Strength training can be a beneficial part of any training plan, if it is executed properly in both method and timing. In multisport training schedules, it can often be difficult to determine the best place to insert the workout, due to the hours already dedicated to the two, or three, core sports. It has to be challenging, yet still adjust intensity based on the periodization, or phase, of the entire training plan. I have found that Mondays tend to be the best days for my gym visits, and I can look forward to that workout being the singular thing I do for training that day. It’s the workout that starts my week, and it affects how the rest of the week will play out.
Proper nutrition is absolutely essential to your training, especially in this case where the workouts may come after a weekend schedule of long training sessions or doubled up workouts such as “bricks”. If you’re lacking in proper recovery nutrition, it will show up in the following days as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.). D.O.M.S has the ability to sabotage your workouts due to soreness experienced in the days following hard efforts. It’s a snowball effect that can derail the rest of your week, and over time, your mechanical function and performance improvements.
Different gyms will offer you different equipment options in which to perform your workouts. Maybe you have a home-gym setup, use a community center, private gym or national chain. The better equipped it is, the more you targeted your resistance training can be. My workouts have taken place in both well-equipped community centers and national chain clubs. The investment in equipment options and maintenance of the equipment is worth it to me. I’ll point out some of the exercises that I’ve found make a difference for my performance. Hygiene note: Be sure to wipe down the equipment after you complete your set of repetitions, especially if you’re working on other machines during multiple sets. Nobody should have to clean up after you, nor should you after somebody else.
Stretching and Core Work
Let’s not forget that long relaxed muscles and a strong core are a foundation for preventing injuries, being mechanically efficient and decreased recovery time. If you can spend the first 15-20 minutes of your gym routine stretching and working on your core muscles, your body will likely respond better for it. I like to use a combination of yoga stretches, core work on the Swiss ball and foam rolling. There are a lot of resources out there for Swiss ball exercises. I would recommend getting instruction from a qualified yoga instructor on proper technique and form. I would also seek a knowledgeable person – perhaps a friend who’s a physical therapist – to instruct you on foam rolling. Ask other athletes if they know of coaches or experts in that area. You might start to love the foam roller as much as I do!
[To be continued]