The Forgotten Disciplines of Triathlon

June 28, 2018 7:19 pm / Category: Sports Performance , Triathlon


PT Kevin Capata shares why its not the lack of mileage that you put into your training schedule that has kept you from reaching your PRs, staying injury-free, or conquering plateauing, but the often forgotten aspect of cross training.


If you’re an amateur triathlete like me, you’re probably often stressed trying to juggle all the tasks of daily life with a set training plan, strict dietary guidelines, and recovery efforts. So maybe you’ve already heard about the benefits of adding cross training to your plan, but you’ve always thought, “I just don’t have time. When am I supposed to get to the gym to lift weights or attend weekly Yoga class?” “How the heck am I supposed to cram in even more training?”
All good questions, and trust me, I get it! But I challenge you with one of my own. Have a 25-mile ride planned for Monday morning? Why not make it 22 miles, and use that extra 15 to 20 minutes to do some single-leg pistol squats, burpees, plank bird dogs, and pull ups?

It’s not the lack of mileage that you put into your training schedule that has kept you from reaching your PRs, staying injury-free, or conquering plateauing. More likely than not, it’s that you haven’t unlocked your true athletic potential by adding strength and mobility to your priority list.

The Forgotten Fourth and Fifth Disciplines of Triathlon: Strength and Mobility

Many triathletes fail to realize that by developing strength, power and mobility through cross training, they can enhance their ability to maintain that high-elbow position throughout their swim stroke, keep that high-power output during the last climb before heading into T2, or prevent the dreaded “bonk” associated with form breakdown midway through the run.

Yes, specificity of training is of utmost importance and you have to get in that swim, bike and run mileage to work toward your goals. However, to perform your best—and STAY performing your best—you also have to dedicate time to keeping your body in optimal shape.

To help, here are my top strengthening and mobility exercises. Try incorporating this exercise routine into your training plan, and I think you’ll see a dramatic difference in your performance that will finally shift your mindset on the importance of cross training once and for all.


Top 10 Strengthening Exercises

  1. Squats (back and front)
  2. Deadlifts
  3. SL squats (swiss ball)
  4. Pistol squats
  5. Push ups
  6. Pull ups
  7. Planks
  8. Plank bird dogs
  9. Burpees
  10. Resisted monster walks with OH shoulder press


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Top Four Mobility Exercises

  • Foam Roll
  • Yoga/Pilates
  • Dynamic stretching (pre) & static stretching (post)
  • Avoidance of prolonged postures

    KCapataKevin Capata, PT, DPT, CSCS is a licensed physical therapist at Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance. After receiving his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Columbia University, Kevin started his career at Rausch PT, where he used to work as a physical therapy aide. Now, Kevin enjoys helping his patients recognize and fix movement faults to help them overcome their injury or pain, as well as empowering them with the knowledge and tools to prevent re-injury or potential new injuries.

    Click to learn more about Kevin and our other physical therapists »