I’ve really enjoyed doing the triathlon premium maintenance strength program alongside the 2021 triathlon maintenance, and have been feeling healthy, mobile and strong.
However, I worry that the exercises in the plan aren’t working my chest, back, and shoulders enough. For example, this evening I did TS6 and the single leg press didn’t make my chest feel fatigued in the same way that the other exercises did for my other muscles.
So, my question is, should I replace the chest, shoulder and back exercises in the program with ones which make me feel fatigued? Or, should I trust the program, that it will make me strong and keep me safe from injury?
Some important context: over the past ten years I have done powerlifting, olympic lifting, crossfit and weightlifting to support rowing. So, I can perform all the lifts safely and comfortably.
You will not find the same level of fatigue during those exercises. Swimming performance requires a unique balance and stability in order to overcome the unstable and dynamic nature of water to increase efficiency. This is why the challenge is different and the exercises are the way they are.
Maximal strength (with lifts such as bench, rows, presses, etc. that you refer to) can help with stroke length and stroke rate. I emphasize heavy and hard efforts for the lats for this purpose.
My overall view on distance swimming is that it is more about finesse and the right ‘balance’ in the water. Certainly there are individuals that need a combination of both and if you want to add/replace I see no harm in gradually introducing them.