Beginner Exercise Program: Month 6

author : acbadger
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Introduction:

This program is a continuation of the Beginner Exercise Program: Month 5 designed for the beginner exerciser/triathlete for the month of July. We have used the past five months to build endurance and strength on the bike and in the pool. Now, we’ll start building on your swimming speed and run/walking.


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 in the pool. Add an extra day of workouts.

1

Lift: Legs (include abductors and adductors)*, Back and Abdominals. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.

Swim: Concentration on speed. Warm-up 200 Yards (50 swim, 50 kick, 50 pull, 50 swim), 8 x 25 yards each 25 faster than the last (take a 20 second break between each 25), 2 x 200 swim (with a concentration on long slow strokes with a longer glide between strokes)…take 30 second rest breaks between 100’s. Cool Down 4 x 75 (each 75 slower than the last).
Bike: 45 minutes indoors/outdoors EASY. 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. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.

Swim: Drills: 100 yard warm up (25 kick, 25 swim any stroke, 25 pull, 25 swim any stroke). 100 yard finger drag drill, 25 yard sprint, 75 yard bilateral breathing drill (may use kickboard for this), 25 sprint, 175 yard freestyle, 25 yard sprint, 75 yard kick, 25 yard sprint, 75 yard slow pull (count your strokes and get the least amount you can in each 25 yards). 100 yard cool down. TAKE 30 TO 90 SECONDS BETWEEN STROKE/DRILL CHANGES TO RECOVER.

Run: Use the elliptical trainer for 25 minutes EASY.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

3 Lift: Biceps, triceps, abdominals. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: Longer ride 65 minutes. There will be one longer ride each week; this is the first for this month. Find a place where you can climb hills. Hills should be 3 to 5 minutes long. If you need to go inside for this (if you don’t live in a hilly area), be sure to put high resistance on your bike for 3 to 5 minutes, recover (flat) for 10 minutes and repeat. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching. Aids in injury prevention as well.

4

Run: Run 25 minutes. This run, again, can be done on the elliptical trainer…we’ll take it to the streets in the next couple of weeks. Keep your rate of perceived exertion (RPE…how hard you are working on a scale of 1 to 8) at about 2 to 3. Just try to keep your pace even/consistent and finish the run comfortable. 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. Start increasing run time OUTSIDE.

1

Lift: Back, Biceps and Legs. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: 200 yard warm up (25, swim, 25 Kick, 25 pull, 50 swim, 75 breaststroke), 100 swim, 100 side stroke, 100 swim, 100 side stroke, 100 swim, 150 swim, 200 swim, 250 swim. 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. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: 60 minutes of speed intervals. 5 minutes flat road, 2 minute sprint, repeat 8 times. You can even incorporate slight increases of resistance 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: Shoulders, Back, Abdominals. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: Endurance swim.  200 warm up (50 yard thumb scrape, 50 yards long slow count stroke, 50 pull, 50 kick).  200 yard free, 100 yard free, 300 yard free, 100 yard free, 400 yard free, 100 yard free, 500 yard free, 2 x 50 sprints, 200 yard cool down (strokes of your choice).  TAKE 60 TO 90 SECONDS BETWEEN STROKE/DRILL CHANGES TO RECOVER.

Run: Take your run outside. 20 minutes, walk run if you need to. Try to get off the elliptical/treadmill. Run 4 minutes walk 1 minute. Repeat 4 times.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

4

Bike:  Hills and Valley’s. Climb for 5 minutes, ride flats for 2 minutes. Repeat 10 times for a 70 minute ride. Don't forget your 5-10 minute cool down.
Run: Take your run outside. 25 minutes, walk run if you need to. Try to get off the elliptical/treadmill. Run 5 minutes walk 1 minute. Repeat 5 times. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

 

Day

Week 3
Goals: Increasing running strength and swimming endurance. Continue focusing on form and endurance on the bike.

1

Lift: Chest, Triceps, Legs. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.

Bike: 35 minutes indoors or out. Use an Upright Bike as opposed to a Recumbent Bike**. Work on keeping feet flexed and upper body relaxed. You are going to pedal as fast as you can and keep your pace consistent for the entire 35 minutes without letting up until your 5 minute cool down begins.

Run: Hit the streets again. Run (or run walk) for 25 minutes. Pick 2 telephone poles to “SPRINT” between. Run easy until you get to the first telephone pole. At the first pole, start sprinting. Run as fast as you can for 2 or 3 telephone poles and then jog until your HR is back down to about 70-75% of your max HR. Repeat at least 2 times…if not 3! Cool down for 5 minutes with an easy jog or quick walk.

Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

2

Lift: Back, Shoulders, Abdominals. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: 250 yard warm up (50 kick, 50 pull, 50 swim, 50 pull, 50 kick). 4 x 25 yard sprint, 25 yard easy breast stroke, 4 x 50 yards sprint, 100 yard easy side stroke recover, 4 x 75 yard sprint, 50 breast stroke recover. 2 x 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. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Run: Longer run 30 minutes. Again, the longer runs you can take on the Elliptical Trainer or Treadmill. This is a race simulated run. You are going to start off EASY. Pace yourself to run easy…maybe even a bit slower than you think you can go. Every 10 to 15 minutes, pick up your pace SLIGHTLY. This is where we start training our bodies to be stronger even though its becoming more fatigued. 5 minute cool down.
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

4

Swim: Easy swim today. Swim BEFORE you bike (race simulation). Swim an easy 400 yards continuously. Concentrate on pulling, using your legs as little as possible (conserving leg energy for the bike) and take long, gliding strokes. Take as few strokes as possible from one end of the pool to the other.
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: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

 

Day

Week 4
Goals: Play week! We’re going to have a simulated triathlon at the end of the week.

1

Lift: Back, Biceps and Legs. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Swim: Drills, Drills, and Drills!  200 yard warm up (stroke of your choice), 100 yard pull, 100 yard thumb scrape, 200 yard pull, 100 yard finger drag, 300 yard pull, 100 yard kick, 200 yard pull, 100 yard slow stroke count, 100 yard pull, 200 yard freestyle (put it ALL together), 100 yard cool down (stroke of your choice). REMEMBER 20 TO 30 SECONDS RECOVERY TIME BETWEEN DRILL CHANGES.

Stretch: 10 to 15 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

2

Lift: Chest, Triceps, Abdominals. 2 sets of 20 repetitions for 2 exercises each body part.
Bike: 45 minute at an even (flat road) pace. Keep your HR at 70% to 75% of your max. This a slower ride, so try to keep your HR even. You should feel like you could ride at this pace all day long. 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. 2 sets of 20 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 cool down (stroke of your choice). 100 yard cool down. REMEMBER 20 TO 60 SECONDS RECOVERY TIME BETWEEN DRILL CHANGES.

Run: Shorter run. 20 minutes at an even comfortable pace. Don’t push on this one. Just feel comfortable for the entire run. We’ll have PLENTY of time to work on speed. We want to focus on endurance and a continuous 30 minute run. 5 minute cool down (slow jog or quick walk)
Stretch: 15 to 20 minutes of FULL BODY stretching.

4

Swim: 15 minute swim. Use your long pulls and easy kicks. Continuous 400 yards (or 15 minutes…whichever comes first). Try to go straight from the swim to the bike…tri/swim suit and everything.
Bike: 30 minutes at an easy pace. RPE between 2 and 3. Go straight from the bike to the run.
Run: 15 minutes at an even comfortable pace. Don’t push on this one. We aren’t racing yet…just practicing it. Just feel comfortable for the entire run. We want to focus on endurance and a continuous 20 minute run directly after the two other disciplines. 5 minute cool down (easy walk).
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 6 seconds. Take that number and multiply it by 10 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: (see previous months for other exercises)

 

Legs:
3 Way Calf Raises: Take a dumbbell in each hand. Begin by positioning your feet so your toes point straight ahead. Come up and down on your tip-toes for 15 reps. Next set, turn your toes IN, heals OUT and rise up and down for 15. Final set, turn your toes OUT, heals IN and rise up and down for 15. This gets the two MAJOR muscles in the lower leg.


Chest:
Wide Arm Push Ups: Just like regular push ups, but you will position your hands outside of your shoulders. This creates a shorter ROM (range of motion). You may do these modified (with your knees on the floor), but be sure your chest comes down between your hands, not your nose. This helps keep the hips in line with the back and ensures proper form. Perform the push ups SLOWLY both up and down.


Back:

Reverse Grip Bent Over Rows: Take a straight bar/body bar in both hands, palms facing the ceiling. Bend over at the waist, hinging your hips back. Keep your shoulders back and chest out. Your back should not be curved. Take the bar out in front of your body and then pull it into the bottom of your rib cage. Be sure on the pull that you try to touch your shoulder blades on each contraction of the muscles.


Shoulders:

Upright Rows: Using the same body bar/straight bar, grab the bar shoulder width apart, palms facing your body. Raise the bar up to your chest pulling with the back of your shoulders (deltoids). Keep your elbows above the bar on each pull.


Triceps:

Overhead Tricep Extensions: Take a moderate to heavy dumbbell. Hold the dumbbell over your head with both hands. While keeping your elbows as close to your head as possible, slowly lower the weight behind your head. Once lowered, raise it back up over your head. Repeat. Keep those elbows in!


Biceps:

Concentration Curls: Seated on a bench, take a moderate to heavy dumbbell in one hand. The same hand that holds the weight should hang down between your legs with that elbow LOCKED IN to the inside of the same knee. This give you a bit of leverage. Curl the weight up, keeping your elbow into the knee. Slowly lower the dumbbell back down and be sure to get a FULL EXTENSION. Don’t lower the weight down half way and then curl it again. Go through the entire ROM. Repeat with your opposite arm.

Abdominals:

Accordions: Lying on the floor, back to the mat, bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle and put your hands behind your ears. At the same time, pull your knees into your chest and raise your upper body (shoulder blades) off of the floor. Perform 15 to 25 each rep.


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).

NEXT MONTH:

Next month we are going to play a little bit with transitions. Now that you have started simulating triathlons…we need to focus on EVERYTHING.

We are going to start adding some running drills in as well. You have started on the running ‘trail,’ so to speak…but we are going to focus on form and more endurance next month.

Swimming is moving along…well, ‘swimmingly!’ The more relaxed you are in the water, the faster you will go. That will continue to be our focus…and we’ll add some more yardage as well.

You should be feeling stronger on the bike now. We’ll increase your sprinting practice and toss in a few more hills. These will make you feel stronger…not only on the hills, but mostly on those flats!

Do you have a triathlon in mind yet?? Pull up a race calendar in your area and see what you can find. You are SO close to being ready. Let’s get a race on that calendar of yours!!!

….Keep up the GREAT work TRIATHLETES!

 

Beginner Exercise Program: Month 7

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date: July 4, 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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