Ironman Lake Placid Champion
Younger athletes can get away with just swimming, biking and running, but I think the older you get the more important it is to do it not just for strength, but for body balance, symmetry and injury prevention.
I do a functional strength/core workout that, depending where I’m at in my training, is either 1:15 or 1:45 Monday and Friday. It’s pretty comprehensive. The heaviest weight I use for the whole thing is 10 pounds; I use a lot of ankle weights, 10-pound hand weights and a 10-pound kettle bell. I try to focus more on my shoulders than my back, as the shoulders seem to be more problematic for people that swim a lot. I average well over 20,000 yards a week. That’s the biggest back workout you could possibly do—swimming. If you don’t have good swim technique, you’re not using your back very much, but the better your swim technique, the more you’re going to pull from your lats. In the pool I do quite a bit of band and ankle pull buoy work to really focus on my upper body. I work on my turnover rate and maintain a good body position while swimming without kicking. I do a lot of pull-ups, which are a pretty good indicator of the power you can generate in the water. I like to finish my swim workouts with 10 pull-ups.