Printed in Endurance Magazine as Cross-training for Triathletes, December 2012

When most people think of “cross-training” they immediately think of spinning on a bike, rowing on the Concept 2, taking a Masters swim class, or any other cardiovascular activity other than running. When a triathlete thinks of cross training, they should immediately think of resistance, and the answer should unequivocally be “Yes!”.

In 2011, an Australian named Craig “Crowie” Alexander raced to a course record in the Ironman Kona World Championships shredding the field and seeking redemption from what he called a letdown in 2010 (although he did win in 2009 and 2008). Another Aussie, Chris “Macca” McCormack, let a group of strong riders out at a faster pace than Alexander could hold and even though his run was superior, he could never catch McCormack. Determined to not let that happen again in 2011, Alexander added a few more tricks to his training arsenal including an amped up weight resistance routine. With a combination of weights, bands, medicine balls, and TRX training, he became a much stronger athlete which he feels contributed his record-breaking 2011 performance.

When you take a look at how much it affected someone who was already at the top, imagine how it could change the age grouper just looking to podium or finish in the top half. And while most of the strongest triathletes continue throughout the season, there is no better time to start than now.

In articles past, I’ve covered some exercises for endurance athletes and you can find many of them on our YouTube channel. This time around, I’m giving you a specific two day a week plan that you need to try for 8 weeks. A good idea would be to get your body fat percentage tested so you know what weight differences are muscular and which are just attributed to fat. We all know the volume of your cardiovascular training goes down while eating inversely goes up over the holidays. So unless you’re training for a late winter/early spring race, pay attention to diet as well. Theoretically, your body fat should go down, or if already low, stay the same. And some people may actually gain weight. Don’t freak out and quit lifting! The weight will come back down when the volume of endurance activities goes back up and the eating is better controlled after the holidays. And what you’ll be left with, will be a leaner, stronger, faster athlete come race time.

Obviously, I suggest a more varied approach to the exercises than just the same two days over the course of the 8 weeks. But I will try and simplify things a bit for those looking to do this on their own. I will make available all of the videos on YouTube that correspond to the exercise listed below and try my best to also give verbal cues and suggestions. The movements should not be too advanced and if you are looking to make them more difficult just email me. Some may stick with a schedule of the same two days. If you do this, I strongly encourage you to allow 2-3 days between the exercises (ie. Mon/Thur, Mon/Fri combos are great!). Try and get a decent sweat going for your 8-10 minute warm-up and complete 3 sets of each exercise for 10 reps unless noted. Let’s call this the triathlete (T) plan of 16 days of exercise, or the self-named T16X for those familiar with the much more popular commercial namesake version.

Day 1

Squat hops on the BOSU

Spider push ups on the BOSU

Bent over SA Alt Rows

SA inclined DB press to fly

DB step-ups

Dynamax Rotations into Slams

NG tricep push downs

TRX single leg lunge into hops

Day 2

KB front squats



Rubberbanditz Superman Push-ups

Standing SLR x 4 ways

Bentover Bilateral Band Pulls

TRX Crunch into Pendulums

TRX W Rows (external and internal)

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