Episode 5 – Strength, Agility & Speed for Triathletes and Runners

The strong savvy cyclist & triathlete podcast

This week Coach Brodie shares with you some big takeaways from our last 2 interviews with Running Expert Dr. Kasey Hill, and Speed & Agility Expert Lee Taft. This will be a staple of the Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast, after every 2-3 complimentary interviews, Coach Brodie will go back through the interviews and dig out a few diamonds to give you, the listener, to help you progress your fitness, training, and abilities to all-new levels.

While not all take-home episodes may be this polished, I believe it’s important to give you as much of an insight as possible on what I’m doing here at HVTraining, what’s worked (and WHY) i the past, and even some things that I found interesting or significant in those interviews.


In this Episode:

  • Overview of Episode 3 With Kasey Hill
    • Ask Questions and Stay Curious
    • Core Control and Hip Hinge
    • Focus on Process Not Outcome
  • Overview of Episode 4 With Lee Taft – “The Speed Guy”
    • Agility Training
    • Posture and the Feet
    • Speed Gain and Time vs. Distance
    • Strength Training, Stiffness, and Agility
    • Conclusion

Apple Podcast




Show Notes:

2:37 –

Overview of Episode 3 With Kasey Hill


2:49 –

Ask Questions and Stay Curious

  • Always ask more questions, stay curious, and continue to learn – don’t think you have it all figured out
    • Shoes: 3 foot types and 3 shoe types
      • It has been said that if we mix and match bad things will happen, but we don’t really know for sure because it depends
  • Be careful not to think that we know it all
  • Don’t simply state something as fact
    • Most people are reasonable, especially when you take the time to explain it to them – what the research actually shows
    • The shoe is one tool in the toolbox – one piece of the puzzle – you can better spend your time and energy elsewhere, like in strength training
  • Don’t get stuck on a single belief
    • Find the help of a true professional, have them assess you, and figure out what’s going on for you
    • “Shoes are not going to make you faster, shoes will not necessarily prevent an injury, it’s strength training” – Menachem


7:06 –

Core Control and Hip Hinge

  • Dr. Hill focuses on performance and injury prevention in a 12 week program
    • The first couple of weeks focus on posture, core bracing, and firing the right muscles – which comes from joint position dictating muscle function
      • Dr. Hill doesn’t go up to someone who is doing an exercise incorrectly and say “you’re doing it wrong”. He says, “where’d you pick that up?”, and follows up by asking, “oh, well have you tried doing it this way?”
        • He doesn’t say you’re doing it wrong – he asks, he’s curious
    • The first couple of weeks also focus on core control and hip hinging in a progression from unloaded to loaded
      • Dr. Hill approaches his class through a performance and MD lens, so he highlights Injury prevention as well as posture and ties with core control and core bracing
      • Spine neutral position – because that’s where we want to be in running – and bracing into spine neutral and using more of transversus abdominis
        • This teaches the athletes to feel their muscles while also focusing on form and cuing
        • He starts with motor patterning and then progresses to body weight, strength exercises, and try to get to deadlifting – adding resistance and load to build on strength


13:16 –

Focus on Process Not Outcome

  • Strength training is not just the muscles and the movement patterns that need to adjust and adapt, but it’s also the tissues
    • Back injuries to cyclists actually often time happen in the weight room because the tissues of the spine have not taken the compression or shearing loads that they’re trying to put on them with deadlifting or squatting
      • Injuries perpetuated by the cycling position
  • Make sure we focus on process and not the outcome
    • This way we adhere to the plan and communicate clearly with coaches


14:55 –

Overview of Episode 4 With Lee Taft – “The Speed Guy”


15:48 –

Agility Training

  • As a runner, even though you’re going straight, we still have to train your abilities to go side to side
    • Sprinting and speed and agility are important for triathletes
      • “Variability just gives us better potential” – Lee
      • Multiplanar movements gives system more capacity to joint load
      • The ability to change our pace is built up through basic agility training


20:27 –

Posture and the Feet

  • How the feet and joints in the lower leg interact has a lot to do with posture
    • “If something is off further down the chain, it’s not gonna be working higher up the chain” – Menachem
    • Aim to strengthen the tissue to handle momentum and stresses placed on it
  • The feet are essentially springs
    • We need to be able to control transverse – side to side – motion of feet rolling in or out or hips rolling side to side (rotary stability), which comes from the ability to stabilize and create greater stiffness
  • Force creates motion, but stiffness controls motion (ep. 2)
    • The more we get the feet involved, the more efficient and economical we will become as we run
    • The more we can get athletes to move in the frontal and transverse planes with their feet the more stiffness they will have in those directions
  • Building up tissue quality overtime
    • Small, repetitive things
    • Corrective exercises can be built into dynamic warmups, if possible
      • It’s a time saver and it keeps athletes fresh


25:01 –

Speed Gain and Time vs. Distance

  • Time session as opposed to distances for Menachem
  • If you need and want speed, it’s training the tissue qualities and the nervous system
    • The musculoskeletal system and neuromuscular system have to work better
      • You have to get that leg to turn over, which you can work on via striders, skips into speed, and two-gear or three-gear sprints
      • Short-distances interspersed with longer distances
  • One of the keys to success is strength training
  • Lee uses time more than distance too
    • “I try to get them to have a watch” – Lee
      • So they can know where they’re at and be able to push
    • To get them to buffer they have to hit certain time thresholds
  • Prescribing intervals for running and swimming based on length of time as opposed to distance
    • “I think it’s doing our athletes a disservice when we’re just putting out distances instead of times” – Menachem
      • “I like to do timed efforts” – Menachem
  • “The person that it capable of running the furthest does not win, necessarily. It’s the person who runs the fastest for the distance being set” – Lee
    • Wants to make sure they have the endurance to maintain their speed
      • Then, 60s, 80s, and 100s
        • Getting speed at a much higher level
      • Then, repeat miles
      • Then, sequence again
      • Value of doing the repeats allows runners to run the mile while still having energy reserves
        • Almost like a wave loading: from race pace → below that → higher speed → way down to 60, 80, or 100 → then turn over
          • “Always gave them that ability to feel speed, while they were still at their race distance” – Lee


37:54 –

Strength Training, Stiffness, and Agility

  • Triathletes go too long in the aerobic zone
    • So high in mileage and so high in chronic training load
    • Even when training stress balance is positive they’re not seeing the results that they need:
      • Don’t have the stiffness needed, and tend to think that strength training will make them “too heavy”
    • “It’s not the total amount of weight that’s on the bar that matters” – Menachem
      • Full range of motion for squatting and deadlifting is important
        • But, the only people that need to be able to have butt-floor squats are Olympic lifters
        • The only people that need to deadlift off the floor are powerlifters
        • “I want to try and get you that joint balance” – Menachem
          • Work through the range of motion that you have to see what’s working and what’s not and then gear your body to better strategies
  • Functional training
    • Watch Velonews fast talk episode 69: what is functional training for cyclists
      • Menachem coaching Chris and Trevor blind
    • “Stiffness is something that we need to develop, it’s not the muscles ability to fire” – Menachem
  • The best runners are like springs – run and absorb
    • Train and tune stiffness and spring – a lot of it comes from joint position dictating muscle function
  • Priorities of a triathlete according to Lee
    • Strength: because of the rate of force development and being able to get off the ground quicker
    • If we weren’t going that route, then sprint training and pure plyometric training
      • The ability to develop the resiliency – that elastic and stiffness quality – to get off the ground
    • Having this tissue quality adds a bonus to triathletes’ event
    • Menachem sees this as a necessity
      • “Strength training, and jumping, and short sprints at high speeds, and agility work are all necessities for triathletes – and this is built on top of the foundation of strength” – Menachem
      • Check out the blog post on humanvortextraining.com about strength training for runners and the pervasive thought that keeps runners from avoiding/preventing injuries through proper strength training
        • “You don’t need to run to be strong, but you need to be strong to run” – blog post by Menachem
        • Build strength in the right ways that are specific for your sport
          • Basic running, strength, basic anatomical adaptation and hypertrophy (myofibrillar)
    • When we’re running we’re actually going through about ⅛ – 1/10 of a squat
      • The deeper the squat, the more absorption, and we don’t want too much
      • As opposed to absorption, we want to go through that motion and maintain tension, as well as getting intramuscular and intermuscular coordination, and getting you to be able to spring your way down the road – tissue quality


53:53 –


  • We don’t know what we don’t know – stay curious!
    • The right way is… it depends!
  • Tuesdays are release days for the podcast so get excited, tune in, and subscribe!
  • Like and subscribe to YouTube channel
  • Send Menachem an email at brodie@humanvortextraining.com if you have any questions or if there was something talked about that you found really interesting
  • “Train Smarter, Not Harder, Because it is all about YOU!”


Picture of Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.


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