Beginner Exercise Program: Month 5

author : acbadger
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Introduction:

This program is a continuation of the Beginner Exercise Program: Month 4 designed for the beginner exerciser/triathlete for the month of June. We have used the past four months to build endurance and strength on the bike and in the pool. Now, we’ll start building on your swimming speed.


This program is meant to aid in weight loss by incorporating low to no impact exercises that will be gentle on your joints while strengthening muscles, bones and cardiovascular systems. All new athletes/exercisers should do what they are capable of doing. If you find that one week is difficult, DO NOT move onto the next week until you feel comfortable with the week you are on currently! There is no time limit to this program. Work at your own fitness level. Feel good! Feel invigorated! Feel like you are accomplishing your goals…and at the end of a session, feel like you WANT to do these workouts!!

 

 

Also, please keep in mind that any of these workouts (aside from the programmable ones on the stationary bikes) can be done outside if you prefer to start on your own road bike. However, if you are like me and do not live around any hills, you may have no choice but to take the “hills” inside to a stationary bike in the gym or to an indoor cycling class where the instructor cues you to add resistance when simulating a climb.

At the end of this months program is strength exercises (unchanged from month 2), swimming definitions and also two new nutrition tips.

 

 

Please read the Medical Clearance article and the Restrictions and Terms of Use so that you are aware of certain medical conditions which could negatively affect you if not checked-out by a physician beforehand.

 

Day

Week 1
Goals: Increase speed on the bike and in the pool.

1

Lift: Legs (include abductors and adductors)*, back and abdominals. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: 40 minutes indoors. Use an upright bike as opposed to a recumbent bike**. Work on keeping feet and upper body relaxed. Keep your resistance moderate to simulate a flat road. Perform fast flat ride. Maintain the same cadence on the bike for 8 minutes, go 2 minutes hard (sprint), repeat 4 times. 5 minute cool down!
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching! Stretching reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

2

Lift: Shoulders, Chest, Abdominals. 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.

Swim: 50 yard warm up (25 kick, 25 swim any stroke). 50 yard finger drag drill, 50 yard sprint, 50 yard bilateral breathing drill (may use kickboard for this), 50 sprint, 200 yard freestyle, 50 yard sprint, 50 yard kick, 50 yard sprint. 100 yard cool down. TAKE 30 TO 90 SECONDS BETWEEN STROKE/DRILL CHANGES TO RECOVER.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

3

Lift: Biceps, triceps, abdominals. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: Longer ride 60 to 80 minutes. There will be one longer ride each week; this is the first for this month. Try to pedal at a moderate/flat road cadence for 10 minutes, add resistance (SLOW, MODERATE CLIMB), keep your cadence at 70 RPM’s for another 10 minutes, add another gear for 10 minutes. Repeat this resistance increase for another 3 to 4 times. Keep your pedal stroke fluid when you are in a higher gear. If strokes are choppy (like you are almost stopping between strokes) you have too much resistance on the bike. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching. Aids in injury prevention as well.

 

Day

Week 2
Goals: Work on swimming form. Work on endurance in the pool and on the bike.

1

Lift: Back, biceps and legs. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: 100 yard warm up (50 Kick, 50 pull), 75 sprint, 25 side stroke, 75 sprint, 25 side stroke, 100 freestyle, 150 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 250 freestyle, 100 yard cool down (stroke of your choice). TAKE 30 TO 90 SECONDS BETWEEN STROKE/DRILL CHANGES TO RECOVER.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

2

Lift: Chest, triceps, abdominals. 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: 50 minutes of hills and valleys. 5 minutes flat road, 5 minute climb, repeat 5 times. You can even incorporate pick-ups to your 5 minutes of flat road work for a bit of speed training. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

3

Lift: Chest, triceps, legs. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: Endurance swim. 100 warm up (50 yard thumb scrape, 50 yards long slow count stroke). 50 yard free, 100 yard free, 200 yard free, 400 yard free, 200 yard free, 100 yard free, 50 yard free, 50 yard sprints x 2. 200 yard cool down (stroke of your choice). TAKE 60 TO 90 SECONDS BETWEEN STROKE/DRILL CHANGES TO RECOVER.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

 

Day

Week 3
Goals: Hills. Hills. We’re getting some strength in this week despite the fact that our MAIN focus is speed and endurance.

1

Lift: Chest, triceps, legs. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.

Bike: 45 to 60 minutes indoors or out. Use an upright bike as opposed to a recumbent bike**. Work on keeping feet flexed and upper body relaxed. Here comes the continuous hill ride with pick ups. We are going to work on endurance for those tough hill courses. Start with your resistance low and begin to increase your resistance every 8 minutes. Every 7th minute of the 8 you are climbing, pick up your cadence and pedal fast for the last minute before you put another gear on your bike. You should finish your ride on a BIG hill (with HEAVY resistance). Remember, keep the pedal strokes fluid but always finish strong. 5 minute cool down.

Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

2

Lift: Back, shoulders, abdominals. 2 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: 150 yard warm up (50 kick, 50 pull, 50 swim). 25 yard sprint, 25 yard easy breast stroke, 50 yards sprint x 4, 100 yard easy side stroke recover, 75 yard sprint x 2, 50 breast stroke recover. 25 yard sprint, 25 yard side stroke recover. 100 yard cool down. REMEMBER 20 TO 60 SECONDS RECOVERY TIME BETWEEN DRILL CHANGES.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

3

Lift: Biceps, chest, abdominals. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: Longer ride 75 to 90 minutes. This is a race simulation where we are going to do the first half of the race at an even pace (comfortable), and the second half of the ride faster than the first half. So, if your cadence is 70 RPM’s for the first half of the ride, then try to get your cadence up to 75 or 80 RPM’s for the second half. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

 

Day

Week 4
Goals: Increasing time and endurance in the pool! Relax in the water and have fun!

1

Lift: Back, biceps and legs. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: Drills, Drills, and Drills! 100 yard warm up (stroke of your choice), 50 yard pull, 100 yard thumb scrape, 50 yard pull, 100 yard finger drag, 50 yard pull, 100 yard kick, 50 yard pull, 100 yard slow stroke count, 50 yard pull, 200 yard freestyle (put it ALL together), 100 yard cool down. REMEMBER 20 TO 30 SECONDS RECOVERY TIME BETWEEN DRILL CHANGES.

Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

2

Lift: Chest, triceps, abdominals. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: 35 minute at a fast pace. Keep your HR at 75% to 80% of your max. This a slower ride, so try to pedal as quickly as you can in that period of time. Simulating a sprint triathlon distance bike ride. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

3

Lift: Shoulders, back, abdominals. 3 sets of 15 to 18 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: Shorter swim. 150 yard warm up (50 stroke, 50 kick, 50 pull), 100 freestyle, 100 breast stroke, 100 side stroke, 100 back stroke. 100 yard cool down (stroke of your choice). REMEMBER 20 TO 60 SECONDS RECOVERY TIME BETWEEN DRILL CHANGES.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

 

*Abductors: Outer Thighs and

Adductors: Inner Thighs

** Upright Bike: Looks like a regular stationary bike at the gym. A Recumbent Bike has a chair on it with a back. Aids in lower back support. Some beginning bikers may need to start on a Recumbent Bike and graduate to an upright bike.

 

***Cadence: Check cadence by placing one hand above one knee. Every time the knee comes up on the upstroke of your pedal it should hit your hand. Hold your hand above your knee and count the number of times your knee hits your hand for 15 seconds. Take that number and multiply it by 4 to get your cadence.


RPM: Revolutions per minute. The number of times you pedal stroke in a minute.


STRENGTH TRAINING

When you are choosing weights, you need to choose weights that will allow you to complete the set, but not so little weight that you are not feeling the work by the 8th or 10th repetition. It is smart to start with lower weights, complete a full workout and then make the adjustments as you go or during the next workout.


Sets: The number of times you perform a series of repetitions.
Repetitions: The number of times you perform a particular exercises in a row.


Examples of exercises:

 

Legs

Lunges: Place one foot in front of the other, like you are taking a giant step forward. Your foot in the back should be positioned on the ball of the foot, heel up off of the floor. The front foot should be flat out in front of your body. Before you begin your lunge, tuck your hips under your body and lower the back knee STRAIGHT down to the floor. The front knee should be over your ankle, NOT over your toes. If your knee goes over your toes, you are lunging forward and not down. Practice one set of lunges without weight. Take light weights (after you have confirmed your positioning is correct) and let your arms hang to your sides holding the weights. Lunge down and up 12 to 15 times each side for 2 sets.


Chest

Dumbbell chest flies: Lie in a supine position (back on bench) on a flat bench. Take two light to moderate weight dumbbells and hold them up over your eyes, palms facing each other. Slowly lower the weight down to your sides, elbows should not go below the bench. Slowly bring the weights back up to starting position. Do not clink the dumbbells together when they reach starting position. Be sure that you have a slight bend in the elbows…NEVER lock a joint.


Back

Good mornings: Placing a straight body bar (bars that are covered in rubber, usually come in 9, 12 and 15 pound weights) across your shoulder blades. Legs should be shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Hinge at your hips (push your bottom back) and lower your upper body down, keeping your back straight, shoulders back and chest out. “Bow” half way over and slowly return to starting position. Do not use fast movements with this exercise. Slower is better on these. Be sure to use muscle NOT momentum. You also don’t want to throw your back out by moving too quickly.


Shoulders

Front dumbbell shoulder raise: Standing, take 2 dumbbells and have them hang down in front of you at your thighs. Lift both arms up together at the same time ONLY to shoulder height. Once the weight is at the top of the movement, slowly lower the weights back down. Keep your arms as straight as possible keeping the elbows soft (NEVER lock out a joint). If this movement is too difficult for you, a modification would be to lift one arm at a time (alternating lifts). As you start gaining strength…perform the exercise with both arms together.


Triceps

Tricep kickback: Taking a single dumbbell in each hand, bend slightly forward at the waist. Keep shoulders and elbows back. Keeping your shoulders stationary (no swinging/movement) and elbows back, lift the weights up behind your back and then slowly lower them back to a 90 degree angle. “Kick” the weights back, controlling the movement, do not swing the weights. You can do either arms together or one arm at a time. A variation of this would be to add a twist to the kickback (turn the palms up to the ceiling after ‘kicking’ them back.


Abdominals

Bikes: Lying on the floor, place one leg up, knee bent at a 90 degree angle. The opposite leg should be out straight. If your lower back is coming off of the floor with your leg out straight, your leg is too low to the floor, bring it up a bit to relieve some of the tension in your lower back. With your hands behind your ears (DO NOT lock fingers behind the head), take the opposite shoulder over to the hip on the side where the knee is bent. Alternate sides, switching the shoulder and bent/straight legs. Perform 15 to 20 each side.


STRETCHING:

Be sure to hold stretches for 10 to 20 seconds. DO NOT bounce when you stretch. All stretches should be held where you feel a stretch only. You should feel NO pain while stretching!! Most health clubs have posters of what stretches to do for what body parts. If you are unsure of any, please consult an exercise specialist at your local gym. You should rotate through each stretch at least twice. This part of your exercise regimen is as important as your strength or cardiovascular component.

Warm Up:

Take 5 minutes to jump on a cardiovascular machine/walk in place/etc. to get your body moving, blood flowing and muscles warmed up. We encourage warm ups to loosen muscles which will prevent any strains, sprains or tears.

Cool Down:

It is IMPORTANT to bring your heart rate back down after a workout. Be sure to walk around the gym, walk slowly on a treadmill, pedal slowly on a bike, and etc. 5 to 10 minutes after a workout. If you workout hard and then stop immediately with no cool down, this could promote blood pooling in the legs!! Be sure to keep moving SLOWLY after a workout until your HR (heart rate) is back down TO less than 100 bpm.


SWIM DRILL DEFINITIONS:

Kick: Grab a flutter board and just kick. There is no use of arms for this drill.

Pull: Use a pull-buoy; place it between your legs. Squeeze it with your legs so you cannot kick. Swim down the length of the pool using your arms only. Preferably freestyle.

Finger Drag: When you raise your elbow up in your freestyle stroke, your fingers should gently drag through the water by your side as you come up for a breath. This keeps your elbows high out of the water.

Bilateral Breathing: Being able to breathe on both sides of your body. To practice this, take three strokes then breathe. Take another three strokes and breathe again on the other side.

Thumb Scrape: After you’ve reached above your head for your stroke and are now pulling your hand through the water, as your arm is coming up to take another stroke, your thumb should graze your thigh on the way up. This ensures that you get the fullest stroke possible.

 

Rest breaks between sets

For the SHORTER lengths (25's to 50 yards) take a 30 second break to recover. For the longer yardage, take up to a whole minute.

 

Bilateral breathing

If bilateral breathing is too difficult, alternate between bilateral breathing and breathing every stroke. It's best that you start trying/experimenting with bilateral breathing early since it is so difficult. We don't want to introduce it too late in the game so you panic about it come triathlon time. *But definitely keep it to breathing every stroke if oxygen uptake becomes an issue and you find yourself gasping and not getting enough air. Bilateral breathing mostly helps to stay in a straight line and to be able to site from both sides as necessary in a open water swim.

 

Slow Stroke Count

Take as few strokes as possible to get down to the end of the pool. Glide as long as you can before taking your next stroke. This will help relax you in the pool. Keep your head in natural alignment with your spine (not up, not down, but neutral).

NUTRITION:

 

Tip #1 Did you know that eating a lot of sugar (found in, not only sweets and soda, but white bread, rice, pasta, etc.) causes your body to store more fat?? Cut back on the white bread, pastas and rice and stock up on your whole wheat options.

Tip #2 Don’t DIET, just change your eating patterns! If you are craving a sweet, don’t deny yourself; just choose a lower fat option. Instead of ice cream, choose low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. If you HAVE to have the real deal, be sure to watch…I know, I know, I’m going to say it again…watch your serving sizes. A serving of ice cream is half of a cup…take the time to measure it out and enjoy it down to the very last bite.

Tip #3 Feeling hungry?? Not meal time yet?? Here’s how to stave off some ‘hunger’ pains. A - Go for a walk. B - Read a book. C - Fill up on water. D - If you are still hungry, eat a small piece of fruit and a small amount of lean protein. That small amount of fat will keep you satisfied a little longer than the fruit alone.

NEXT MONTH:

Next month, look to maintain your strength training workout but increase endurance. You will perform the same amount of sets, but increase reps slightly.

….Rock on TRIATHLETES!

 

Beginner Exercise Program: Month 6

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date: June 6, 2006

Author


acbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

Author

avataracbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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