Staying fit during the summer does not have to include long days inside at a gym. There are so many different ways that a fitness buff can stay in shape and enjoy the summer weather. While many people will spend their time outside running in the scorching heat, there are other ways that you can get in shape and stay cool. Swimming offers one of the best aerobic and anaerobic workouts available. Swimming is such a good workout, that competitive swimmers are known for having fit physiques, all while eating incredible amounts of food. Swimming is also low impact and is one of the best low impact ways to get into shape. If you have problems with your back or joints, swimming can provide a workout without the jarring of your back and knees that running offers. The following is the swimming progression that a first timer or seasoned veteran of the pool should follow when first getting back into shape.
Working on Technique
The first place to start when warming up is working on perfect technique. If you’re not sure how to perform the strokes correctly, there are many resources online that can help you. There are even “master’s” programs for older swimmers if having a coach is something that you would like to guide you. Making sure to have a good technical background in swimming is important at being able to optimize your body as a swimmer. Bad technique can lead to certain injuries from overuse. Every practice or workout done should begin with a varying amount technique work. Just like learning to walk before learning to run, swimmers must learn proper technique while swimming slow to be able to perform the same technique when swimming fast.
Interval training is popular among runners, swimmers, and other sports. Interval training should be switched up, as repeating workouts time after time, without changing any aspect, can lead to hitting a plateau. Making sure to change intervals and distances will keep your heartrate up, which is the end goal of swimming interval training. Interval training is the most popular way to exercise in the pool as it is known to shed the pounds very effectively.
Some swimmers like to mimic practices done in the past to see what improvements have been made. Improvements can come in many forms especially if the swimmer isn’t especially competitive. Having a lower heartrate after holding the same times on a set is an improvement, going faster with the same heartrate is an improvement, and speeding up the interval and holding the same times is also an improvement. There are many places to improve in your swimming and interval training can help with that!
Race Pace Training
This is predominantly for people who are swimming competitively. Race pace training is self-explanatory, swimming certain distances at race pace until race pace is missed is great for many reasons. This not only boosts metabolism but gets the heartrate to higher levels than in other training in the pool. Making sure to hold technique during this is important as well, think of race pace training as a rehearsal for competition and having poor technique could cost a swimmer a race in a competition.
This is a great way to drive your heartrate up during the end of a workout. Hypoxic training means to deprive the body of oxygen by not breathing when swimming. This can be done by doing underwater kick as far as possible or until you hit the other end. Often times during the hypoxic portion of a workout, a coach will limit the swimmer to the amount of breaths that they can take. This gets the swimmer used to swimming with only small amounts of oxygen in their blood. The mimics the way a swimmer will feel at the end of the race when their body goes into oxygen deprivation.
As you can see, there are different workouts that can be incorporated in the pool. The progression shown is also how many college and Olympic programs set up their practices when getting their athletes ready for competition. The technique portion cannot be stressed enough as swimming with bad technique can be damaging to the body. Give these training techniques a try this summer to mix up your workouts, and see how swimming is able to contribute to your overall health and fitness.