7-Day Calisthenics Strength Training for Triathletes

bodyweight strength training for triathletes

Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, are excellent strength training for triathletes options, especially for those athletes looking to build strength without the need for gym equipment. This bodyweight strength training program for triathletes focuses on calisthenic exercises that target key muscle groups used in swimming, cycling, and running.

This training program can be done at home or at a local park and requires no specialized equipment. This circuit training of plyometric exercises should be done in addition to your normal endurance training.

Treat this like a HYROX race, without all the heavy lifting.

bodyweight squat - strength training for triathletes

Tips for Success

  1. Proper Form: Maintain correct form during each exercise to avoid injury and maximize effectiveness.
  2. Progressive Overload: As you get stronger, increase the number of repetitions or adjust the difficulty of exercises.
  3. Balanced Training: Ensure a balance between upper and lower body exercises and core workouts.
  4. Rest and Recovery: Allow your muscles to recover by incorporating rest days and stretching exercises. Typically this is easier on your muscles than weight training, but don’t forget that you get stronger when you rest.
  5. Nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet to support muscle growth and recovery.
  6. Consistency: Stick to your training schedule to see progress over time.

Weekly Strength Training For Triathletes Schedule

According to one study in sports medicine, strength training in distance runners significantly improved their overall running performance. When I have followed this routine, I’ve had an improvement in my body composition and a decrease in body fat levels. Overall, my fitness and strength get better for my lower body and my upper body.

This daily exercise routine should be in addition to your normal endurance training exercise schedule. Each day is a relatively short strength training session (20 minutes or so) of strength exercises that are meant to tone your body and improve muscle strength.

As an endurance athlete, I perform this routine throughout the season to keep my body functioning at the highest level. I prefer body weight resistance training over heavy weight lifting since it feels like a more natural movement for my body and is easier on joints.

Circuit Training Note

Some days I like to do one set of each exercise in succession before I move on to the next set. So I do one set of the first exercise, then one set of the second exercise, then the third, then the fourth. It helps shock my body a bit and really gets a burn going. It definitely gets the heart rate up.

I will perform the workout this way on some days to avoid burnout. Let me know if you find it useful as well.

If I do lift weights, they are very light and I focus more on repetitions, rather than heavy free weights. This is not the norm, but I will add them in on occasion to break up the monotony. For the record, I love the leg press machine, but typically only do that in the offseason.

Overall, I focus on the dynamic movements of bodyweight exercises and work on being aggressive (high intensity) with my muscle contractions so I get the best strength workout possible.

Day 1: Upper Body Strength and Core Strength

ExerciseSets x RepsRest Between Sets
Push-Ups3 x 12-151 minute
Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows3 x 8-101 minute
Dips3 x 10-121 minute
Planks (Front and Side plank)3 x 30 seconds eachNo rest between sides
planks are great strength training for triathletes
Planks are great ab exercises

Day 2: Lower Body Strength and Core Strength

ExerciseSets x RepsRest Between Sets
Jumping Bodyweight Squats3 x 15-201 minute
Walking Lunges3 x 12-15 steps each leg1 minute between sets
Glute Bridges3 x 12-151 minute
Leg Raises3 x 15-201 minute
Woman doing lunges for strength training for triathletes
Lunges work all of the lower body

Day 3: Rest or Active Recovery (Easy Swim/Cycle/Run)

Use this day to recover and allow your muscles to rest.

Day 4: Core Strength and Stability

ExerciseSets x RepsRest Between Sets
Planks (Front and Side plank)3 x 30 seconds each1 minute between sides
Bicycle Crunches3 x 15-20 each side1 minute between sides
Russian Twists3 x 15-20 on each side1 minute between sides
Leg Raises3 x 15-201 minute
Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches work your core and upper legs.

Day 5: Upper Body Strength and Core Strength

ExerciseSets x RepsRest Between Sets
Push-Ups3 x 12-151 minute
Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows3 x 8-101 minute
Dips3 x 10-121 minute
Planks (Front and Side)3 x 30 seconds eachno rest between sides

Day 6: Lower Body Strength and Core Strength

ExerciseSets x RepsRest Between Sets
Jumping Bodyweight Squats3 x 15-201 minute
Walking Lunges3 x 12-15 steps each leg1 minute between sets
Donkey Kicks3 x 12-151 minute
Leg Raises3 x 15-201 minute
donkey kicks
Donkey kicks. Source – Getty Images

Day 7: Rest or Active Recovery (Yoga or Stretching)

Use this day to focus on flexibility and relaxation to prepare for the upcoming week.


This calisthenics strength training program for triathletes will help you build the muscular endurance and stability required to excel in swimming, cycling, and running.

Remember to adapt the program to your fitness level and consult with a coach or trainer if needed.

Additional Options

While not directly related to strength training, I recommend trying out a cold plunge every morning. It will help you wake up and rejuvenate your mind and body in addition to strength training.

Also, the offseason is a great time to enjoy some winter endurance sports training and improve muscle strength.

Please refer to this page if you are unsure about any of the triathlon terms mentioned here.

Good luck!

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