You’ve marvelled at their chiselled abs, on glorious display in finish-line photos. You’ve gawked at their taut physiques at races, often as they blow right by you. They are our pro contingent, and they are damn fit. But they weren’t born that way. It’s not just the countless hours of swimming, cycling and running that’s morphed them into their enviable form—they also hit the gym for some serious strength training. Over the course of this week some of the sport’s fittest bods reveal how they got that way.
I go in for an hour session twice a week and it’s all-out. I’m sweating more in those sessions than from some of my rides and runs. It’s a lot of consecutive movement that builds functional strength. I do box step-ups, kettle bell squats, a lot of balance and strength core work on a half bosu ball and runner’s squat-lunges, and work on my shoulders a lot, too, with ropes.
I’ll do one other strength session at home too so I’m doing three per week, and that is core and lower-leg focused.
I tend to build muscle really easily, and it’s not something I’m always looking to do. But for Ironman it’s not such a bad thing because it allows me to endure a little bit more at the end—my body can handle a little more stress and, knock on wood, I’m able to avoid injury pretty well because I do the strength workouts and have a little more muscle mass. I certainly don’t target higher weight. The biggest dumbbells I ever use are five kilogrammes. I’ll do really explosive squat jumps just with the bar weight. I do 20 reps three to four times, depending on where I am in the year, and do about 15 exercises in the course of an hour.
I also do a lot of band work, and that’s more about resistance.