Off-season? Not only do these sports give you a different experience, these could also help you become a better and faster triathlete
Getting rid of the off-season blues isn’t as hard as you think, especially if you’re planning to work on your weakest discipline. However, just because you’re aiming to improve a specific leg, it doesn’t mean you only have to swim, bike, or run for the next couple of months. Give yourself a mental break with these sports that you can—or should!—fit into your training plan. Not only do they give you a different experience, these could also help you become a better and faster triathlete.
Rock or wall climbing
Rock or wall climbing can improve core strength and upper body strength, flexibility, and overall balance, all of which are significant in triathlon. It’s the perfect full-body exercise that targets all muscle groups. Climbing can make your calves and quads stronger, which play important roles when running or biking uphill. “It’s a total body strength training that has a point and a strategy—you have a starting line at the bottom, and you finish at the top… a great counterbalance to the trunk flexion cyclists are getting from hours in aero,” says exercise physiologist and triathlete Patrick Sims.
Some of the best swimmers, including Michael Phelps, have incorporated boxing into their training program as it’s been proven effective in improving swimming techniques and performance.
Here’s a clip of Phelps showing how he added boxing into his training regimen:
From uppercut and roundhouse to windmill punches, these basics of boxing can help a swimmer improve aerobic fitness, arm speed and power, shoulder rotation, and muscle strength.
Hitting the hard court could be the most accessible sport you can try this off-season. Basketball demands a wide skill set—such as dribbling, running, and jumping—but just like rock climbing and boxing, you could also gain a lot from playing ball.
Aside from burning calories, basketball can help you develop better coordination, improve full body strength, and boost your mental game—one of the most common skills encountered in triathlon. The fast-paced game of basketball also requires you to think on your toes and make quick decisions that will keep you focused. Sometimes, it’s your strong mental game, not your body, that will push you to the finish line.
Keep in mind that the offseason isn’t just about recovering from months of racing or sticking to the three disciplines. Consider cross training every now and then and have some fun while also helping you become a better triathlete. After all, every sweat counts.