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Basic Strength Tips from ITU World Champion Helen Jenkins

By Adam Galuszka
December 7, 2013

Just as skiers here in Boulder, Colorado are hitting the Alpine Training Center to ramp up for the long ski season, there's a lot you can do at home to use this time of year to get down and dirty with strength, conditioning and core-work.  While it might sound complex, in reality you can link together some simple exercises for a program that will get you fit as a fiddle and ready to make great gains in your sport. Here are some tips from over on the Science In Sport blog:   SiS Elite Sports Consultant and former ITU World Champion Helen Jenkins. She is hitting her winter training hard at the moment as she returns from a lengthy injury sustained in the Olympic year. An integral part of that training regime is a rigorous strength conditioning program that she touches on daily, and then completes an extended version of twice a week.


The classic core exercise, the plank involves lying prostrate on the floor, face down. Start on your elbows and knees, locking your hands together. Straighten your legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the floor, being careful not to arch your back or lift your bum in the air. Hold this position for 15 seconds to begin with, extending the time as you get stronger, and repeating the frequency of reps.

Mountain Climber

A variation on the plank and a more advanced technique. Adopt the plank position, but draw one knee up towards your chest. This places much more stress on your core in order to keep your hips level. Hold for 10 seconds, and then change to the other leg. Repeat for 10 on each leg.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and lift one foot off the floor. Pivot forward at the waist and lean forward, countering your weight by extending your lifted leg behind you. Aim to get your torso and trailing leg parallel to the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.


Lying on your back, raise your legs, arms, head and shoulders off the floor so they are pointing towards the ceiling. Simultaneously lower the leg and arm on opposing sides until they are inline with the body but not touching the floor. Then, simultaneously raise them back towards the ceiling again. Repeat on the other side. This is one rep, aim for 10 in a set.

Swissball Jackknife

This exercise requires a Swiss ball, which if you don’t have at home, you could certainly find at your local gym.
Assume a press up position with your arms completely straight, resting your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Tense your core muscles, and maintain that contraction for the duration of the exercise. Without changing your lower-back posture, roll the Swiss ball towards your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. Your legs should remain straight, thus forcing your hips into the air. Pause, then return to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backwards. Basic Strength Conditioning for Triathletes Helen Jenkins


Rego_rapidRemember that your calorific need may be less after gym work than endurance, but your protein requirements could be significantly higher so don’t neglect this need. For endurance workouts: SiS REGO Rapid Recovery contains 13 g of protein per serving, and 29g of carbohydrates. SiS REGO Recovery has 32 grams of protein, and only 2.6g of carbohydrates and is optimal for recovery from a heavy lifting session or gym workout. Find the recovery product for you, here.
- See more over on the SiS Blog.