A few weeks ago DoTraining hosted Mark Jarvis and his strength and conditioning for triathlon workshop. Providing top quality coaches and workshop content is part of our mission to provide top quality strength and conditioning resources to fitness professionals across England.
On May 4th Mark Jarvis’ to his opportunity to raise the bar and challenge the coaches and fitness professionals in attendance. Strength and Conditioning for Triathlon – the 4th discipline, did not disappoint and several knowledge bombs were dropped, and take home messages taken.
Once again the impressive facility in East London SPORTHOUSE was the venue. Without fail everyone of the attendee’s first impression of SPORTHOUSE is something like “Awesome” “Unreal” “Amazing”. DoTraining are very privileged to be able to host our workshops in what we and many others consider the best commercial training facility in the UK.
As always our workshop started promptly and Mark gave us some insight into his background and work experience with the EIS and West Brom FC. As well as discussing his current projects and PhD research into plyometrics. Unfortunately, through no lack of trying; we were unable to attract actual triathletes to the workshop. This is perhaps one of the biggest problems when coaching or training Triathletes. The mentality or said athletes, is that to get better you must put in more hours on the bike, more distance in the pool and more laps around the track. Mark quickly dispelled this myth and raised the valid point that strength and conditioning for triathlon is often the missing link in many triathletes training. Hopefully all the quality coaches in attendance will be able to pass on the message that – Strength and Power training is essential to a triathlete wanting to improve and push the boundaries of their performance.
The workshop was broken up into two lectures and two practical sessions. In the first of the lectures we looked at what strength is, and why it can benefit not only triathletes but all endurance sports athletes. We as strength coaches know that our number one role it to help reduce and prevent injuries to our athletes. When talking about endurance sports; overuse injuries and preventable injuries will inevitably put a halt to triathletes’ training and competing. To quote Mark – “A good strength training program will achieve the dual goals of optimizing mechanics (critical) and also improving tissue tolerance (muscle, connective tissue and bones)”
So Mark explained how strength and conditioning for triathlon can help limit the effect of injuries, but how can strength and conditioning for triathlon help improve your swim, cycle and run? Well I’m not going to give you all the nuggets of the workshop, if
you wanted them you should have attended and/or purchase Mark’s book for the answers. However, I will say that Mark talked about how effective plyometric training will improve running economy. How strength and power training will improve peak power output on the bike. And he also got the delegates doing some great “core” exercises (see above) to help improve segmental control, which will result in improved swimming performance.
Now it was time for the practical and we took advantage of the nice weather and went outside onto the track. Mark took us through his favorite movement prep warm ups, and some running drills. We then hit the weight room for some insight into functional upper body training, balance and progressive trunk conditioning, and some single leg strength exercises. All of which will make your triathlete more robust, injury resilient and performing better.
The last lecture and practical really focused on the elements of strength and power training that will really help triathletes. He highlighted the issue that the 1st goal should be to always optimize mechanics and reduce injury risk. If you have a relatively weak athlete then strength training will see them gain in power. If however you have a relatively strong athlete then power training and most notably plyometric training will be your key to “unleashing the beast” in your athletes. Mark backed up all his philosophies with published research and some of his own PhD work.
All in all there was a lot of useful information to take away to apply directly to training the endurance athletes but also cross over into other sports and disciplines. As with all DoTraining workshops, there was a great chance to network and share ideas with other strength and conditioning coaches and fitness professionals. This is somewhat the highlight of hosting these workshops and it really makes for interesting conversations and debates over lunch and in the break. To read what some of the delegates thought be sure to visit the DoTraining workshop Review page.
Want to attend a similar workshop in the future? Then be sure to check out what’s up and coming in the next few months from DoTraining workshops HERE.