Quick Start Guide: Strength Training For Triathlons

strength training for triathlons

You like a challenge. That’s why you’re thinking about entering a triathlon. But, while you’re in fairly good shape, you’re not quite where you need to be yet. 

So now you’re wondering: what kind of strength training do triathletes do in order to optimize their performance? Ask and ‘ye shall receive. Here is your quick start guide to strength training for triathlons. 

How Frequently Should You Strength Train for a Triathlon?

A triathlon is, at its core, an endurance event. As such, when strength training for a triathlon, the key is to gain strength without packing on a lot of muscle. The more muscle you have, the more you’ll weigh, and the harder time you’ll have of dragging yourself to the finish line. 

So, what does this mean? It means that strength training should be used as a supplement to cardiovascular training. It should be secondary. 

Generally speaking, when getting ready for a triathlon, it’s best to strength train 2 to 3 times a week. Each training session should consist of around 10 exercises (2 to 3 sets per exercise, with each set consisting of between 10 and 20 reps at a moderate weight). It’s best not to train to failure. 

Exercises to Perform 

The key to triathlon strength training is to gain functional strength, primarily in the core and the legs. The stronger your core and your legs, the better job you’ll do of keeping yourself upright toward the end of the event. Some exercises that will provide the desired results include the following. 


Deadlifts are imperative, as they hit almost every muscle in the body. Not only do they help to gain strength in the legs, but in the back and the abdominals as well. If there’s one strength training exercise you’re going to do, it should be this one. 


Like deadlifts, squats work almost every muscle in the body. While they’re best for strengthening the legs, they add quite a bit of core strength as well. If you’re interested in supplementing the benefits of squats, you could add lunges to your repertoire as well. 


One of the best abdominal strengthening exercises is planks. The longer you can hold yourself in a plank position, the longer you’ll be able to hold yourself up at the end of your triathlon. 


If you’re looking to strengthen your back, you should throw some pull-ups into your routine. Start out with your bodyweight only. Then, if you can, add some weights to your waist. 


To add strength to the calf muscles, you should do some step-ups. If you really want to add some explosion to your calves, you should implement box jumps as well. 

Ready to Start Strength Training for Triathlons?

Has this guide prepared you to start strength training for triathlons? Have a local triathlon in your sights? If so, you might be interested in purchasing a triathlon charm. 

Triathlon charms are the perfect aesthetic accessories to wear during triathlons and triathlon-style events. Check out one of our triathlon charms now!