• How to get back to lifting weights, a sample routine



    When the weather is nice enough to ride and run, it is tough for most endurance athletes to lift weights. I'm in that category.

    Last week, I realized it has been four-and-a-half months since I lifted weights. What?! How did that happen?

    Yesterday I forced myself to get back to the weight room and, like always, once there I was glad to be at it again. I usually use some variation of the exercises suggested on my supporting documents for triathlon and cycling training plans. I do add some balance exercises as well.

    I also like to add variety to the routine so I don't get bored. At the same time, I don't want to spend hours in the gym, so I want efficiency. The routine I used yesterday took less than 45 minutes.

    If you decide to try the routine, the first couple of times may take you more time until you get the routine established. My warm-up before weights was brisk walk with the dogs.

    Exercise group #1

    Body weight squat x 15 reps: (A good video demo can be found here on, a great resource. If you issues with your knees, squat only to the angle that your knees would see while riding a bike. Roughly half a squat.)

    Fit ball circles clockwise: Begin with your mid-back on a fit or stability ball, feet flat on the floor and torso roughly parallel to the floor. Hands are behind your head for very light support. Contracting your abdominal muscles toward your spine, lift your shoulders off of the ball. Moving clockwise, draw 15 circles with your head. The motion is slow and controlled.

    Fit ball back extensions, opposite arm and leg: Roll over on the fit ball. Put the ball under your body in a place where you can balance yourself using your right arm and left leg. From that position, alternate lifting and lowering your right arm (left leg) and left arm (right leg) 10 times each side for a total of 20 repetitions.

    Repeat squats x 15 reps.

    Repeat fit ball circles, counterclockwise, 15 circles.

    Fit ball back extensions push-up: With the ball positioned under your body in the same spot as the last exercise, this time keep both hands on the floor in a push-up-type position. Begin in a relaxed position, arms bent, torso draped over the ball and toes touching the floor. Contracting your back muscles and tightening your glutes, simultaneously push your shoulders towards the ceiling and lift your feet off of the floor.

    Repeat the entire set of exercises again. If you're pinched for time, skip the repeat.

    Exercise group #2

    Lat pull down – light weight x 12 repetitions

    Seated row – light weight x 12 repetitions

    Alternate between pull down and row to total three sets each

    Exercise group #3

    Walking lunge – I begin with no weights in my hands, 3 sets of 16 footsteps. I recover about 60 seconds between sets.

    Exercise group #4

    Single-leg balance exercises. Stand on your right leg for 30 seconds. Recover and then stand on your left leg for 30 seconds. The non-weight-bearing foot can be anywhere – begin with it close to the ground. Repeat the set for a total of three times, each leg.

    Finish with stretching.

    If you use the routine, let me know how it goes.


    Photo credit: gualberto102 via

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