Fitting in strength training into your overall competition training can be a struggle. In Part 1, I shared some strategies you could use to integrate strength training into your endurance training program.

Here's part 2, a 5-exercise workout you can use to complement your endurance training:

1)      Rack Pulls

BENEFITS:

The Rack Pull is a mini version of a more traditional deadlift from the floor. It can help you to get a stronger finish to your deadlift. It's also a great way to train your posterior chain (low back, hips/glutes, hamstrings) and core.

COACHING KEYS:

Keep chin tucked in double chin position. - Unless you are power lifting, use a bilateral over-hand grip. - Step up to the bar so it is touching your shins just below your kneecaps. - Take a bow to the bar. - Keep low back and shoulders flat. - Think about pushing the floor away from you through the middle to back of your foot. - Finish in a "statue tall" position. Avoid a rock-back into low back extension at the top. 

HOW TO USE: 

While you are grooving the form with this shoot for 1-2 warm-up sets of 6-8 repetitions with light weight. Once your form is down try for 3-4 sets of 2-4 repetitions. Form needs to be perfect with whatever weight you're using.

2)      Dumbbell Goblet Squat

BENEFITS:

The goblet squat tends to be user-friendly for many folks versus the more traditional barbell squat. It will target your glutes, quads, and core. With the weight being in front there's a unique challenge to the core to resist the weight pulling you forward while you sit your butt back. The goblet squat is a great addition to your training program but it's not necessarily a substitute for traditional barbell squats. If you can respectfully and responsibly execute traditional barbell front squats (back if with safety/camber bar) without pain, then there's no need to ignore them.

COACHING KEYS:

• Chin Tuck - Make a double chin.

 • Flat Back - Avoid an arch in your low back or a round in your low back. If you notice your tailbone tucks under you when you go past a certain point don't go that low. Try keeping your abs tight during your squat to ensure good back/pelvis/spine position.

• Chest Up - Imagine having a laser coming out of the center of your chest. Keep the laser pointing straight forward throughout the entire movement. Point the laser too high and you risk low back arch, point the laser too low and you risk low back rounding.

HOW TO USE:

 The goblet squat is perfect as the centerpiece to a big lower body day or as a super set in a total body workout.  On lower volume days shoot for 3-4sets of 2-4 reps; 3 sets of 6-8 reps on higher volume days.

3)      Dumbbell Seal Rows

BENEFITS: 

Dumbbell Seal Rows are a killer upper back exercise. They target your upper back as good as any row exercise. This is key to train for healthy shoulders and good posture. 

COACHING KEYS: 

Keep your chin tucked and core tight. Avoid pulling so high that the elbows are well above the level of your back. It's ok if they peek up over the level of the back. Go slow on the way down.

HOW TO USE:

Use on upper body day or as a super set exercise in a total body lift. Pair with non-grip dominant exercises.  Shoot for 3 sets of 6-8 reps,

4)      Plate Step-up to Overhead Press

BENEFITS: 

The Plate Step-Up to Overhead Press is a great exercise to help you to develop single leg stability during a complex movement. This exercise targets single leg function and muscles around the knee and hip. It also challenges the core to keep all of the pieces together from your lower body to your upper body as you reach overhead. 

COACHING KEYS:

Drive the action from your hip of the leg that's on the step. Avoid boosting yourself with the leg that's down on the floor. Work to keep a short core as you press the weight overhead. A short core refers to keeping the line between your ribs and your belly button short. When this line gets long you end up extending or arching through your low back. Finish the movement at the top with a fully extended knee in a statue tall posture. Avoid finishing in a rocked back position. 

HOW TO USE:

This exercise can be used as a warm-up or as a single leg strength exercise during your lower body work. Shoot for 3 sets of 6-8 reps.

5)      Tall Knee Band/Cable Pallof Press

BENEFITS:

This exercise is an important one for your core training program. It trains the core to be stable against rotational forces. As the band pulls you into rotation/side bend your core must resist to stay in good posture. It's a key exercise for low back pain prevention. 

COACHING KEYS:

Use a pad for your knees. The resistance needs to be just enough to make it challenging. If you position yourself too far away from the anchor point you will end up compromising form to fight the band or cable resistance. Squeeze the glutes and engage the core as if you're about to take a punch. Avoid going into lumbar extension or low back arch. Be careful of letting the shoulders roll forward when you press the band or cable out. 

HOW TO USE: 
Use this for your core training in any workout or as part of a core specific workout. It's also a great warm-up exercise. Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-20 repetitions.


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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