T Nation

Swimming For Cardio

I’ve started going swimming a few times a week, as HIIT (running on a field) has been taking it’s toll on my dodgy knee - an old cartilage injury.

I’ve been doing 3 sessions of swimming a week - 1 fast session that lasts for approx 20 minutes and 2 very slow paced sessions that last an hour.

Not only has this helped my knee but it seems to help in that the muscles feel as though they’re getting stretched as well as the more obvious cardio benefits.

The only thing that I’m bothered about is whether or not I could be undoing some of my work in the gym.

Is swimming known for being detrimental in terms of muscle loss?

as a competitive swimmer, I can say that from what I’ve seen, you never see the physique of a huge guy (Arnold, or anyone with huge arms) making national cuts. It depends on what your definition of progress in the gym can be. If it were outright brute strength, I wouldn’t think it would be to much of a problem at all. As far as you talking about feeling as if you’re muscles are stretched, it’s because swimming is a stretching exercise that will noticeably aid your flexibility everywhere, when combined with stretching and proper dryland techniques.

I have swimming xp, and I can say that swimming will put on some muscle. Just like, track will, or hockey, or martial arts, or gymnastics…However the hypertrophy from swimming, is specific to the sport, and you won’t get the swole-lord look.

I think this depends on your goals, if you want to get big, I think you should focus on that and limit swimming, if not outright remove it.

That’s not to say one can’t put on some decent muscle + swim seriously and not gain lean muscle, I just feel if huge, huge muscles are your goal you should zero in on that.

Personally I really like to swim, but it would hold back my weight training goals for the time being, so I don’t. Just my opinion.

Thanks for the response dreads, all the better for it coming from a swimmer.

I’m not looking to get huge (I can’t drink all that milk and I don’t have time for all those squats) I’m 6ft and 200lbs and want to get to around 240-250 with decent strength.

I think you’ve pretty much answered my question so thanks.

sure bro!

It’s good to see some swimmers here!
I’m an x swimmer myself, back in 2000 placed third at the Canadian Nationals for the 100m Butterfly.

If you know how to train properly, for example relax in the water and build up your speed, swimming can be brutal. Do some Desc work, and some negative split work, that’ll get you for sure. From all my coaching experience, those that haven’t swam competitively before will not swim at the same intensity as a competitive will, or someone with some sort of experience.

Good luck.

I’ve heard swimming isn’t the choice activity for losing weight since the amount you can breathe and your body temperature are regulated by the water. But I’m pretty sure that’s just rubbish people read in Men’s Health.

if you’re able to do it competitively or work your way to actually doing sets, hell, swimming kicks HIIT’s ass anyday! shit, I’d love to see the average joe do 5x100 on the 3:00 all out. lol. what was your worst set?

I would like to start swimming again. I think a beginner can benefit from swimming more than an experienced swimmer. The beginner is going to use more energy just to stay afloat.

My friends and I used to swim a half hour or so a couple days a week just to change it up a bit. Johns Hopkins Football has their players warm up in a swimming pool before practice.