- Al Painter NASM-CPT, CES, PES
3 REASONS TRIATHLETES SHOULD USE SUSPENSION TRAINING
Endurance athletes only move in one plane of motion when they train and compete. A great majority of them sit all day behind a desk further putting them behind the peak performance 8-ball. Keep in mind, IMO, cycling is a repetitive stress motion that takes place on a seated machine that supports you as you move.
Our bodies are meant to move in a 3-dimensional plane where we provide our own base of support (movement foundation) diagonally through the core and hips. When we incorporate exercises in our strength workouts that not only support, but enhance this, we have the highest chance for optimal performance (not too mention a much lower chance of sustaining and injury).
One of the most effective ways to do this is with suspension training. Especially due to range of equipment price points and the convenience of only needing something to anchor them to for a total body workout.
What is Suspension Training?
Since there is an emphasis on a total body plank while the arms and legs move anchored by the glutes and core, suspension training is a great tool for strengthening the primal patterned movements that can create the necessary strength to optimize being in the pool, on the bike or moving on a pair of running shoes.
The stability benefits that come from the "time under tension" in the core goes a long way to developing a rock solid movement platform. When we keep in mind our bodies can only produce the amount of power our joint stability allows, this is big. Especially from the anti-rotation muscles that support your trunk while swimming or running.
What are the benefits for triathletes?
1) Increasing total body strength
We know that repetitive stress/overuse injuries occur when muscle imbalances pull muscles out of alignment. One of the best ways around this is to create a rock solid core strength movement foundation and mastery of fundamental squat, hinge, push, pull and anti-exercises.
2) More efficient recovery
This modality can also be used effectively to help with post training/competition. Light core and hip work is a great way to reset movement patterns and get the body back on track.
You can open up the front half of the body (particularly the chest and shoulders) in addition to taking the hips through both lateral and rotational movement patterns. Both are really effective at "undoing" the side effects of swimming, running and riding.
3) Multiple Training Phases Can Be Addressed
At various points throughout the year, different phases of training should be followed. I'm a big believer of the Juan Carlos Santana 20-week approach that takes you through 4-weeks of the following:
Short burst interval/cardio high intensity
I've had my heart rate absolutely blasted in a TRX class I took from Alison Corcoran from Goldilocks Training. The MIO Fuse wrist based HRM I wore showed my heart rate was in the same intensity zones I've hit racing my mountain bike.
Here are three exercises that you can plug into your core strength training program that may help you swim faster, drive more power to the pedals and run more efficiently.
Diagonal stability is what you'll work on with this exercise. This is absolutely critical to move your best.
This exercise will strength the back half of the body. This goes a long way to opening up the shoulders and stabilizing the trunk.
Lateral Lunge From a Single Leg Stance
This exercise can open up the hips laterally as well as activate diagonal stabilization mechanisms on of the foot the "kickstand" leg and opposite hand.
With the right approach to strengthening your body out of the pool, off the bike and in between runs, you can increase your chances of performing better and lower your chances of getting injured.
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