The Value of Functional Strength February 19, 2021 17:37 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. We Embrace a Demanding Sport Many triathletes tend to be busy people with very full lives, making participation in the sport a jigsaw of time management, physical challenges, and mental stresses. With the combination of three sports into one, training is not an easy puzzle to create, especially when considering the additional components such as sleep, nutrition, fueling, equipment choices, and environmental stresses (heat, altitude, etc). With all this, it is no wonder that athletes often turn their back on strength and conditioning (S+C) as a component of their approach to performance. This is a huge mistake. Fortunately, an effective S+C program should not need to consume many of your valuable training hours. Still, in order to commit to a year-round program, you must understand what the real value is. It Isn't JUST About Injury Prevention The reason many coaches suggest consistent S+C is exclusively to prevent injury. I have two issues with this: Injury Prevention Is Not The Whole Context It doesn't inspire and doesn't do S+C justice. Done properly, S+C is a true performance enhancer. From a psychological perspective, it is much easier to commit to something that will make you better. S+C Is A Part Of The Injury Prevention Protocol No matter how good your S+C program, it won't prevent injury if you have a poor endurance component in your training, bad nutrition, inadequate fueling, or limited sleep and high stress. Reasons Strength Is Important For Endurance Athletes Shift your perspective on functional strength towards one of performance enhancement. Below are several reasons to include a year-round program in your global training. Neural Recruitment Improve the dialogue between brain and muscles. This will assist in economy of movement, form acquisition, and delay the onset of fatigue. More Muscle Fibers Into The Usable Mix We increase the number of fibers available for your main activities. This doesn't just mean greater power potential, but also an improvement in available fibers to assist in the delay of fatigue. A Proper S+C Program Will Include: Progression - Your exercises will increase in difficulty as you gain mastery of the basics A Therapeutic Component - To help you handle the rigors of the race-specific training and racing Mobility Exercises - To help with movement patterns and healthy joints Explosive Exercises - To ensure the elastic and explosive components of your firing muscles are maximized The PPF program is a targeted and year-round progression of strength, coordination, mobility and movement patterns. It should not dominate much time, as a couple of 20 to 30-minute sessions will yield great results. Embrace the program, commit to it, and shift your lens from prevention to performance AND prevention.