Category Archives for "Swim Training"

Swimming

Swimming: Beginner Triathlete’s Swim Workout

“How can you improve your swimming workout? A must read not only for beginners. Check it out now!”

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is my absolute favorite workout/sport, there’s nothing else I rather do than jump into the water and swim for hours. Of the three triathlon’s segment, swimming it’s my favorite one. I like not only the physical effort but also the sensation of calm and quite that comes when the water surrounds the body.
People are always asking me how I don’t get bored by just doing laps in the pool.

In a way, this concern is legitimate, if you’re just going back and forth, over and over again (“without a plan”) swimming might get boring in the long run. That’s why it’s so important to have a workout program to follow: it will break the routine and it will make you become a better swimmer. So, I thought of posting the classic workout designed for beginners’ triathletes but that can also be followed by anyone who’s willing to improve in their swimming.

Start focusing on form and endurance…speed will eventually come

First golden rule of swimming: achieve correct form. Meaning that you should start working on technique. It might take a while but once you have mastered it, it will definitely change your swimming experience.
The correct form checklist includes: maintain horizontal position in the water, correct shoulder rotation, leading with the forearm, finishing the stroke, head position, and and both-sides breathing. If you’re missing on any of these it might be a good idea to take a one-on-one lesson with a swimming instructor (money well spent!)

Once you have achieved correct form you can start working on endurance. Don’t worry if at the beginning you’re struggling in the pool and spend more time standing at the end of the lane catching for breath than swimming. Endurance will eventually come with training. Start by doing shorter sets and to get proper recovery time in-between. Once you have mastered the shorter ones you can get to the next level.

Start slow, speed it the last thing you want to focus on at the beginning. Don’t get frustrated if more skilled swimmers are passing you while doing laps. They’re probably more trained; but in a couple of months you’ll be able to match them.

I see this happening all the time when I’m training in not-reserved lanes. People just love to try to keep up the pace of faster swimmers; the result is that after 1 maybe 2 laps you can see them leaning on the pool’s edge gasping for oxygen. Instead do your own thing and do not pay attention to what’s happening around you (and that applies not only to swimming but also to your life in general!)

The workouts

Let’s assume that you have correct form and can also swim for at least 400m (this means doing 16 laps in a standard 25m pool).

Then you might want to give these workouts a try. Sarting with the shorter sessions will allow you to control your form throughout the workout, because if fatigue kicks in your technique will soon fall apart. Once you feel at ease with the shorter ones you can definitely move to the longer ones.

400 meters workout:

Warm-up: 4 x 25
Main set (rest 30 seconds between each set):
2 x 25 with pull buoy (concentrating on body position)
1 x 25
1 x 50
1 x 50
1 x 25
Cool-down (at slower pace):
1 x 25
1 x 25
More at A Triathlete Beginner’s Swimming Workout (That Everybody Can Use)

You can also check out this video for more Swimming tips:

More Reading for Triathlon Beginner here:

Swim Technique

Swim Technique: Important Tips to Remember

“15 Swim Technique to help you improve your swimming form. Read it now!”

Swim Technique

Swim Technique

We all know that swimming is all technique, so we share 15 Swimming Technique Tips to help improve your efficiency and times.

  • Reach as far as you can forwards so that your arm straightens fully plus pause for a fraction of a second with each stroke. This will allow you to glide more, cutting through the water more effectively and reduce drag
  • Keep your weight forward through your chest as constantly as you can to keep your hips up, even while lift your head to sight. This helps contributes to better forward speed
  • Let your opposite shoulder roll with every reach forward – it allow you to reach further (half the shoulder width is employed) and further reduces drag as water slides past you instead of being forced downward from your chest
  • Keep your legs high and your kick compact even if you are not putting much energy into your kicking. It will keep you moving forward faster than if you leg them cross each other &/or drop down
  • When lifting your head to sight, lift and drop your head seamlessly and quickly rather than within 2-3 strokes. By completely the sighting movement within one stroke, you will keep your momentum more intact and use less energy
  • Complete your pull all the way back to your hips before lifting the arm and recovering it back to the front. This gives you more complete power from the start to the finish of the stroke
  • Make your entry as clean as possible, no matter how fast you are swimming (ie no splash). A clean entry means there is even flow above and below your leading hand resulting in a more effective catch and therefore more power on the pull
  • Don’t just reach with your arm but extend more fully from your shoulder as well. Every good swimmer straightens their leading arm out first so the elbows locks, but they also extend even further by using their shoulder joint as well. You need flexibility for this, otherwise it will be something you struggle with for a while but by constantly trying this will help build both that required flexibility and improves the specific strength you are training
  • Keep your eyes looking down or slightly backwards (ie 2 tiles back) 80% of the time you are swimming to help keep your hips up. You will need to look forward sometimes to check where you are going or where others are in relation to you but to do it too often will slow you down
  • Try to bend your elbow forwards and upwards at the end of the Reach so that before or as you start the pull your surface that generates the pressure (your hand) is facing and therefore directing energy backwards not down. Backwards energy is much more likely to send your forwards then energy propelled downwards…)
  • Try keeping your legs high but also flati-sh even though your shoulders need to rotate by 60-70 degrees with each stroke. Think of effective rotation as a downward taper, ie more form your shoulders, less but still some on your hips and almost none at your feet end
  • Think of the Catch as a slightly outwards press before you pull. Even if only 1-2inches outwards you will find more back pressure on your hand before pulling if you can start mastering this
  • Don’t allow your pull to cross the centerline on the pool bottom when you pull backwards. There will be some movement inwards naturally but too much across the centerline will result in either lost pressure on your hand (slipping) or incorrect direction of that pressure
  • Vary the speed of your movement within each stroke – ensure there is at least a small pause at the end of the Reach, then start the catch relatively slowly to find the pressure before starting to accelerate the pull all the way back to your hips
  • Learn to decrease your stroke counts throughout the season over a longer and longer distance (at the same pace as normal though). This will result in better strength through your delts and rhomboids on the reach (you have to work harder to hold the glide longer) but also better strength on your lats and tris during the pull.

More at 15 Swimming Technique Tips

You can also watch this video for more Swim Technique:

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How to Swim

How to Swim: Improving Your Triathlon Swim

“Helpful tips on how you can improve your Triathlon swim. Read it now!”

How to Swim

How to Swim

Does this sound familiar?
You’ve done your laps at the pool diligently all winter long and have gotten into rather good shape; the best shape you’ve been in, in years! Sure your swim technique may not be the best, but still, you’ve done the work and can confidently swim a mile in the pool with no problem. You’re looking forward to your first Tri of the season. The gun sounds…

• Scenario #1. Fifty yards into the swim… “Oh my God the water is cold. Crap, my goggles just fogged up. I can’t see anything except the blinding sun. Oh, God, there is a lot of thrashing going on around me! That jackass just kicked me in the face. OMG the water is cold, even in this new wetsuit, which by the way is tightening around my throat. I can’t even extend my arms. The Velcro strap is tearing away my flesh. I can’t breathe! I need air… #*!#%*…. I’m going to drown. PANIC. Where’s the life guard? Get me out of here.”

• Scenario #2. Fifty yards into the swim… “I am so glad I warmed up. I fixed those foggy goggles and readjusted my wet suit; I got my heart rate up and my blood flowing. I am really feeling the buoyancy of this new wet suit. I am flying by all the rookies out here. There’s the first buoy. It’s time to churn.”

#1. Avoid panic by warming up.

Panic, a frequent complaint in open water swims, happens to some of the strongest and ablest of swimmers. The best way to prevent panic is to get an adequate warm-up. The swim warm-up is the most disregarded of the essential pre-race activities. Unfortunately, the nature of the venue or the size of the field sometimes prevents triathletes from warming up, but if at all possible, get in, get moving and get acclimated to the cold. Not only will you get your cardiovascular system ready for the impending start, but you can test your goggles and wetsuit for mechanical problems.

#2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso. #2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso.

# 3. Don’t kick so furiously. Please stop kicking, especially with bent knees (bicycle kick). A powerful kick will certainly help good swimmers swim faster, but without good technique, kicking will slow you down, deplete your oxygen, and, ultimately, make you hate swimming. I tell struggling swimmers to stop kicking altogether and to practice with a pull buoy to improve your horizontal position and to eliminate your legs from the equation. Almost immediately, you will notice that it’s much easier to swim without the added resistance of thrashing legs and with the extra oxygen normally lost to them. Once the proper horizontal position is achieved, try to develop a proper kick which begins at the hips with propulsive forces traveling down the leg like a whip. It’s OK to use fins, but I recommend the longer fins rather than the short ones. Your knees will bend some, but the less so the better.

#4. Rotation – Just as in swinging a golf club or baseball bat, the power stroke in swimming is driven by rotation of the hips and is transmitted through the entire body from toes to fingertips. In addition to making it easier to breath because your head rotates with your body out of the water, the hip (and shoulder) rotation powers the underwater stroke where propulsion originates. When your right arm begins the pull, your right hip and shoulder should rotate out of the water powering the stroke. If you are swimming “flat”, without rotation, you will have less power and your body will naturally bend sideways at the hips to assist arm recovery creating more drag.

#5. Eliminate the arm crossover – An efficient “catch” initiates the power stroke. It should begin directly in front of your shoulder, not in front of your head, or worse, in front of your opposite shoulder. First problem: crossing over causes lateral movement of the hips which destroys your streamline, and 2nd, during the power stroke with a crossover, you push water sideways rather pulling and then pushing water from directly in front of you to directly behind you. The opposite problem, equally bad, is pulling too wide. During a proper pull, the path of your thumb should trace your midline. Do this with a slightly bent elbow, fingertips pointing down, but do not cross over the midline.

#6. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Triathletes who struggle with swimming complain that their legs sink. And they do! To overcome this, work on proper head position and use a pull buoy. Push your chest down. Your eyes should be looking straight down at the black line, not where you are going. (Open water swimming requires some additional visual skills – see below). The water line should be on the crown of your head, not on your forehead. Keep your forehead in the water at all times and keep one goggle in the water during the breath. More at The Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Triathlon Swims

Check out this video for more tips on How to Swim faster:

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