This plan was designed by Joe Friel for the serious triathlete who wants to improve strength in the Prep and Base periods of the season. This weight-lifting program is based on the model described in The Triathletes Training Bible. It is only for advanced triathletes who are experienced with weight training having lifted weights seriously before.
This program may be blended in with a Joe Friel Base period triathlon training program by changing the days of the week when it calls for a strength session. This plan calls for two strength sessions each week.
Purpose: Build greater muscular strength for later conversion to power for swimming, biking and running. One of the challenges in lifting weights is that it tends to decrease your capacity for higher cadences, especially on the bike. Note that after each strength session the instructions suggest you spin on a bike for 5-10 minutes. The purpose here is to “remind” the neuromuscular system of how to make quick and smooth pedal strokes.
Progression: There are four phases in this strength program. Each of the first three builds on the previous phase to create greater strength. The last phase is a maintenance phase to be followed throughout the Build and Peak periods (once each week). Here are the phases with an overview of each:
Anatomical Adaptation (AA)
The purpose is adaptation of general body muscles and tendons to the stresses of strength training in preparation for the greater loading of the Maximum Strength (MS) phase to follow. This phase will last 2 weeks. On completing 4 sessions you will move on to the next phase.
Maximum Transition (MT)
This phase will provide for transition from the light loads and high reps of the AA phase to the heavy loads and low reps of the MS phase. Complete 4 of these sessions before progressing to MS.
Maximum Strength (MS)
The MS phase is the final stage of strength development before beginning to convert strength to swim, bike and run force with sport-specific training. This phase will improve your strength reserve and develop the maximum force capabilities of muscles and tendons by improving neuromuscular recruitment patterns. In later training this will be converted to muscular endurance and power. You will complete 8 of these sessions.
Strength Maintenance (SM)
The purpose this phase is to maintain muscular strength throughout the season. It is typically only done once each week in the Build and Peak periods, but may be done twice weekly in the later Base periods.