Strength training: exercises that pack a punch

Maintaining strength is important for both runners and triathletes. Off-season training is a great time to focus on increasing total body strength. As the holidays approach, we all get busier, and strength training sometimes gets put on the back burner. Looking ahead to next season can help increase motivation to work on strength. Stronger, balanced muscles decrease injury risk and increase performance. In between training cycles is a great time to zero in on correcting imbalances in the body and building a strong foundation for next race season. There are so many exercises we can do. It can be hard to know which ones are right. You coach can pinpoint specific exercises which will be right for you. As runners and triathletes, we are always thinking about efficiency. And as time gets tight during the holidays, here is a list of exercises which provide a lot of “bang for your buck.” 1) Push-ups. Push-ups are versatile, can be done anywhere, no weights required. Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, arm and core. They are great for any level of fitness. Beginners can start building strength with wall or knee push-ups. Proper form is important. Keep the core engaged. Here’s where the versatility comes in. Work up from the standard position to diamond push-ups, fingertip, plyometric and one-handed (to name a few). Vary how you do them. For example, one day do as many as you can in 60 seconds. Next time try a more difficult position, and do 3 sets of 15 with 30 seconds rest in between. You will be amazed at how quickly you improve. 2) Plank. Plank...