Strength training improves exercise economy in triathletes during a simulated triathlon

Kate M. Luckin-Baldwin, Claire E. Badenhorst, Ashley J. Cripps, Grant J. Landers, Robert J. Merrells, Max K. Bulsara, Gerard F. Hoyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The completion of concurrent strength and endurance training can improve exercise economy in cyclists and runners; however, the efficacy of strength training (ST) implementation to improve economy in long-distance (LD) triathletes has not yet been investigated. The purpose of this study was to investigate physiological outcomes in LD triathletes when ST was completed concurrently to endurance training. Methods: A total of 25 LD triathletes were randomly assigned to either 26 weeks of concurrent endurance and ST (n = 14) or endurance training only (n = 11). The ST program progressed from moderate (8-12 repetitions, =75% of 1-repetition maximum, weeks 0-12) to heavy loads (1-6 repetitions, =85% of 1-repetition maximum, weeks 14-26). Physiological and performance indicators (cycling and running economy, swim time, blood lactate, and heart rate) were measured during a simulated triathlon (1500-m swim, 60-min cycle, and 20-min run) at weeks 0, 14, and 26. Maximal strength and anthropometric measures (skinfolds and body mass) were also collected at these points. Results: The endurance strength group significantly improved maximal strengthmeasures at weeks 14 and 26 (P < .05), cycling economy from weeks 0 to 14 (P < .05), and running economy from weeks 14 to 26 (P < .05) with no change in body mass (P > .05). The endurance-only group did not significantly improve any economy measures. Conclusions: The addition of progressive load ST to LD triathletes' training programs can significantly improve running and cycling economy without an increase in body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-673
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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