How a transition to Strength & Conditioning can give you that extra edge in Triathlons...

Personal trainer John Withinshaw explains how adding strength and conditioning to your training program at any level can lead to improved performance.

Client Case Study: John Van Hoogstraten.


John VH on the run at Challenge Lisboa Middle Distance Triathlon

By John Withinshaw

In the latter part of last year I was approached by a Mr John Van Hoogstraten about the possibility of some personal training.

The goal in mind was for John VH (as he will be further known) to beat his time for a Middle Distance triathlon - Challenge Lisboa - in Lisbon, Portugal.

At JDW Fitness we are big believers in including Strength and Conditioning into any training program, particularly for the endurance sports of Triathlons, Marathons/Ultra's, swimming, cycling and many more. Not only can it help prevent injury by making the body strong and robust, it can also help to dramatically improve performance.

John VH already had a training plan for the run, bike and swim but needed a little help with the strength part. 

Once the frivolities of Christmas were out of the way training commenced, with John's wife Susan also wanting to improve her fitness, she got involved by training alongside John.

We started with the basics, which include a running technique analysis as well as mobility assessments. This helps to gauge any muscle imbalances and a gives me a heads up on any adjustments required to the running technique, mostly with a mind to work on improving efficiency.

Once that was done, a gradual program was created starting with simple but effective body-weight work to begin with. I believe it's vitally important to improve an athletes ability to handle their own body weight before adding load to any movements. This is key to developing natural strength and again, avoiding injury.

Each month of training saw an increase in exercise difficulty and intensity. We started mixing up the conditioning to really challenge the cardio system and help with breathing.

Not only were John and Susan working at the studio, they also had various mobility and core workouts provided to do at home (which we tracked using an online program).

I have to say that working with these guys was awesome, they lit up my mornings with some great comedy, like pretending they'd run to the studio by jogging in out of breath, when really they'd just pulled up in the car. The only thing they'd forgotten was to spray themselves with water.

As you may have guessed these guys are South African so I took it upon myself, in the colder months, to wear my Welsh Rugby top. That went down a treat! You can't beat clients that like a bit of banter.

Anyhow, I digress. The training went pretty well and we managed to fit everything in and around their very busy lifestyle. There was the occasion that John had come off his bike during a training event and ended up with some gravel rash and a heavily cut hand. He still made it to the studio for his workout, we just put a glove on him, something that maybe he should have been wearing at the event! He soldiered on, SOLID WORK John.

Just last Saturday May 19th was race day and John was doing it with his brother, a little sibling rivalry - GAME ON.......

Here's what John VH had to say after the event;

"Mate, I smashed my PB set 5 years ago my about 15 mins. I'll have to check, either 12 or 22 mins. Also improved last years time on the same course by about 45 mins. Weather conditions were identical. Core strength was definitely the difference as I trained less this year than last. Swim was disappointing, same time as last year but was expecting at least 3 mins off. I started too quickly and was with the leading pack by the first turn, couldn't breath so did breaststroke.


Challenge Lisboa 2018 Middle Distance Results;

224 528 JOHN HOOGSTRATEN Vet. M50 06:13:54

228 560 COENRAAD HOOGSTRATEN Vet. M55 06:17:54

Beat his brother by 4 minutes!!


Results for the same race for John VH in 2017; 06:56:23


Challenge Lisboa "The Van Hoogstraten Brothers"

To say I'm super proud of John is an understatement. For him to take a new PB and literally smash his time from last year is no mean feat.

Just adding the right strength and conditioning program to your current training can make a massive difference. Not having one could possibly be the reason you have plateaued and are not getting the results you want.

In just 5 months John got a superb result and in the heat of Portugal, beat his PB.

Don't get me wrong, these guys had to put the work in, which they did. They turned up to every session and completed the "homework" they had to do in between times, as well as following a run, bike, swim program.

This result wasn't a given, they had to work hard for it. As the saying goes, 'You get out exactly what you put in'.

John Van Hoogstraten did it, you can do it too.


In Fitness & In Health

John 'T2 S&C' Withinshaw

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