Off-Season Leg Strengthening Program for Triathletes

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5-10 minute Treadmill Warm-Up

  • Here, you should keep your heart rate at about 60% of your Max Heart Rate. This will allow your blood to get flowing, and your body to prepare for what you are about to put it through.

 Mobility Exercises- 5-10 minutes of dynamic mobility exercises to prepare your joints and muscles for your lifts. I will post about some of these exercises in the future. If you want a good read to learn some good stretches, try Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starret for some great mobility ideas.

Back Squats– 5 reps x 5 sets

  • 85-95% of your 1RM
  • Target: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings
  • Make sure you put your weight in to your heels and sit back
  • Your heels should never come off the groundà if they do, it may be due to calf tightness. If this is the case, try putting small plates under your heels. This may allow you to increase your mobility, depth, and be able to execute proper form.
  • For optimal power which is what we all strive for, slowly go down into the squat, hold at the bottom position (ensure it’s below parallel), then explode quickly up to standing position
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Straight Leg Dead Lifts- 10-12 reps x 3 sets

  • 65-80% of your 1RM
  • Target: Hamstrings
  • Do not fully lock your knees during this movement, as this can lead to tendon or muscle damage. A little bit of a knee bend if optimal.
  • Be sure to focus on keeping your back straight, and maintaining your lordotic curve (the curve in your lower back), as you would with a normal dead lift. Never sacrifice this!

Glute Bridges- 10-12 reps x 3 sets

  • 65-80% of your 1RM
  • Target: Glutes, quadriceps
  • I suggest wrapping a pad or matt around the bar so it doesn’t dig in to your pelvis, as this can be a very painful exercise without.
  • Be sure to hold at the top of the bridge, and squeeze your glutes for a few seconds.
  • For added difficulty, add a band around your thighs, and drive your knees out, throughout the exercise.

*Plié Squats– 10-12 reps x 3 sets

  • 65-80% of your 1RM
  • Hold a dumbbell with your hands shaped like a martini glass around the top head of the dumbbell
  • Point your toes out to the sides, and stand in a nice, wide stance
  • Target: Abductors and Adductors

*Glute Cable Kick Backs- 12-15 reps x 3 sets

  • 65-85% 1RM
  • Be sure to use a good strap for around your ankle, as you don’t want it to let loose and injure you, or break something.
  • This can be done with either a straight leg when you kick back, or a bent knee, in which you would be kicking with your heel to the sky
  • Hold at the top position for a few seconds, and squeeze your glutes

Knee-Ups (plyo)- as many as you can in 45s, 30s then 25s

  • Begin on your knees, with your hands in a position that prepare you to jump
  • Explode as quickly as you can to get up on your feet, hold a squat, and explode to standing position
  • Step back down, to where you are on your knees again, and keep going.

Cool Down- 5-10 minutes of decreasing your heart rate, back to 50% of your heart rate maximum if you can. This will allow your body to help flush out the lactate that you just built up while exercising, and circulate your blood to help with recovery, all while cooling your body down to prepare for rest.


Mobility Exercises- here you can use both static and dynamic stretches to lengthen your muscles, and help them prepare for further recovery. Again, I will touch on more mobility exercises in future posts.


1RM= 1 repetition maximum. This means the most weight that you can lift for 1 rep only. If you’re asked to do a percentage of this weight, then you times the weight of your 1RM by the percentage that you are being asked. For example, if my squat 1RM is 90 kg, I would multiply 90 x 0.85= 76.5 kg I would be lifting for 5 reps.


*= Super set. The three exercises that begin with “*” you can do in a superset with one another. A superset is when you do one set of each exercise, one after the other.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I also add in lunges and step ups to along with all you posted, great article thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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