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Brick Workouts Are They Right For You?

Brick Workout

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Keeping fit comes with a huge amount of benefits. Not only does it keep you in shape, but it promotes a longer life and makes you feel good. People train in many different ways, and new methods are coming out regularly. One style of training that has been getting a lot of attention recently is brick workouts.

We often get asked many questions on this site about training, and “What is a brick workout?” often comes up. In this article, we want to tell you all about brick workouts and why you might want to consider putting them into your workout plan. Here’s what we are going to be discussing:

  • What Is A Brick Workout?
  • Examples Of A Brick Workout
  • What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Brick Workout?
  • Top Tips For Brick Workouts

Brick Workout

What Is A Brick Workout?

Most sources say that Brick workouts originated in the 1970s. It all came about with triathlon, and we saw many athletes doing multiple disciplines in the same training session. Triathlon training is different from many other sports. It can be challenging to become good at many different types of exercise. 

For many years finishing an Iron Man was the pinnacle of fitness, and so many athletes would devote a huge amount of their time to make it happen. What a lot of athletes did understand was how difficult it is to switch from one discipline straight after another. 

This is where the brick workout was born. It is a workout that combines two or more disciplines in one single workout while having minimal rest in between. The term brick refers to the feeling of heavy legs you generally experience when switching between disciplines. 

Also Read: What Is a Tabata Ride?

Examples Of A Brick Workout

So what does a brick workout look like? There are many ways you can do a brick workout. Here are a few that we recommend:

Bike – Run

One of the most common brick workouts is the bike run. This might look a bit like this:

Warm Up – 5 Minutes

Bike High Tempo – 40 Minutes

Transition – No Rest

Run High Tempo – 20 Minutes

Cool Down – 5 Minutes

This is an excellent example of a brick workout combining cycling and running in the same session. Although short, the high intensity helps make those adaptations required. This is also the same transition required in a triathlon or a duathlon

Swim – Bike

Next, we have the swim bike. This is exactly the same routine as the triathlon and is a great way to improve those transitions quickly. 

Warm Up – 5 Minutes

Swim Medium Tempo – 20 Minutes

Transition – No Rest

Bike Medium Tempo – 80 Minutes

Cool Down – 10 Minutes

This is a much longer workout coming in at 1 hour 40 minutes. We lower the tempo to medium instead of high to compensate for this. However, there are a huge amount of benefits to working at a lower tempo.

Run – Bike – Run

Another great way of doing a brick session is to switch between two transitions and do it twice. The run bike run is done by many and helps improve transitions and also prepares the legs for the final push.

Warm Up – 5 Minutes

Run Low Tempo – 20 Minutes

Transition – No Rest

Bike High Tempo – 40 Minutes

Transition – No Rest

Run Low Tempo – 20 Minutes

Cool Down – 10 Minutes

Putting in two transitions between one workout really forces the body to adapt quickly and makes that challenging switch much easier. A run bike run is great fun and makes you really focus on pace to push through to the end. 


What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Brick Workout?

Brick workouts come with many benefits and are favored by many athletes. Here are the advantages you can expect to find if you start doing brick workouts:



Time Saving

If you are a triathlete, training multiple disciplines, and struggling with time, brick workouts are ideal. Training two disciplines in one workout ensures that overall your times improve instead of your cycling improving and your running falling short. It means you don’t have to pick between a bike workout or a run some days.

Helps Transition Times

A big part of a brick workout is the transition. This is where you switch from one discipline to another. Not only does brick training help you learn how to switch across quickly, but it also helps the body adapt, and the muscles switch across quicker. Regular brick workouts can perfect the running off the bike for the PB you deserve.

Helps Mental Toughness

Coming from riding a bike and quickly switching over to a run isn’t comfortable mentally or physically. Teaching your mind how to do this by practicing it often helps mental toughness and helps you break down those mental walls.

Improved Endurance

Brick training is excellent for helping you build endurance. Switching across multiple disciplines teaches you how to adjust pacing properly and build the endurance required for many sports. A lot of people say they have the ability to train for longer as they switch up the muscles being predominantly worked. 

Also Read: Building a Peloton Workout Plan

Better Pacing

Switching disciplines greatly raises the tempo, and people that train brick workouts often are much better at controlling this. Practicing controlling your pace is great for anyone who wants to get better and improve their fitness. Brick training is a great way to improve your race pace by teaching you how to not burn out too quickly. 

Use A Wider Variety Of Muscles

Brick training has the ability to use and engage more muscles. When doing two different types of exercise you use more muscles overall. The bike ride focuses a lot on the front of the legs, and the run can focus more on the rear of the legs and core. 

It’s Fun And Builds Confidence

If there’s one thing that does make a brick workout special, it’s the fact it’s a huge amount of fun. Not only does it keep you on your toes doing different exercises, but you also have the challenge of the transitions. It’s great for building confidence for that race day.

Road Bike Handlebars



It Can Cause Injuries If Not Done Correctly

Brick training, although excellent, can cause injuries if done incorrectly. Switching between cycling and running quickly can cause injuries if not done correctly, and that’s the last thing you want when training. 

Requires Extra Recovery

Although doing a brick session does come with huge advantages, it does stress the body a lot more in each session. With this extra load on the body, you might need to compensate with extra time spent recovering. 

It’s Not Always Convenient

If you’re doing a bike run brick training session, it can be challenging to make the transition sometimes. It’s not like you can just drop the bike and get straight on with a run leaving bike shoes in the street.

Running Shoes

Top Tips For Brick Training

When it comes to brick training, you can make it really difficult for yourself. Here are some top tips from brick trainers we know to make the experience better for you!

Warm Up And Cool Down Properly

The first thing is to ensure you warm up and cool down properly. There’s already a risk of injury when it comes to brick training, so you must ensure you minimize it by properly warming up your body and cooling it down too. 

Start By Doing Short Distances

Although you may be an expert runner and cyclist, it’s important when brick training to start small and build up. We highly recommend starting with shorter, lighter sessions, then as you get used to brick training, build up to those longer and tougher sessions. 

Fuel Properly

This isn’t just a great tip for brick workouts but training in general. You are going to want to do your best to fuel those sessions properly. Ensure you have some energy before you start, and for those longer sessions, get snacks and water in while training. 

Should You Do Brick Workouts?


We highly recommend brick workouts. If you are training for an olympic distance triathlon or just like the triathlon sports it’s a great way to stay in shape and challenge your fitness. The most common brick workout is generally the bike run but many favor the swim to bike, whatever you plan to do it’s probably going to be beneficial to your training plan.   



Why do triathletes brick train?

There’s many reasons that triathletes brick train. It sometimes is because they are short on time and want to train in more than one sport. It might be just to have a bit more fun building their aerobic endurance. Brick training is a great way to improve fitness and is very popular.

Why is brick training good for triathlete’s tired legs?

A lot of people like to do brick training because they get to feel what it’s like after the transition from bike to running, or swim to biking. The feeling of pushing through tired legs is a big challenge for many triathletes. It’s important to understand as soon as you leave the swimming pool you won’t have fresh legs anymore for the rest of the race. 

What’s the best brick training for the upper body?

If you want to get more upper body work in a brick session you might want to focus on swim bike instead of bike run. This is going to give you much more value on upper body work.

Picture of Robbie Ferri

Robbie Ferri

Robbie picked up a bike ten years ago at the age of 26. It started with a ride from London to Paris. Since then, he couldn’t get enough of big mile cycling and started bikepacking and eventually ended up racing ultra distance and even breaking world records.

Robbie has also worked in bike shops and closely with brands to design bikes and new products. Now he loves to share his knowledge and experience to add value to other people's cycling.

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