Day 1 of #RulonRules of Strength Training & The Triathlete
On the 1st Day of #RulonRules, Coach Jen gave to me:
Learn How to Squat Properly
What’s not to love about the squat? You can do air squats, back squats, dumbbell squats, overhead squats, front squats, and goblet squats. There are endless kinds of squats.
The squat is a full lower body exercise working the hip and knee joints, along with the numerous muscles on the anterior (front) and posterior (back) part of the leg and the butt. We have the quadriceps which consists of 4 muscles, and the hamstring which consists of 3 muscles and the Gluteus Maximus and Minimus.
Here are some more examples of an alternate way to do squats:
One of the simplest ways to train your legs with your bodyweight alone is to use jumping squats. This simply means that you’re squatting down and then jumping at the apex. This is a simple exercise and you wouldn’t think that it would make a huge difference, but it is great for building up power, and can quickly create a burn thanks to the amount of acceleration involved.
Speaking of which, box jumps require even more power to launch you high enough into the air, especially if you stack them high. This is in some ways just as challenging as a squat, and a great way to build hamstrings, quads, calves, and hips.
This is simply a lunge where you jump, switch legs in mid-air, and then land with your legs in the opposite position. Doing this is a great way to build strength in the hamstrings, and again involves jumping to create more acceleration.
Simply walking by stepping from one lunge into the next. This is a surprisingly effective workout because you’re plunging so deep in between and spending the majority of your time under tension.
Single Leg Squat (Pistols)
Another way to make the squat more challenging with just body weight is of course to do it on just one leg. This requires twice the strength, and also forces you to balance a lot as well. A more advanced version is the ‘pistol squat’ which requires your foot to be flat on the ground while the other one is pointed straight out in front of you, toes facing up.
This exercise is between a squat and a lunge and involves stepping out to one side, lunging deep, and then stepping back to the middle before repeating on the other side.
As triathletes we need to be mindful that we aren’t “trashing” our legs on leg day and doing ALL of these exercises at once; but these are examples that you can knock out at the gym or at home!
Charles Poliquin, who writes a lot about strength training, actually encourages runners and endurance athletes to lift. Poliquin, in addition to research, states that “including full squats in a lower body program can improve muscular endurance and prevent the early onset of fatigue.” Check out his link about how to “Include Full Squats in Your Training to Run Faster and Improve Endurance.”