Eight tri-specific gym workouts for triathletes over 40

Strength work is particularly important for older triathletes - we show you some bodyweight drills that will slow down loss of muscle mass

Gym workouts for older triathletes

Loss of muscle mass means strength work is particularly important for the over-40s. Here, Complete Fitness Coaching’s Martin Hill gives you his tri-specific bodyweight routine…


As a guide, aim to do three sets of each with reps ranging from eight to 12. For the plank, start off at around 15-20secs but make sure that the position is correct and core is held fully engaged with no movement. Build by 5secs, but maintain rigidity. Once up to 1min, progress by making the position harder rather than extending the length of time in the plank position. Note: these exercises should follow a 10-15min warm-up or tag onto one of your tri workouts.

1. Squat

Ideally, you’ll have a barbell and hold it just wider than your shoulders. Squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel with the ground, keeping your back straight. Return and repeat.

2. Press-up

Arms should be just wider than shoulder-width apart, with back and core straight. Slowly lower your nose toward the floor, bending elbows but keeping everything stable. Return to start position and repeat.

3. Forward and rear lunge

Stand straight. Lunge your left leg forward until your right knee is close to the floor. Keep back straight. Return to start position. Now the rear. Take right leg back until knee nearly touching the floor, with left leg in lunge position. Return and repeat for opposite legs.

4. Tri-dip

Place your palms against the edge of a solid chair. Stretch your lower body out, resting your heels on the floor. Keeping your back straight, lower your bottom towards the floor by bending your elbows. Keep your core stable. Return to starting position.

5. Single-leg squat

Stand on your right leg with left leg trailing behind you. Arms raised for balance or beside you. Slowly squat your right leg toward the floor, keeping your left off the floor. Return and repeat. Rear leg can be rested on a chair if needed. Progress to losing the chair.

6. Front plank

Start on elbows and knees, locking hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance, support you apart. Face the floor, taking care not to arch your back. Hold for 15-20secs, then return.

7. Side plank

Lie on your left side, with your weight supported by your elbow. Let your right foot rest on top of your left before pushing up so that your body forms a triangle with the floor. Don’t let your right shoulder roll forward or back. Hold for 15-20secs then return.

8 Reverse plank

Lie down with your legs hip-width apart. Place your arms by your side with elbows under shoulders, lift up onto your elbows and heels with your body in a straight line from feet to head, hips and chest lifted and core engaged. Hold for 15-20secs then return.

(All images: Jonny Gawler)


For lots more performance advice, head to our Training section