Brick Workout Alternatives

Friday, February 25, 2011 | By Dr. Rick Kattouf
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In the world of multisport athletes, bike-run or “brick” workouts are very common. One of the main reasons behind brick workouts is to get the athlete accustomed to running well while fatigued after coming off the bike. Here are some of my Suggestions for other brick-type workouts to increase performance.

Weight Training Brick

One of my favorite brick workouts for multisport athletes is a weight training workout followed by a bike workout. I realize that weight training is still not as mainstream as it should be for triathletes. And on top of that, the thought of a triathlete trying to perform bike intervals following a weight training workout can be taboo. I want to help you think outside the box and start to experience the amazing benefits of bike workouts after weightlifting.

Following a workout in the weight room, the muscles are going to be fatigued, and this is by design. Now, making as quick a transition as you can, get on your bike and ride. If you are new to weight training and/or new to this type of brick workout, give your body a few weeks to get accustomed to this. For the first couple weeks, my suggestion is to make your bike ride following the weights an aerobic ride and not a “workout.”

During your weight room workout, consider performing a circuit for your upper and lower body. For example, choose multiple exercises for your abs, low back, upper body and lower body. Perform 8 to 15 repetitions for each exercise and then move quickly and efficiently from one exercise to the next. During circuit training, there is no rest. The only “rest” is simply moving from one exercise to the next. Performing one set of each exercise is one circuit. Start with one circuit if you are new to weight training and work up to 3-4 circuits. Circuit training like this will help to build your muscular strength and power.

As you become more accomplished in the weight room, let’s step up your game just a bit. Perform a similar circuit, but instead of performing X-amount of repetitions, perform each exercise for 1-minute straight, non-stop. This type of circuit will help to build your muscular endurance.

By design, I am trying to fatigue you during your weight training session, especially your lower body. When you ride immediately following your weight workout, in time, you will teach your body to ride and to ride well while fatigued. This is the goal of this brick workout.

Anerobic Brick

After a few weeks of aerobic rides following weight training, it is now time to take it to the next level. Don’t be afraid to schedule one of your anaerobic interval workouts following your weight training. Now, let’s say you are training by power. And let’s say when you first begin these brick workouts and you are not producing the power you are accustomed to. Not to worry… Here is what I want you to do. Just as you have established baseline data in the past, you’re now going to establish new baselines based on your brick workouts.

Mentally, this will keep you very calm and you will not feel like you are losing power and speed. Once you have established new baselines for your cycling workouts after weight training, simply use these numbers as your comparison each time you perform your brick.

Other Brick-Type Workouts

Now, we can also incorporate other brick-type workouts. Perform the same weight training routine explained above followed by a run work out. You can do the same by performing a swim workout following a weight workout. Follow the same protocol as you did with the cycling. For example, as you first begin your weight-run and weight-swim brick workouts, make your run and swim nice, steady aerobic efforts. As you progress, start to incorporate run and swim “efforts” following the weight room workouts. As you did with your bike data, simply start to establish new baselines for the run and swim as well. Before you know it, you will be running, cycling and swimming efficiently and effortlessly following your weight training routine. When you reach this point lookout, you will be an entirely different athlete at a new level of fitness!

If you have been looking for that “shot in the arm” that can help take your multisport training and racing to the next level, try these brick workouts. As with anything new, be patient and give your body the necessary time to get accustomed to the new training regimen. Now, let’s fast-forward. You have done months of weight training brick workouts. It is now time to taper and get ready for the big event. Get ready you just may be producing numbers that you never thought were possible!

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