Triathlon training can be time consuming when you’re covering three disciplines, which all need a different approach and different levels of intensity.
Just seven weeks before this year’s London Triathlon, I was lucky enough to get a place. I had kept up my fitness since last year’s race but I needed to concentrate on strengthening my legs in preparation for the bike section, and I knew I could work on my run speed and improve my overall finish time.
So when Power Plate approached me about swapping one of my training sessions for their new Tri Fit class, I was intrigued to find out if it could offer me additional training benefits.
Power Plate involves performing a range of stretches and movements on a vibrating platform which forces your muscles to contract 30 times per second - imagine trying to perform 30 squats a second for 45 seconds and you can see why they call this an intensive work out. Your muscles work harder, building up stamina and endurance over a shorter period of time.
This form of exercising is growing in popularity and while not everyone is yet convinced that performing a workout on a vibrating platform is for them, Lucie and Rupal at Power Plate Academy were confident they could help me to see a difference in my strengthening workouts from the first session.
The first thing I noticed about the Academy studio (there are several locations around the UK – powerplate.co.uk) was how friendly it feels - there are only five power plates in the studio so each session feels personal and informal, while also allowing the instructor to watch each participant and identify any errors with position or form throughout the class.
The Tri Fit class is split into five sections. After a warm up, you perform a series of exercises that focus on the range of movements for each discipline. A cool down ends the session.
Warm up includes a good stretch of the hamstrings, hip flexors and quads. These active stretches are designed to target the body’s tightest muscles. Lucie, my instructor, recommended I should also start with an IT band stretch; the brick session that I'd done several days earlier left this area tight too.
To replicate the conditions in a triathlon, we moved through the exact motions taken by each muscle group in the order they would be worked during the race. This is designed to recreate the muscle fatigue you’ll experience during each portion of the race and also to strengthen the muscles needed during each transition - mainly bike to run.
The swim training section involved four key exercises, two for the arms and two for the legs. Strengthening exercises for the shoulders and chest concentrated on freestyle and breaststroke movements to give a total body workout and help prevent any muscle imbalances or joint injuries. The use of resistance cables throughout both sets of movements provided additional force to work against and engaged the core.
Lunges and leg extensions to work the core, glutes and adductors (inner thighs) were next. Both sets of exercises used the Power Plate to engage and strengthen the muscles that are key in developing a powerful kick.
The cycle training section featured the most strenuous and challenging movements. The three main exercises concentrated on working all muscle groups in the legs by strengthening, building endurance and offering an element of cardio. Replicating the cycling motion with your legs while working against resistance cables and the vibrating plate forced muscles to work harder.
The running training involved four exercises - planks for the core, two types of lunges and a running press up for work on the hamstrings and glutes. The running press up in particular continued the cardiovascular element from the cycle section. Coupled with the fatigue I felt from the previous exercises and the vibrations on the plate, this gave me that heavy-legged feeling I’d experience on the run section of the race.
The class was demanding and fast paced. The 25 minutes whizzed by and the cool down massage was a welcome finish to the session. My body recovered quickly between each of the sets but you feel the effects over the next 24 hours and for the first few sessions my muscles felt sore for a few days afterwards.
I found the Power Plate Tri Fit classes to be an excellent way to add variety to triathlon training, while not having to worry about losing any momentum in the endurance and strengthening you would achieve through one of your regular training session.
For more information on Power Plate Tri Fit, visit powerplate.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org