The world’s best experts answer your strength training questions. Whether you want to learn about competitive weight lifting, sport specific strength training, or injury recovery and prevention, browse advice from experts like Wendy McLure and Matthew Pendola.
A coach should be looking for movement quality, position, pattern and power in their athletes movements. Movement quality is the most important factor and should be established before any other factors are addressed. Transcript: "Hey, Melanie. Right, what should a coach be looking for in their athlete's movements? Phew, that's going to be a tough one to answer in 60 seconds or less. But if we boil it down to the critical components, number one is movement quality. Movement quality precedes all else. So if you don't know how to get in and out of the positions you need to do, and you can't do it with rhythm and timing, then that's where you need to start. So number one is movement quality. Once you've established that movement quality, the three big P's are going to be position, pattern, and power. Do I have the mobility, stability, and rhythm to get into position, that's part one. But then the pattern. Do I have the coordination and control? Can I fire things at the right time in the right order at the right speed to get there and get back? And then, finally, if I do have the right positions, and I can perform the right patterns, well, now I can add power. And that could be absolute strength, that could be relative strength, that could be speed strength, strength speed, strength endurance. They're all components of power, right? But before we start loading the movement, we need to first learn the movement. So, again, for me, movement quality precedes all else. And, yes, that includes asymmetries. Number two, position, pattern, and power. That's about as simple as I can dice that one down for you. Thanks for the question. I hope it helps."
Upper body pulling exercises are important for triathletes because they help to correct the internal rotation of the shoulders caused by swimming, cycling, and sitting. This can help prevent shoulder impingement injuries and rotator cuff injuries as well as improve posture and movement economy. Pulling exercises should be done in a ratio of more pulling than pushing in order to maintain balance. Transcript: "Can you explain why upper body pulling exercises are important for triathletes in their, you know, overall performance? Three things we're doing. When we're swimming, we've got a lot of internal rotation of the shoulders. Cycling, we're on aero bars, we've got this internal rotation as well. And then we got sitting, driving, looking at phones. Everything we're doing in our life wants to kind of pull us forward. Problem is that throws off the alignment of the shoulder and it can lead to shoulder impingement injuries and rotator cuff injuries. So to correct that, we want to make sure we have a lot of horizontal pulling. Now the thing is, vertical pulling like a chin-up or pull-up are good, but they're also internal rotators as well because the last insert on the femur, on the humerus in turns it internally. So we want this horizontal pulling where we're taking our shoulder blades and we're squeezing them together at the back. This can be done with stuff like TRX suspension systems, we can do with dumbbells, we can do it with cables, we can do it with bands. So the idea is make sure that those are critical exercises we want to put in. And the ratio we often want to put in is we want to have a little bit more pulling than we do for pushing. So if we've got say three dumbbell chest press exercises, sets in our program, we might want to put four or five horizontal rowing to make sure we're starting to correct that imbalance that we have. Not only will that help keep our shoulders healthy, but will help our posture and help our movement economy."
Calf isometrics exercises can help athletes increase their performance, reduce injuries, and improve overall strength. They are a simple exercise that only takes a few minutes to do a couple of times a week. Transcript: "How do foot and ankle exercises such as calf isometrics contribute to the athlete's overall strength and performance? The ankle, the reason why I like the calf isometrics is because really having a stiff ankle is the key to running faster and to be able to transmit energy in a run. Also, when we're on the bike, the weak point, if we're driving the pedals, we got the ankle, the knee, and the hip. The ankle is the weak link in the chain, so the ability to develop strength and stiffness in the ankle is going to increase our riding efficiency and our power output. So also, from a strength of injury prevention standpoint, I think it's critical because we don't have that stiffness and that strength in the ankle, then we're going to have to be pushing off of our calf and that puts more stress on the soleus and the calf, leading to, you know, overuse injuries of the lower leg, which we commonly see in a lot of masters triathletes. So for those reasons, it's a simple exercise to do. I've got a whole playlist on the foot and ankle exercises, which I hope you should check out. And add those to your program because it takes a few minutes a couple times a week, but can really help in terms of reducing injuries and also increasing your performance."
To warm up for training, one can do dynamic exercises such as walking lunges with rotation, leg swings, arm swings, arm circles, and ab adduction on the hips. Transcript: "So there are any number of exercises, dynamic warm-ups that an individual can perform. My suggestion would be any movement to loosen up or warm up the shoulders, the torso area, the hips, particularly the hips, and then of course knees and ankles, the torso, rotation drills, exercises, anything along those lines. So again, there's a number of different exercises, walking lunges with rotation is a simple example, leg swings, arm swings, arm circles, ab adduction on the hips. Those are all simple exercises that a person can use dynamically to prepare for training."
I recommend doing weighted tibial raises to increase ankle flexibility, mobility, and strength. It also works overall mobility and can be scaled up to help improve shoulder flexibility and mobility for streamlining. Transcript: "For swimmers looking to increase ankle flexibility, mobility, and strength, I like doing this version of weighted tibial raises. It works overall mobility due to the dorsiflexion component for strength and the plantar flexion component for flexibility, which are essential factors while kicking. And as an added bonus, you can scale up this exercise to help improve your shoulder flexibility and mobility for your streamline."
Begin an individual assessment to identify your training needs, then focus on taking care of your joints and spine by moving them in their active range of motion daily with a simple routine like the one found on YouTube with Marco cars. Transcript: "Start with an assessment, you are an individual, and your training should really reflect that, so identify exactly what you need. So you can save time and be efficient and avoid setbacks something as simple as looking at how well your spine, those that can be crucial from there. You can really think about just taking care of your joints, moving them every single day, to their active range of motion with something, like cars is really simple to YouTube and Marco cars, this whole routine will come up, you can start today"