Power lifting is beneficial for the triathlete because it deveops fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch fibers are the type of fiber recruited for short bursts of high intensity contractions in weight lifting and sprinting. Power lifting prompts the muscle cells to augment the supply of fast-twitch fibers. These fibers are requried in the swim, bike, and run when the situations demand a burst of acceleration. Explosive starts, passing someone, accelerating out of a turn, initiating a short hill climb, or a sprint to the finish are examples of such times. The movements of power lifting mimic the requirements placed on our body in the sport. The Clean, the Hang Clean, the Squat, and the Dead Lift all develop muscle explosiveness in movement patterns that we can utilize in racing.
Implementing these exercise routines in the training cycle at the right time will help improve performance. It is recomended that you introduce power lifting in the Base period of training thereby prepping the muscles for the later more intense phases of training of Build and Peak. The Base period is a perfect time not only for muscle adaptation, but for learning proper technique as well.
Good technique is imperative! Never rush into a power lifting regime without first learning form and technique. This will prevent you from sustaining unnecessary injury. Working with a professional will help you learn smooth, clean, powerful lifts. You will find demonstrations of proper form and technique if you follow the links on this site to the YOU TUBE page.
Another important issue to remember is mobility. This is due to the explosive nature of lifting. Short muscles, tight joints, or tissues lacking pliability are prime targets for injury. They are the weak link that will be revealed under the added stress of power lifting or the repetitive stress of the swim, bike, and run. Joint mobilization, Active Release Technique (ART), muscle stretching, and massage address this concern. Soft tissue work is essential to keep joints mobile and muscles pliable.
Remember, it’s important to see your doctor or a medical professional before starting any exercies program.