Strength And Power Training For Triathlon Is Imperative

I have competed in triathlon for over 15 years, at various levels. I am by no means a professional athlete, but I do consider myself an athlete. I am also a busy human who tends to spend so much time coaching other people that I neglect my own sessions. Training for 3 sports in a week takes up a lot of time, so the idea of trying to fit in one, or even two strength sessions on top of normal training is near impossible. I’m going to tell you why it is so worthwhile.

Triathlon athletes have to split their focus across a swim, bike and run – three separate sports with entirely different demands on the body. Sure, the ride and run both mainly require use of the legs- but that is where the similarity ends. With such a high variation of demand on the body, it is important that a triathlete is strong through every movement. This is because weakness in any area of the body will result in another weakness somewhere else, and so the cycle is never ending. Have you ever had an injury, which fixes itself, only to expose another? What is happening here is that your body showed you it was weak in some place, and compensated for it (momentary) by sacrificing strength in another area.

If you compete in triathlon, you tend to like the outdoors and training for a purpose instead of simply ‘exercising’; so being in a gym just might be your worst nightmare. But injuries and poor performance are slightly higher on that list.

So why weights training then?

  • Injury prevention

If the primary muscles responsible for each discipline are not strong enough for the repetitive nature of endurance swimming, cycling or running, they get tired quickly and easily.  Then, other muscles try to help them out, performing tasks that they simply were not made to perform. It’s like your arms trying to do the most work whilst running- they assist, but they should not be doing most of the work. Strength training reduces this issue significantly, reducing not only risk of injury but the impact of current injuries and ‘niggles’.

  • Performance plateau

So you have been training for a while, and made some good improvements, and now you’re not getting faster. In order to get each and every stroke, revolution, and step faster across the distance you compete in, you need to be strong and powerful. When you start to plateau, trying to run further or do speed sessions at a higher intensity will not help you- strength training will.

  • The evidence

I myself have always been happy with a sub-50min 10km run. Until I started doing my weights training regularly with a good coach; I got stronger and faster, then I just started running fast without even training to do so. I won the QLD triathlon series with some times that I was stoked with, and I can honestly say the only thing I have changed is incorporating gym into my routine.

  • Great cross-training for the off-season
    This is the easiest time to add strength, as you have time to recover with less load coming from your swimming, cycling and running training. It is important that your strength training involves an aspect of power- fast, explosive movements, as this is what will help you most during your races. Finally, whole body workouts are the recipe for success, keep the reps around 6-8, and move through exercises using a superset regime.

  • Fat Loss and metabolismWhilst fat loss is entirely individual, strength training and increasing your muscle mass have strongly associations to fat burning. Usually more muscle means a better metabolism whilst training and resting, so there is an added perk to strength training.

    I encourage you to read more about strength training for triathlon and other endurance sports, and if you have ANY questions, send me an, or comment below.




Happy training!


Trigger Pointing Is Your Friend

SO what do we know about trigger pointing? It hurts. I forget to do it. And I can’t always find time to do it. But I can’t live without it.

Trigger points are discrete spots located in skeletal muscle, that produce pain either on the trigger point or in a referred nature. A one off injury or repetitive microtrauma may lead to the development of stress on muscle fibers and the formation of trigger points. These points cause frequent, persistent pain and a decreased range of motion in the affected muscles, and usually the muscle shuts down to protect itself. In turn, the muscles used to maintain body posture and correct movement are compromised.

At Acceleration we believe in trigger pointing whenever you get the chance. Our athletes are made to trigger point before training in order to increase their range of motion in the muscles, which will increase performance and decrease risk of injury. Although trigger pointing is a great method of self-treatment for those already-sore spots, it is important that we have a preventative approach to trigger pointing. This means that even if you do not currently have any painful spots, by being consistent with your trigger pointing you can decrease the chance of injury dramatically. It doesn’t always feel nice at the time, but it feels better than an injury!

The theory behind trigger pointing is explained well in the video below, which looks at how trigger points occur in the body and how they are released. Trigger pointing is most effective when it is worked into an athlete’s daily routine.

Have you done your self release lately? I’m off now to spend some time on the ball!
Trigger pointing explained…

It’S Time To Put The Work In

With all winter codes nearing an end it’s time to start organising your off-season. That may be a foreign concept for some of you, however it is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses and further improve your strengths.

Many athletes look forward to the off-season for either one of two reasons. It’s time to relax and enjoy some time off, or it’s time to put the hard work in to come back bigger, faster and stronger for the next season.

Personally, I like a combination of the two. Allowing your mind to have a break from your chosen sport(s) whilst catching up on the things you missed during the season is definitely something all athletes should experience, however the opportunity to improve over the off-season should not be taken for granted!

Structure your weeks so that you have time for family, friends and hobbies; but do not forget that there is ample opportunity to work hard. With no structured team training or games during the weekend, you can fit in more time for your physical preparation.

Talk to your coach and decide on what is most important for you to work on during the time you have available. Strength levels typically decline or stagnate during your in-season, as to does relative power levels. Set some goals for the off-season and lets start working towards them now!

Brett Robertson
Director of Performance

Athlete Spotlight: Bridie Kean

This weeks athlete spotlight is on two time Paralympic medallist Bridie Kean. Bridie won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Bridie spent many hours in the Acceleration gym perfecting her posture and stability in order to achieve the control needed to play at the highest level.

Sport: Wheelchair Basketball

Team: Australian Gliders (captain)

Coach: Brett Robertson

Bridie’s Comment:  “Training with Brett provided me excellent support in the lead up to our qualification event. Brett’s attention to detail and ability to think outside the box challenged me and enabled me to make physical gains in the lead up to Thailand.

“It was a great feeling to go into a tournament confident in my preparation and training. There had been things that I thought I would never be able to do (i.e chin ups) that we made happen in the gym over regular training. The changes made physically in the gym, transferred into confidence that I was prepared for Thailand and that was a pretty great feeling. I will be taking that into the World Championship campaign”

Read more about Bridie here

Athlete Spotlight: Manuel Garcia

July’s athlete spotlight in on long term client Jose ‘Manuel’ Garcia. Manuel has been training with Acceleration since 2005 with a long term goal of improving his all-round athleticism. During his time with us we have seen his 20m sprint drop from 3.30sec to 2.85sec, whilst increasing his Vertical Jump, Overhead throw and relative strength levels.

Name: Jose ‘Manuel’ Garcia

DOB: 22 Nov 1987

Teams played for: Brisbane City, Wynnum Wolves, North star, Brisbane Knights

Date started training at Acceleration: some time in 2005

Greatest sporting achievement: Winning National Championships with Queensland 2005. And winning Goal of the season in Sunshine coast premier league 2013.

Why do you train at Acceleration: To be as quick as I can be over 20m through to 100m, while working on my weak points to prevent injury.

Results attained at Acceleration: Decreased 20m sprint time from 3.30sec to 2.85sec. Decreased pro-agility from 5.22sec to 4.88sec. Increased lower body strength by 100%.

What Is Interference And How Do We Minimise Its Effects?

In many major sporting codes played in Australia; Australian Football, Rugby Union and Rugby League, both the aerobic system and the strength/power systems are required simultaneously. Concurrent training is the specific training of both these two capacities in immediate succession or within 24 hours of recovering from one capacity. Here lies the possible interference effect where the development of one capacity is hindered due to the training of the other capacity.

Research suggests the interference effect is minimal in untrained athletes, whereas in trained athletes the effect is more evident. So why do we experience this interference effect and how do we minimise it?
There are many mechanisms behind the interference effect, namely a negative energy balance (more energy expended than available), high training workloads (training both aerobic system and strength system) and residual fatigue (fatigue accumulating in muscle groups).

Overcoming the interference effect involves prioritising training goals and careful planning. Train the capacity that is in the most need of attention and then plan the less important training sessions around it. If you absolutely need to perform both capacities in the same training session, aim to start with the strength and power training then finish with the conditioning. This reduces the potential of neural and metabolic fatigue.

Brett Robertson
Director of Performance


Too often parents tell me that their son or daughter has been training more and more every week, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. My first question to them is, when do they have time to rest and recover?

This question is met with a mixture of answers, most of which start with denial and a misunderstanding of what their child can handle.

I provide a link today, which explains the idea behind Minimum Effective Dose (MED), the theory of training with the most effective load the body can handle in one day. In days gone by, we have heard the saying “more is better”, however, we need to change that to “better is better”.

 Our body needs to recover and regenerate after a particularly hard training session, this can take anywhere from 24 hours to 96 hours. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you can recover from every training session in the same time, listen to your body and modify your training appropriately.