Bodyweight Home Circuit Workout for Triathletes
Strength train at home
With many triathletes looking to avoid crowded gyms due to the pandemic, we thought it would be appropriate to provide you with a bodyweight workout that you can do in the comfort of your rec-room. These exercises and movements will improve strength and mobility to help you get through your base-building phase this fall. You can do this workout once or twice a week. If you have free weights, feel free to add them in where necessary. Always focus on form first before loading an exercise.
Exercise A1) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat to Calf Raise
For: Upper and lower leg strength, hip stability, single leg balance
How: Stand in front of a chair or couch and place the top of one foot on the edge of the curved surface. Squat down and bring your rear knee toward the floor. Ensure your stride is long enough so that you can touch the floor easily. Lean over slightly and make sure most of your weight is over your front foot. Return to the upright position.
Do: 1 set of 15 reps/leg, then move on to Exercise A2
Exercise A2) Inverted Broomstick Row
For: Upper body strength and posture
How: Lie on your back on the floor in between two chairs with a hockey stick or strong broomstick placed across. Grab hold of the stick with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Pull your chest to the stick while keeping your back flat. Keep your chin tucked and squeeze your upper back muscles to slightly move your shoulder blades towards each other. Lower yourself back to the starting position.
Do: 1 set of 12-15 reps, then move on to Exercise A3
Exercise A3) Tabletop to Downward Dog Overhead Press
For: Upper body strength and healthy shoulder blade movement/function with overhead movements (e.g., swimming)
How: Go into a tabletop position with your hands beneath your shoulders with your hips over your knees, knees bent and toes on the floor. Lift your knees 2” off the floor. Next, push through the heels of your palms to move your hips into the air to approach a downward dog. Your body will approach a pike with almost a straight line going from your hands to your hips. Make sure you reach your arms long over your head so that your shoulder blades rotate and move toward your ears as if doing an overhead press. Return to the starting position.
Do: 1 set of 15 reps, then return to Exercise A1 and complete 2-3 total rounds
Exercise B1) Single Leg Romanian Deadlift to Karate Kid
For: Lower body strength, single leg balance and hip stability
How: Stand on one leg with your knee slightly bent. Bend over and reach your opposite leg behind you. Hold your arms out to the side and form an airplane. Return to standing, keep your arms out to your side and bring your knees toward your chest (“Karate Kid”). Lower you leg and return to the airplane.
Do: 1 set of 15 reps/leg, then move on to Exercise B2
Exercise B2) Front Plank with Dig
For: Core strength and stability
How: Lie on your stomach on the floor with your elbows and forearms beneath your shoulders and your palms facing up. Lift your body into the air from your forearms and toes. Expand your upper back and feel your shoulder blades move away from your spine. Next, tuck in your hips to create a slightly rounded back. Lastly, dig your forearms into the floor as if bringing your elbows towards your hips. Hold this digging action and plank for 10-seconds.
Do: 1 set of 8×10-sec digs, then move on to Exercise B3
Exercise B3) Tabletop with Upper Back Rotation
For: Upper spine rotation mobility
How: Go on your hands and knees and sit back toward your ankles. Place one hand behind your head and lower your elbow toward the floor, toward your opposite elbow. Next, turn your elbow toward the ceiling, rotating through your upper back. Return to the starting position.
Do: 1 set of 20/side, then return to Exercise B1 and complete 2-3 total rounds
Exercise C1) Single Leg Hip Lift
For: Lower body strength and hip stability
How: Lie on your back in front of a chair or couch and place one foot on the edge. Your knee should be bent greater than 90-degrees. Next, point your toes away from you, then push into the edge to lift your hips up. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor.
Do: 1 set of 20 reps/side, then move on to Exercise C2
Exercise C2) Side Plank Clamshell
For: Core stability and hip strength
How: Lie on your side on your forearm/elbow with your knees bent and stacked together. Lift your hips off the ground and movement forward to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. As this happens, lift your top knee up like you’re opening your hips like a door hinge. Slowly reverse the movements and return your hips to the floor.
Do: 1 set of 20 reps/side, then move on to Exercise C3
Exercise C3) Bird Dog from Hands and Toes
For: Upper body and back strength and core stability
How: Go on your hands and toes with your shoulders above your hands and hips above your knees. Lift your knees 2” off the floor and expand your upper back to move your shoulder blades away from your spine. Next, ensure you have a neutral spine, then lift one arm and the opposite leg off the floor. Reach for the horizontal with each limb while keeping your balance. Return those limbs to the floor, then switch sides.
Do: 1 set of 20 reps/side, then return to Exercise C1 and complete 2-3 total rounds
Jon-Erik Kawamoto, MSc, CK, CSCS is a regular contributor to TMC and has been a certified kinesiologist and strength and conditioning specialist for over 15 years. He co-owns a fitness training, nutrition and run coaching gym in St. John’s called JKConditioning (www.JKConditioning.com).
This story originally appeared in the November, 2021 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.