Type of strength work & Endurance - Is there a "best" in terms of the tools to get stronger?

So I am about 6 weeks into the low volume middle distance triathlon plan. For context, I am in the sweet spot of terribly time-crunched and also very injury prone athlete. Since my dismal performance at a half last year, I have really tried to prioritise strength work as part of this season’s build (although I don’t actually have an “a-race” yet).

My job is super-busy with lots of responsibility and this often means day and night working in relatively unpredictable patterns which has made my consistency all but zero.

Having said that, I aim to get myself to the gym 1-2 times per week even if I miss everything else, and usually I prioritise using kettlebells and use of the leg press rather than dumbells/barbells, static machines or resistance bands - the exception being the hexbar for deadlifts. Since I started riding again (of which I am commuting 1-2 times per week to add in volume) on top of the indoor TR rides I do manage, I am finding I am disproportionately faster and fitter for this time of year and general lack of training, consistency and structure.

I wonder if anyone else is finding something similar? Does anyone else use kettebells rather than the traditional equipment and have you noticed a benefit?

My schedule and ability to recover/adapt (because of my schedule) limits me to 3 1-hr sessions on the trainer but I do get a fast, racey group ride on Saturday mornings. So, not too far from what you describe. Busy.

I actually found that my on-bike fitness went downhill slowly with strength work. I did the leg press, etc. too and built up some nice strength. I finally realised I should have been spending that time on the bike instead.

However, like you’re saying, life and better health require more than just saddle time.

So, what I do now is leave my adjustable kettlebell out, have a pull-up bar installed, and have various other small pieces of exercise equipment. I’ll do pull-ups with my legs straight and raised, quick sets of kettlebell swings and other things at random. It’s not strength work but it’s certainly functional. I think I may even get back to doing one arm pull-ups this way, eventually. Or not.

This allows me to dedicate blocks of open time to cycling while I rack up other movements throughout the day/week 1 minute at a time.

That’s what I’ve settled on. Not ideal but it’s nice to see my fatigue resistance increase and my power slowly go up. Just don’t ask me to lift a fridge for you.

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Can you expand on the why of this?

Same here, except I’m in Build.

Any strength work is better than none, but heavy barbell work is the “best”.

In terms of value/movement for a triathlete imo: squat>deadlift>row>press>bench

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Sure. I’ve been involved in sports of some description since my teens, which was predominantly rugby. I was not the biggest and took a LOT of hits over the years, leaving me with a torn rotator cuff and neurological weakness on one side of my lower back as two examples. I also have hyper mobile joints and flat feet which also cause issues. More recently though I’ve had bigger problems with my posterior chain leading to IT band syndrome and early arthritic changes in my right knee.

I’ve been to physio quite a bit although never been under the knife. As a result, I’ve tried to pursue strengthening exercises exercises to keep me moving.