Olympic level triathletes can improve their performance times by up to 45 minutes simply by adding strength training into their fitness regimes, according to recent research at Notre Dame Fremantle’s School of Health Sciences.
In another first for Australian researchers, PhD candidate Kate Luckin enlisted the help of 30 half-ironman and ironman triathletes between the ages of 24 and 57 for a 26-week study into the potential benefits of strength training.
While often shunned in favour of cardiovascular fitness, strength training undertaken by professional and amateur triathletes in the study produced surprising results, including improved overall times of up to 45-minutes for those participating in the gruelling Ironman Triathlon.
“Results clearly demonstrated that the triathletes taking part in the strength training regime improved their running performance on average by 5 per cent and cycling by 7.1 per cent, compared to the control group which focused only on cardiovascular training,” said Kate who is also a professional triathlete.
Kate’s work was recognised when she won the John Sutton Award for Best Paper in Sport and Exercise Science at the 2018 Sports Medicine Australia Conference.
“While strength training in endurance sports is slowly gaining interest, it is still not common practice for most triathletes,” added Kate.
“I plan to work alongside coaches and athletes to educate them on the benefits of strength training as part of a triathlete’s training program of running, swimming and cycling.
“Not only does it enhance cardiovascular capacity but it can also improve an athlete’s longevity in this physically demanding sport.”