Swim/bike weight training

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22/08/2012 at 11:05


Can anybody recommend any weight trainning exercises that might make my swimming and biking a little bt stronger?




22/08/2012 at 11:27

yep - swim and bike more  

22/08/2012 at 11:45

If you're looking for swim specific strength and bike specific strength you could basically do what FB says. For swimming get a set of hand paddles and do some intervals with them. 10x50m with a set of paddles and about 15 seconds between each swim works well as a start. For biking you could do hill reps or on a flat road get into a high gear so you're working pretty hard with cadence around 60-65 and do something like 10 x 2 minutes at that cadence spinning easily for 30s during your breaks.

i'm not convinced weight training helps much with swimming until your texhnique is spot on. Pull ups, pushups and core strength should be the main focus I think. Squats are probably very beneficial to cycling. If i was doing squats i'd do sets of about 20 reps with a managable weight. No point lifting as much as possible. And i'd follow up any weight training with lots of stretching.

22/08/2012 at 11:47

I think having a strong core will help with both - it supports posture whilst swimming, and on the bike. Strong shoulders and triceps are good for swimming too

22/08/2012 at 12:12

paddles are good for building swim strength, but unless you have good swim technique to start with, then they are likely to cause more damage than do good.   focus on swimming a lot and develop your technique before moving to paddles.

there are other things you can use for swimming strength such as strech cords (fancy bungees by an other name), drag/mesh shorts (increase water resistance) etc, check out some of these on here - http://www.swimshop.co.uk/showall/true/Resistance-CSTARESISTRA/

as for building bike strength, turbo sessions over winter can be good for building leg strength, or use a mountain bike and ride off road - more trail resistance, knobbly tyres and extra bike weight will help build strength.

WildWill    pirate
22/08/2012 at 12:58

There will be those that say "Just swim and bike more" ... do hill reps ... use hand paddles etc

But i am not of that thought

For me if all i do is S/B/R I stagnate .. loose motivation and drop too many sessions


I am a big fan of introducing both variety and non sport specific strength training in the off season

When i talk about non sport specific strength training I mean a generic weights program for full body. This could be machines, free weights or just body weight resistance.  BUT what I would not do is just focus on back / shoulders / legs. IMHO if you embark in a strength programme you should consider the big picture and look to maintain balance / increase strength and strength endurance across the whole body.  There are plenty of them out there just find one .. adapt it to match your needs .. and change it quite often to keep the muscles guessing. I

For me, at this time of year, I do 2-3 ‘weights’ sessions per week and vary the number of reps, either for strength, or strength endurance.

In 2011 I even went as far as seeing a PT once per week to help with generic strength endurance and conditioning work … and that resulted in my best IM / season to date. 


PS ... you still need to S/B/R lots 

PPS … (IMHO) don’t go near Paddles and such gimmicks unless you want injuries and/or messed up balance in the water

Edited: 22/08/2012 at 12:59
22/08/2012 at 17:52

Thanks for all the replies. 

I currently swim 3/4 times per week, bike 3x and run 3x was just thinking about adding some gym work as somthing different.

Doozer.    pirate
22/08/2012 at 18:06
Bikram yoga!
Doozer.    pirate
22/08/2012 at 18:12
Bikram yoga!

Will - paddles are far from gimmicks, they are an important tool in swimming training, but as FB says, used incorrectly they can cause injury!

If you need to do strength work, stick to Olympic bar lifting doing major muscle group exercises such as squats, deal lifts, bench press, lunges etc. but seek advice from gym instructors to make sure you do them correctly.

I was fortunate to see many of the team gb athletes training prior to the Olympics while at Lee Valley, not a dumbell or fixed weight machine in sight!
Red_dog_chris    pirate
22/08/2012 at 19:50

I weight train a few times a week at the moment, i do a full body- triceps, biceps, back, shoulders, core, chest, delts lats etc. I'm not too convinced it makes much difference to my speeds on swim bike or run, but I do think that it helps prevent injuries and helps with endurance. I don't weight train my legs as I think hard running, hills etc and high gear as B_kins suggests is enough.

Iron Muffin    pirate
22/08/2012 at 19:57

Doozer, interesting on the GB athletes. I have a friend who works at the velodrome in Manchester. Those guys spend a lot of time in th gym and she said they mainly seem to do Olympic bar stuff. Either short heavy reps, I guess for power or long sets with lighter weight for the muscle endurance.

WildWill    pirate
22/08/2012 at 20:01
Dozer the reason for my comment is that 90% of those I have seen using paddles ... Shouldn't
Iron Muffin    pirate
22/08/2012 at 20:07

The nanas at my pool have a great array of paddles, fins etc.... For them it looks like an excuse to talk more, put less effort in and put off other swimmers getting in their lanes.

Defo in the 'shouldn't' box.

23/08/2012 at 18:35

slightly surprised by the respose. i would hve thought more people would be doing weight trainning along with swimming/running/biking 

M...eldy    pirate
23/08/2012 at 18:38

I suppose to turn it around slightly, why do you think that you need to supplement with weights?

kittenkat    pirate
23/08/2012 at 18:41

Weights can be used to stabilise and add strength for endurance, so yes they have their place. Like I said on another thread (which was specifically about running), there's no point just adding extra miles if you body hasn't got the strength stability in the right places.

That just leads to injury, poor performance and frustration.


kittenkat    pirate
23/08/2012 at 18:45

You have to be very specific in what you want to achieve though; I only do weights that are targeted to improving my running (and tri as a secondary). If you look on the RWUSA website, they've got some great videos about just this.

23/08/2012 at 18:58
M...eldy wrote (see)

I suppose to turn it around slightly, why do you think that you need to supplement with weights?

I just want to be the best I possibly can be andI feel my swimming suffers as I dont have enough upperbody strength.

23/08/2012 at 19:09

3 x 15-20mins/week of core, balance and resistance/weights would certainly help.  Best kept to the off season or at least 2 weeks before or 1 week after a-races.

ChallengeGoGoGas    pirate
23/08/2012 at 20:43
Google cross fit endurance I am pro weights for endurance sports, not a common approach though - my coach always advocates the big five moves and he is a triathlete focussed on half iron distances.

The big five lifts are Squats, Deadlifts, Flat Bench Press, Overhead Press and Rows 3 sets of 5 - 8 reps a couple sessions a week if possible - hasn't been possible for me this year
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