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  • Becky Piper

Mini Strength Workouts for the Time-Crunched Athlete

Let's face it. Endurance training means putting in long hours for your chosen sport. With many people juggling full-time jobs, partners, family, children, friends, etc., the strength training in an athlete's workout plan often falls by the wayside.


Strength training is a critical factor in developing a strong, well-rounded athlete. It plays a significant role in muscle resiliency, efficiency, increasing their fatigue threshold and reducing the risk of injury.


Including strength training in your training plan builds the stabilizer muscles. These rarely worked, and sometimes under-developed muscles are essential to athletes. They do a lot of things, from increasing efficiency to reducing the risk of injury!


Think of it this way: You see one individual trying to lift up a car. This one individual represents the primary working muscle. Yes, with a lot of time, energy, and risk of injury, this one person may be able to lift this car. Now imagine a whole bunch of 'helpers' come and lift the vehicle, too. They may not be as strong as the 'main muscle' person, but every individual takes some of the load off and helps support the first person lifting. He or she can then quickly and efficiently lift the car.


In the same way, strength training and conditioning can only benefit a training plan. But what if you are an athlete with time-constraints?? Instead of having distinct extended strength training sessions, try a quick, 5 to 10-minute mini-strength workout. I do this particular session before run and bike workouts. (I've also been known to do this on a lunch break - and still have time to enjoy my sandwich!)


Leg Focus: Mini Strength Workout

25 Squats (2 seconds down, 1 second up)

15 Lunges on each side

10 Lateral Lunges on each side

10 Clamshells with each leg

15 Running swings lying down on each leg

15 Running swings standing on each leg on each leg

Coach Becky Piper is a USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Triathlon Coach, Paratriathlon Coach, and Cycling Coach. She is currently on her way to Michigan but has made a little stopover in Wisconsin to see friends and family while her husband Sam is serving in the military. Her dog, Gunner, is with her on the long adventure across the country. She is the reigning national champion in the Time Trial and Road Race in women’s C2 Paracycling and is preparing for her debut in the Paralympic Trials, but her true passion is coaching. Coach Becky can be reached at becky@teammpi.com.

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