T Nation

Swim Race Conditioning - Tabata Thrusters?


#1

my daughter is on the swim team. she lifts with me when she is not actively doing a sport, and has decent strength, but little stamina. Her swim races are only 50 yards and are typically over in about 45 seconds. She is always first to hit the wall on the first leg, but then dies halfway on the second leg. Any ways, its really bumming her out that she has not won a 50 yard race. Her coach is not giving her much guidance here on what she can do either.

I was thinking of having her do tabata set's of thrusters with dumbbells to increase he anaerobic capacity (1 set, three times per week). But before I suggest to her, I thought I would ask here first if there is a better way or maybe the protocol should be tweaked. She seems motivated to try just about anything. I think she would be happy to just see an improvement in her time from meet to meet.

she does not have a lot of time before the season is over. Any advice here is welcome.


#2

[quote]koffea wrote:
She is always first to hit the wall on the first leg, but then dies halfway on the second leg.[/quote]

She doesn’t have a stamina problem, she has a pacing problem.

I take it your daughter is young? This should correct itself with experience. If you want to help the process along, have her do negative splits (8 x 50 with the second 25 faster than the first) and/or enter her in the 200. The 200 will punish you hard for going out too fast.


#3

yeah, she is young (10). I see your point about pacing. She only needs to last another 5-10 seconds though. She started doing tabata type intervals on a stationary bike the day after I wrote the post. I figure they cant hurt. I’ll see if she wants to try your suggestion of negative splits.

Thank you for the feedback.


#4

If you’re going to try to increase her anaerobic capacity, you want the “tabata style” workouts to mimic her races. So, if her 50 time is 55 seconds, then push her for 70 seconds and give her 140 seconds rest. Your trying to develop intensity over time, not just pure intensity.

She should be getting plenty of short, anaerobic training in the water (10x25 on the:30, that type of thing).


#5

Swimming at her age and ability is all about technique. Have her practice steamlines off the turn and on the start. Streamline and kick for very short and fast distances. Also, lifting with you is awesome and will make her a better athlete. Probably won’t help her swim time though. I’m curious how fast she’s swimming.


#6

[quote]Ronrigo wrote:
Swimming at her age and ability is all about technique. Have her practice steamlines off the turn and on the start. Streamline and kick for very short and fast distances. Also, lifting with you is awesome and will make her a better athlete. Probably won’t help her swim time though. I’m curious how fast she’s swimming. [/quote]

i totally agree, improvements in her technique would probably get her the greatest gains. I just dont know anything about swimming, so I have to rely on her coach for that. Also, she is not that fast to begin with. As an example, first place in freestyle was 36 seconds, her time was around 45.

She just had city, her last meet. She did tabata style interval training 3 -4 times a week after practice (for about 3 weeks I think). I really have to give her some props here, she really drove this training routine after I suggested it (ie I did not have to prod her to get her to keep with it) and kept focused on beating her times at city.

Her times:

Freestyle
Previous best: 49.68
City: 44.98
difference: -4.7

Back Stroke
Previous best: 64.45
City: 59.03
difference: -5.42

Breast Stroke
Previous best: 72.96
City: 65.89
difference: -7.07

I know I am biased as her father here, but those improvements seem pretty amazing to me. Her times were essentially flat (ie no noticeable improvement) for the first two months of the season. So these improvements are the result of her efforts for the last three weeks.

She still slowed down on the second leg of her freestyle, but on the back and breast, she kept the same pace all the way through.


#7

I would have to agree that technique is #1 when it comes to improving speed and stamina. World class swimmers are always looking to improve exercise economy and prove to do so by improving their technique.

I think doing some sort of interval training is a great idea. But from my knowledge on swimmers, they get a lot of training volume during practice, so doing intervals or tabatas 3-4x a week might be a little on the high end. I would start off with just 2x a week and build up from there.

I also would not do thrusters as the interval or tabata training. Stick to the bike, hill sprints, 200-400 meters run.