Triathletes tend to have strong legs, and strong arms but they can be let down by a weak core. A strong core means a reduced risk of injury as well as better performance. Below Sarah Thornton gives us some essential strength training for superior triathlon performance:



  • Make sure your chest is coming down in line with your hands

  • Start with your knees on the ground if the full press-up is too difficult



  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart; hips, knees and toes in alignment

  • Sit back onto an imaginary chair until thighs are parallel to the ground

  • Keep back flat and heels on the ground


Lat pulldown / Pull-ups

  • Sit with good posture on the seat

  • Grab bar with natural wide grip

  • Pull bar down in front of your body to below your chin

  • With pull-up bar, if wide grip is too difficult, start with underhand grip


Split squat

  • Put one foot up onto a bench and the other on the ground in front with body facing away from the bench

  • Squat down until thigh is parallel to the ground, knee over ankle


Standing bent over row

  • Stand with a bar in front of your body, holding it body-width apart

  • Bend forward to a 45 degree angle and bend your knees

  • Keep back flat

  • The bar should be hanging down from your shoulders

  • Pull bar to the base of your abdomen keeping your elbows close to your body


Lunge / Lunge with twist

  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart; hips, knees and toes in alignment

  • Take a large step forward and lunge downwards to where your back knee is almost touching the ground

  • Push with your front leg back to start position

  • With the twist exercise, hold a medicine ball in front of your stomach

  • When you lunge forward twist the medicine ball with your abdomen to the side of the lead leg, come back to centre and then push back to standing



  • Stand with good posture holding a bar in front of your body

  • Bend knees slightly

  • Keeping bar close to your body and your back flat bend down to where you feel a pull in your hamstrings

  • Use glutes, hamstrings and lower back to bring yourself back to standing


Jump squats

  • Hold dumbbells by your sides and jump up as high as you can

  • Land safely by bending your knees ready to go into the next squat


The Swimmer

  • Stand holding a theraband attached to a door waist height or use a cable machine

  • Keeping arms straight squat down and bring arms backwards to shoulder height

  • Push up with your legs and bring straight arms up above your head


Swiss ball back extensions

  • Lie forward on a swiss ball with feet against a wall / bench, toes on the ground

  • Place hands behind your head and raise your torso

  • Keep your legs straight

  • Twist from side to side for variation and to target your rotator muscles of your lower back


Glute raises and hold

  • Lie on a mat on your back with knees up and ankles under your knees

  • Start with one leg up in the air and push your hips upwards using your other leg

  • Ensure that you are using your glutes to raise your hips and not your lower back and hamstrings

  • When finished your reps, bring the leg in the air down to where it is parallel to the other leg and hold for 10 secs


Plank / Side plank

  • Start on all fours on a mat

  • Place elbows underneath your shoulders and lift your body by coming up onto your toes

  • Keep your ankle, hips and shoulders in line

  • This is a static position so don’t move!

  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds

  • For side plank, lie on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other and your elbow under your shoulder

  • Lift your body up and keep your free hand on your hip

  • Don’t allow your hips to drop toward the ground

  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds