Gym Triathlon Results & Expert Advice
We’ve reached the end of our Gym Triathlon challenge, and we’re amazed at just how many people pushed themselves to submit their best time. The challenge we set was a stern test of aerobic fitness and it was met by a stellar effort from all of the entrants.
We can only name one winner however, and we’d like to issue our congratulations to William Kilpatrick who completed the challenge at DW Fitness in Aberdeen, and who walks away with £200 of Decathlon vouchers, while our runner-up Collette Hibbins who completed the challenge at Expressions Gym in Kettering gets a £50 gift card to spend in-store or online.
Our analysis of your results found that the average triathlon completion time came in at 1:09:18. On average that’s 24 minutes spent cycling 5km, 19 minutes on rowing 2km and 25 minutes running 3km. 19% of our entrants were aged 40-50 and together achieved the fastest average time at just over 43 minutes.
Although the competition is over, there’s no reason to stop perfecting your triathlon performance. The combination of rowing, cycling and running makes for a brilliant workout, and if you’re serious about pushing your personal best, we’ve got just the thing for you.
We spoke with Bristol-based personal trainer Ben Andrews and Bo’ness spin instructor Ryan Anderson to get some expert tips on how to maximise your performance and improve your form during all three triathlon stages.
On the face of it, running may simply consist of putting one foot in front of the other really quickly, but those in the know understand there’s far more to it than meets the eye.
“The arms and shoulders play a vital role in counterbalancing the movement of the legs and improving the efficiency of your running when done correctly,” Ben explains.
“Allow the arms to swing freely forward and backwards, rather than coming across the body – otherwise this just wastes valuable energy. And relax those shoulders to prevent a stiff neck. Periodically shake the arms out, especially on the longer runs,” he continues.
A large part of increasing your static cycling output is in the bike’s configuration, and when coupled with disciplined posture and form, you’ll start to feel less strain while pedalling your way to a new record time. Ryan reveals, “With the bike, there are some main points for setting it up; you want to place the seat in a position so that when you’re pedalling, you’re not locking your legs out, and so that you’ve always got a slight bend in the knee.
“Make sure it’s tilted slightly forward as well to maximize the push and power you produce. You want the handlebars to be set higher than the seat, and have your lower back, arms and shoulders relaxed as much as possible throughout the workout.” ”In terms of technique,” he continues, “with the static bikes I’m usually doing it in a class format, so there’s a lot of chop and change between different intervals and sprint times. In any case though, it’s good to remember to lead through with the heel and have your head looking up to keep the airwave open. ”It can be easy to try and keep your hips still because it feels as if you’re emphasizing your quadriceps and hamstrings, but this can lead to injury in your knee and hip joints, so always try to have your hips moving throughout the workout.”
Ben tells us that he regularly sees gym-goers putting in 100 per cent effort on stationary rowing machines, but achieving only a tenth of their true potential thanks to a few issues with posture and motion.
“As a rule; when the legs are bent, the arms should be straight, then when the legs are straight the arms should be bent,” he advises. “When in the ‘catch’ phase – the start bit where you pushing the legs out, the arms should remain straight until the legs are fully extended. When legs are fully extended, then the arms can start to bend and pull the oars toward the torso.
“If the arms are bent while pushing back with the legs, then the arms, shoulders and upper back absorb much of the leg power. This is highly inefficient as well as giving the arms and upper back a battering and possible injury.”
Anyone can make a start towards completing their first gym triathlon by taking their initial steps on the road to fitness, but Ben has one last tip that everyone – regardless of skill level or stamina, should bear in mind.
“With every single one of these exercises, it pays dividends to really develop your dynamic core strength to avoid injury and to be considerably more efficient,” he concludes. “Forget the ‘six-pack abdominal workouts’ and focus instead on developing the strength of the whole back, with the lower back muscles in particular.
“These are the ones that stabilize, support and protect you. Get in touch with a qualified personal trainer to ensure your technique is correct and you are progressing at a safe steady pace.”
Visit Ben’s fitness site to book a personal training session or get more expert advice, check out Ryan’s spin classes at the Bo’ness Recreation Centre Gym, and be sure to browse our range of cycling and running products to help you on your way.