Whether you are searching for a new cross-training activity, or just want to switch up your regular workout routine, swimming is a great way to get in shape for the summer. Not only is swimming an excellent form of cardio, but also it works to lengthen muscles and strengthen your core. Water is 800 times denser than air, which creates constant resistance in the pool, and forces your entire body to work and create forward momentum. Since swimming is low-impact on joints, there is no need to worry about developing shin splints or knee injuries. Check out these swimming tips and exercises from our Zensah triathletes!
Tips From Triathlete John Miles
John is a triathlete from San Diego, California, with over 6 years of experience in the sport. Some of his accomplishments include qualifying for IM 70.3 World Championships in 2014 and the USAT Age Group National Championships. Here are a few of his tips for training in the pool:
First and foremost, a proper warm up and cool down with stretching is a must! I suggest warming up swimming muscles on deck before getting in the pool, and then swimming easy, a main set, and then a cool down followed by static stretching.
Swimming is unlike any other sport; without good form, a swimmer will not excel. Each swim session I do has a fair amount of technique work, especially during the beginning of the season.
During the beginning of your training, it is more beneficial to do shorter, faster sets until you build your endurance and form up. Like many endurance sports, swimming uses the same motion session after session, making weaker muscles, ligaments, and tendons more vulnerable (i.e. the rotator cuff). Starting off with more technique work and shorter workouts can help prevent injuries (although nothing completely replaces weight lifting exercises).
Wait until your fitness in the pool starts coming along before introducing equipment such as oversized hand paddles. If you develop pain in the back of the shoulder or near the elbows, stop immediately and see a doctor. Talk to a coach about working on technique and stroke with stroke analysis.
Triathlete Lincoln Murdoch’s “Six ‘S’” Swimming Workout
Lincoln is a seasoned triathlete from Omaha, Nebraska with 20 years of experience in the sport. Some of his accomplishments include winning the Gold Medal for his age group at the USA Triathlon National Championships in 2012 and racing for Team USA at the ITU World Championships in London. His “Six ‘S’” Workout is a quick, easy way to squeeze swimming into your schedule.
I like doing what I call the “Six ‘S’” Workout. Each “S” stands for a word, and you can spend as much time in each part of the workout as you want. I use it as a short, 30 minute “get ‘er done and get out” workout – 5 minutes per “S.” Goes like this:
Slow: Start out nice and easy, warming up gently
Steady: Continue to warm up, working on form and maybe tossing in some drills
Strong: Start to pull through the water with more intensity, without increasing stroke rate
Speed: Swim at about 85% of the maximum effort you can sustain
Suicide: Swim at absolute top-end speed without letting your stoke fall apart. You will struggle at the end for sure, but hold it together. If you can’t hold this speed for the entire 5 minutes, back off just a bit.
Slow: Cool down and swim easy to recover.
So it’s – Slow, Steady, Strong, Speed, Suicide, Slow. Great little workout I do once a week!
Ready to dive in? Grab your gear and head over to the pool!