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Understanding Your 80/20 Premium Strength Plan

This document covers how to use your premium strength plan. For support on your free strength plug-in, see Understanding Your Free 80/20 Strength Training Plug-in.

Regardless of your current physical strength and neuromuscular control levels, the 80/20 Endurance Premium Strength Plans will help you improve by focusing on the fundamentals of building a strong base and progressing according to evidence-based principles in a manner that complements your endurance training.

Designed by A.J. Gregg, MS, DC, CSCS, each plan features two strength workouts per week, averaging about 45 minutes in duration. Individual workouts are provided as PDF attachments or video links located within the TrainingPeaks workout. You will be guided through the exercise with photo illustrations, step-by-step written instructions, and guidelines for loading, sets, reps, and rest.

There are four phases to the program:

  • Foundation: Focusing on isolating specific muscle control
  • Strength: Development of muscle recruitment and force
  • Strength Endurance: Sustaining muscle stamina
  • Taper: Recovery sessions with programming to stay sharp

Each phase is carefully structured with specific increases and decreases in intensity and volume.

The foundation exercises may help you find areas in your body where you need improvement or serve as excellent activation or dynamic warm-up exercises. They will prepare you for the harder work to come. After gradually building a strong base with core exercises, the program will then move into proven exercises for strength development enhancing your training and performance.

It is important to note that the program progresses from isolating specific muscles to more compound movements at a higher intensity, while chaining together additional muscle groups. The aim of this format is to develop your body in such a way that your mechanics and form become stronger and smoother. 

Maintenance Strength Plans

Our Maintenance strength plans differ from the others in a couple of ways. Intended for use during "off-season" periods and other breaks from race-focused endurance training, when strength development can and should be a higher priority, they feature more challenging workouts with a focus on Power:

  • Foundation: Focusing on isolating specific muscle control
  • Strength: Development of muscle recruitment and force
  • Power: Development of speed of contraction
  • Taper: Recovery sessions with programming to prepare you to transition to a formal plan

Equipment Required

To maximize efficiency, many of the exercises require specific equipment. We recommend you acquire or attend a gym that can provide the following:

- Exercise bands of various lengths and resistance

- Swiss Ball

- Yoga mat

- Dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells

Load Selection

For exercises involving weights (e.g., dumbbells), select a load that you could lift twice more than the prescribed number of repetitions with perfect form. For example, if instructed to complete 8 reps of the Single-Leg Reverse Deadlift with each leg, choose a dumbbell that you could lift 10 times with flawless technique.

For exercises involving bands, choose a resistance level that you perceive as "moderately hard" for a given exercise. As you get stronger and your accustomed loads start to feel easier, you'll want to move to slightly greater loads.

Workout Format

A list of equipment items required to do the exercises in a given workout is provided at the top of the workout description.

The number in parentheses to the left of each exercise name indicates the number of sets you are to complete. The information to the right of the exercise name tells you how many repetitions to perform or how long to do the exercise. When you see two exercises paired together with space above and below them in the workout description, they are to be done as a superset, where you do each exercise once with minimal rest in between before going back to do any additional sets. Here’s an example:

(2) Bird Dog - 9 x 8s each side alternating
(2) Glute Bridge - 10

This is telling you to complete two sets each of the bird dog exercise and the glute bridge exercise, doing one set of both and then a second set before moving on to the next part of the workout. You will perform nine, eight-second holds of the bird dog on each side (right arm and left leg extended, left arm and right leg extended) in alternating fashion and 10 repetitions of the glute bridge.

Rest as needed between supersets.

Links to video demonstrations of all exercises included in a given workout are provided in the “Pre-activity comments” area of the workout pop-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the differences between the Premium Strength Plans and the Free strength plug-ins?

A: Please see the comparison chart on our Strength plan page.

Q: What are the differences between the Premium Strength Run and Triathlon plans?

A: In addition to run-specific exercises, the triathlon plans are also programmed with a focus on cycling and swimming. There is additional focus on core exercises for the different stability demands of triathlon.

Q: When I apply the Strength plan, it adds a strength workout to my rest day. Is this normal?

A: Yes. The Strength Training Plug-in plan should be applied using the same start date as your primary plan. In many cases, the first strength workout of the week will fall on the primary plan's scheduled Rest Day. Although this takes away the complete rest day of many plans, endurance strength training is light enough that it will not interfere with your recovery on that day. You also have the option to move this strength training session to the next-easiest day of the week, but we recommend it remain as scheduled.

Q: Are there any exercise videos with the Premium plans? 

A: Yes. Each workout includes video demonstrations.

Q: Why are there two strength sessions the week of my race?

A: The final strength session features markedly reduced volume and intensity focused on activation/potentiation and circulation. After completing the previous multi-week program, you'll find this session to be a piece of cake (but don't actually eat a piece of cake right before your race...)!