#WorkoutHack: Triathlon Strength Training at the Cottage

The Victoria Day Long Weekend is traditionally when Cottaging season starts.  Having a cottage (or access to one) can be a real boon to the training triathlete.  First and most of all, it’s a way to access open water swimming.  Bike and run training can be done too, though often it takes a form of cross-training since the roads can be a little rough; mountain biking and/or trail running are great, and I’m proud to say I got both of those done this long weekend.

My training schedule, however, had me down for a strength training session on Monday.  I’m in the Specific Preparation Phase 3 of the plan,  where the strength training profile is specifically geared to “Power Endurance” with explosive and plyometric type exercises.  Moreover, they focus very much on triathlon specific muscle groups and functional movements that mimic swim, bike and run.

The workouts call for 8 types of exercise:
  1. Hip extension (squat, leg press or step-up)
  2. Standing bent-arm lat pull down (bent at the same angle as during freestyle swimming)
  3. Chest press or push ups
  4. Seated row
  5. Abdominal curls (core body work)
  6. Back extensions (core body work)

#3 has been substituted with a “personal weakness” in most workouts in the book.  I still like putting in some work on my chest for the sake of balance though.  The question is, how was I going to get in a strength workout at the cottage, far from any gym, never mind one so specific?

Well, I’ll tell you.  I started off doing push-ups on the dock.  I still use the 100 Push-Ups app to give me structured sets.

Then I found a stump to do step-ups.  I had considered box jumps, but it had rained, and you should generally do box jumps onto something very stable, so the stump might not have been a good idea even if it had been dry.  For a weight, I used the Lightning Kid, and moved up to a heavy rock on my third set. (10 reps per leg, per set).

Instead of a seated row, I used the kids’ swing to do TRX-style inverted row (3 sets of 12-15 reps).

I don’t like the Standing bent-arm lat pull-down, as it seems to put my shoulders at risk.  Most recently I've been using medicine ball slams as a substitute, but at the cottage, I chose to split some wood - same motion, same downward stroke to help the shoulders power my swim.

I’m not going to lie, I didn't finish that workout that day, at least not before lunch was ready.   I had scoped out a bench we use sometimes and tested it out for doing Dolphin Kicks as shown below (from this article on Daily Burn); it would have also been handy to do lying leg raises which would have fulfilled the core/ab exercise for #5.

I’m looking forward to using the cottage environment to supplement my training for the rest of the summer.

Do you have ways of turning your cottage or home into a gym in unexpected ways?

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