Sporting Past: The Benefits

New to triathlon or taking on new challenges in the off-season? Find out how your other sporting loves can impact on your triathlon progress.

by Jacqueline Wadsworth.

bodybuilding triathlon
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Martyn Green was a competitive bodybuilder for five years and was British Junior Champion in 1988. He’s now a top regional age-group triathlete in the South-West.

Benefits: In some ways bodybuilding set me up well for triathlon, with strong muscles which support my joints and help protect me from injury, and good core strength. It also taught me about self-discipline in training, nutrition, and I am able to diet to a target bodyweight.

Baggage:  Quite a lot really! Useless muscle mass on the chest and arms - I am constantly battling to lose muscle mass to keep my weight down. Poor basic aerobic fitness because bodybuilders neglect it in order to gain weight. Ex-bodybuilders also carry the wrong kind of muscle fibres - lots of fast-twitch muscles when what is needed is slow-twitch. This can lead to a tendency to cramp easily and poor strength endurance which is needed while cycling and swimming.

Biggest difference: Triathlon is a much healthier sport and far more enjoyable!

Verdict: Help and a hindrance - bodybuilding proved useful, although no more than any competitive sporting background would have been, but there are definite disadvantages too.

Picture credit: Shapeshifters/ Getty Images

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Discuss this article

sqush is a great game, nearly as good as running.
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 20:20

sqush is a great game, nearly as good as running.
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 20:20

is that the noise you make running in the snow or having sex in a bath of angel delight
Posted: 02/02/2012 at 21:28

I thought that said "Squishy is game"...
Posted: 03/02/2012 at 08:00

I was a squash player who turned to Triathlon for fitness, now its Triathlon that's my main sport and only play squash in the winter months, the extra fitness and stamina has made me a better squash player even though I have a 6 month break each year!!

Posted: 13/02/2012 at 12:19

I used to be a cross-country runner, but suffered ankle and achilles injuries so I turned to cycling to give me a new challenge and someone said why don't you try triathlon? That got me thinking...a poor swimmer, good runner, not bad cyclist could really improve overall if I really worked on my swimming. Definitely think that the benefits of my running past are good as you get a feel for how far you can push yourself.  Bring on the triathlon!
Posted: 16/02/2012 at 20:24

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