety of
these elements combined with four sit-up positions for the core. By
implementing a side-twist on the up movement and using a range of motion from 6
to 12 inches off the floor, the upper and lower abs are worked.
Barb does only 30 reps for each of the four
different areas, for that six pack burner workout.
A strength program has additional benefits
beyond making one stronger. It helps to reduce the possibilities of injury and
helps to keep weight down. The specific types of exercises should be designed
to improve the weakest area first.
Build slowly and dont try to overload
the muscles with heavy sets. It is important to balance muscle groups between
the front and back of the body.
The program I have designed for Barb is
simple but specific for her needs. It follows a conservative, consistent
approach and has played a key role in Barbs success. Loren
Lindquist is the coach and husband of Barb Lindquist, who is one
of the top professional triathletes in the world. In 2002 Barb was on the
podium in 18 out of 19 events, with eight wins. Barb received numerous honors
for her 2002 season, including Inside Triathlon's Person of the Year and Best
Overall Triathlete of the Year, Triathlete magazines Triathlete of the
Year, and the U.S. Olympic Committee's Triathlete of the Year award. She is a
favorite for the US Olympic team for 2004.