Lap Swimmers? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-03-2009, 01:37 PM
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Does anyone here swim laps for fitness/weight loss? I started three months ago for cross training (I run 4-5 mi on the other days - used to be a marathoner until I injured my foot, so this is frustrating). I don't have very good technique or any speed yet, but it does tire me. Sometimes I wonder if that's just hypoxia, though. I'm swimming a mile, crawl, many days a week (last week it was 6 days, though I'm trying to intersperse more running with that - last week it just didn't work out, but ideally it would be every other day).



I've read theories on why swimmers don't have a body fat percentage as low as other athletes, but I am wondering what it is actually doing for my body. I have lost some weight, and I don't find it makes me hungrier as many sources warn.



If anyone out there swims, how have you found swimming to improve your fitness? What has it done for your body? Are you a competetive swimmer or fitness swimmer? How long have you been swimming, and how long did you find it took you to learn good technique and develop speed? I get pointers from folks at the gym, and watch them swim, and try to copy them, but I can't afford lessons right now.
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#2 Old 02-04-2009, 02:44 PM
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when i swim, i tend to swim intervals like this (this is a record of the last workout i did, prior to not wanting to be in the pool anymore because of excessive chlorine!):



200 warm up breast stroke

100 x 4 free (short rest in between each 100)

200 x 4 free (short rest in between each 200)

500 x 4 free (short rest in between each 500)

200 x 1 free (short rest)

100 x 1 free (short rest)

200 breast stroke cool down

----------

4000 m (roughly 2.5 miles)



i would first work the distance until i felt i could do it comfortably, then start to work on getting better times for each distance. and then i would work on decreasing the amount of rest between sets (usually they would start at 1 minute rests and then decrease to 30 second rests between sets), and then increase the distances again.



so, for example, if i was just starting again, i would do:



50 warm up

50 x 3 free

100 x 2 free

200 x 1 free

500 x 1 free

100 x 2 free

50 x 2 free

200 cool down

--------------

1600 m or .99 mi (nearly a mile)



i would start by taking each distance comfortably and then resting a full minute--whether i need to or not--between each set. i would do this until i got comfortable with each distance with only 30 seconds of rest in between. then, i would start to work each distance for time--trying to get each distance to the best time i could with 30 seconds rest. and then i would increase the distance, and so on.



ok, so, what were my discoveries?



first and foremost, i find swimming to be a most relaxing and enjoyable exercise. i'm in the water and feeling good. i love the way it feels and how people can't interrupt you or anything. i mean, the coach of the master swimmers at the Y and JCC where i used to work out, they had to stick their foot in the water in my lane in order to get my attention. LOL and that was usually to ask me to join the team.



i do not swim competitively because i always get my period when it's time to compete and therefore i never compete (i do not use tampons!). LOL



so anyway, i love to swim.



from a body composition stand-point, swimming is a weight bearing exercise that is easy on the joints. it's great for overall strength, shoulder and hip flexibility, and increasing aerobic and lung capacity.



i found that by swimming intervals--rather than long distances--my body fat composition decreased by a great deal. when compared to my friends who simple swim for distance and not time--eg, their mile of swimming always takes 45 minutes or whatever the time is, rather than it going from taking 45 minutes to taking 35 minutes to taking 28 minutes and then adding distance--tend to get to a certain point and then stop loosing or getting leaner because the body is used to the exercise and comfortable there. if one keeps pushing the body, then it will adapt and continue to get lean until it hits the point where it is at it's max.



but also, one's body stops at a certain point no matter what because that is what is healthy for the body.



i would love to swim again, but the local pool is so chlorinated it's horrible just standing next to it. i told them i would pay to have it converted to salt water (which costs about $150 per conversion of each pool, which would have cost me a donation of 5 pools if i included both the kiddie pool and splash pad) but they refused, even though they keep having to dump all of the water because people don't put their kiddies in swim diapers and, well, yuck, and so they close the pool, get rid of the water, clean the pool, add in new water with excessive amounts of chlorine, and do it all again the next month anyway. salt water is so much healthier for everyone, btw, but god forbid they use a donation to do it!
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#3 Old 02-04-2009, 03:40 PM
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I've been a competitive swimmer since I was about 10. Good technique will come in time, and as good technique comes, speed will follow. We used to have to watch DVD's called "Total Immersion," which broke down each stroke into various drills which will assist in developing technique. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw...efix=total+imm I'm not sure which ones I have seen, but it appears that there is one for everyone. They are a little pricey, but they are totally worth it.

As for fitness, it will definitley improve your health. At least it has mine. My strength and endurance has improved, as well as my mental health and self esteem. And weight loss is a definite plus! Feel free to PM me with any more questions. I have some swimming magazines that I can refer to.
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#4 Old 02-04-2009, 04:37 PM
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I swim a couple of times a week.

My workout usually is:

200 warmup

200 kick

5x100 drills

6x50 sprints

100 free

100 breast

100 back

8x25 sprints

200 pull

200 cooldown

2100 yards total
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#5 Old 02-04-2009, 04:42 PM
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I forgot to add that I started swimming for exercise a couple of years ago. I took masters swim at the gym. The coach taught me so much, I highly recommend it if they offer it at your health club! I started swimming because I started doing triathlons. The swim was always what I dreaded. Now I love the swim portion of a tri. I have become much more competitive in the water.
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#6 Old 02-05-2009, 11:07 AM
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Wow, thanks guys - that was extremely helpful. I'll try doing intervals today instead of just my straight up-and-back mile (which is kind of boring after a while, too).
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#7 Old 02-05-2009, 01:12 PM
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Intervals will somewhat break up the monotony. I don't know if the pool you swim at has a clock, but putting intervals on times will definitley help improve your speed and endurance. If not, then I recommend deciding on a set amount of rest between each interval...between 5-10 seconds.
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#8 Old 02-05-2009, 02:56 PM
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There is a clock. Mostly I was working on technique again, today. I am not sure I am ready for interval training until I get that down. What do you think?



I'm sure this is part of my technique that I need to fix, but do you know anything about shoulder impingement? Mostly I don't have trouble with it anymore - I've kind of learned a way to use my core a little more and my shoulders much less, but I am wondering what I have done wrong that caused the pain so that I can avoid doing it again.
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#9 Old 02-05-2009, 03:21 PM
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I think it would be a great idea to get technique down before starting interval training. Once you have technique down, completing sets will be so much easier.



Swimming does tend to be difficult on the shoulders. The constant motion of the arms will do a number on the rotator cuff. Be sure that you are kicking your legs. It may seem like common sense when you are swimming, but personally, I have a tendency not to kick because my upper body is stronger than my lower body. But without the driving force of the kick, your shoulders are working double, which will result in shoulder pain. Also, be sure that you are rotating your body. Freestyle is a long axis stroke, which means the rotation happens side to side. If you imagine a pole running north to sound down the middle of your body, it will help with rotation. The better your rotation, the less stress it will put on your shoulders. There are a few drills that will help develop that technique. What drills have you been working on? Maybe I can give you a few more helpful ones. I'm not really sure if I answered your question...
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#10 Old 02-05-2009, 05:30 PM
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I've been told I have a very good, strong kick, and a fairly efficient one (my balance in the water is, apparently, great - this is all commentary from other swimmers, including an instructor, who have watched me). I was a distance runner before I was a swimmer, though.



I know the thing about the long axis, I just don't seem to have a lot of luck employing it. Sometimes I feel like I'm pushing a ton of water ahead of me and I don't know how to stop. I'm going to get the Total Immersion DVD, I think, because I've heard so much about it helping with that problem (are you familiar with it? A poster above recommended it, too).



I did figure out something today while I was out there, that I'm not sure is right. I noticed that if I use my core to sort of turn my body, I could almost keep my shoulders stationary (except for exiting and entering, of course) and get very powerful motion forward. It seemed to work well. Because I don't have much instruction this is sort of hit-and-miss, and a lot of watching what other, faster swimmers in the pool are doing.



What drills do you know that would help with rotation technique?

(Thanks so much for all your help, by the way.)
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#11 Old 02-05-2009, 06:10 PM
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You are so lucky to have a strong kick. I have to work so hard on my kick, and naturally, it is my biggest downfall as a swimmer.



The concept of rotation in the water can be difficult to grasp. The Total Immersion videos will help a lot because they show the drills and techniques from a few different angles as apposed to the single angle you see when you watch another swimmer. I know the feeling of just "plowing water" with your shoulders while you swim, and rotation is something that will come with time and practice. Lots of practice.



I definitley understand what you are saying about using your core to turn your body. It also seems really effective for me, but I have been told that keeping your shoulders stationary can do damage to them.



There is a great drill to help develop a good rotation in the water. It is called "active balance" and I think it is actually from the Total Immersion video. Like I said, those things are a godsend. At first it feels really awkward, but after you get the hang of it, it will really help! http://books.google.com/books?id=stn...sult#PPA115,M1

This article explains it better than I would have!! As the article says, you can do it on your back, but I typically do it on my stomach, face in the water. I think that will benefit you more than on your back.
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#12 Old 02-15-2009, 07:26 PM
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I am a competitive swimmer. I have found that i lost weight from swimming and I have 12percent body fat. I know this is low for a swimmer but I train 4 hours every day.



If you want to improve your technique you can purchase a video on swim technique or go on you tube and look at swim technique for american red cross. A really good video is the American Red Cross one.



I use a different workout each day but this is mine for tomorrow



300 Alternate free and backstroke

300 kick

300 pull

300 alternate free and backstroke



4 x 100 IM

8 x 50 IM order



12 x 25 butterfly



12 x 50 I.M order



6 x 100 (50 IM order + 50 Free)



12 x 25 butterfly



300 stroke kick



8 x 50 IM order kick / swim



150 cool down



Total 4,650 yards
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