T Nation

Swimming for Cardio

So, I’ve read all the ‘swimming for cardio’ threads, and I just found out I could get a pool membership 5 minutes away from my college for a really cheap price. Needless to say, I’m going to use swimming as some cardio 2-3 times a week as a cutting method.

Anyway, does anyone ever swim with fins? I’ve done it before and felt it was a harder workout, anyone know of any proof of this or some type of idea?

Also, does anyone have a good ‘program’ for swimming? I’m a pretty good swimmer, I’ve just never taken it all too seriously or anything like that.

With fins is harder? Fins are there to make it easier to go fast. Sometimes it’s a lot funner with fins but you make it from one end to the other 10x faster with less work.

A good program I like to use is a Bud/s training one. swim a length and then get out, do 10 burpees and dive back in. get to the other side and do nine burpees. and so on down to one.

try and get some pool shoes things so you don’t slip if it’s tile. alternatively clapping pushups are an option.

I like interval swimming also. swim your ass off for 1min and take 30 second break. then repeat 8 times, tabata style.

treading water is hella hard too. do it for 10 mins.

-chris

[quote]realpeanutbutter wrote:
treading water is hella hard too. do it for 10 mins.
-chris[/quote]

I had to do that for my scuba cert. My instructor said I couldnt do it with my hands above my head for a minute. I did that, too. Now, that shit is hard.

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
So, I’ve read all the ‘swimming for cardio’ threads, and I just found out I could get a pool membership 5 minutes away from my college for a really cheap price. Needless to say, I’m going to use swimming as some cardio 2-3 times a week as a cutting method.

Anyway, does anyone ever swim with fins? I’ve done it before and felt it was a harder workout, anyone know of any proof of this or some type of idea?

Also, does anyone have a good ‘program’ for swimming? I’m a pretty good swimmer, I’ve just never taken it all too seriously or anything like that. [/quote]

Yes, fins are excellent. Try butterfly drills and actually swimming the butterfly with them - you get power , speed and intensity from training with them. Even if you can’t swim butterfly, try it - just the effort to master it will be an excellent choice for cutting as it will challenge your whole body.

Also get paddles. The bigger the paddle the more power you will need to swim - bigger paddles are like using heavier dumbbells.

200m warm up
100kick easy
10x50 kick w/10sec rest
100 pull w/paddles
16x25 @30sec interval pull
5x100 increasing in speed and power - w/ 20sec, 15sec, 10sec, 5sec rest between each 100m.
200 swim down.

On the 10x50 kick you can do alternatively 20x25 butterfly with the fins on.

[quote]realpeanutbutter wrote:
With fins is harder? Fins are there to make it easier to go fast. Sometimes it’s a lot funner with fins but you make it from one end to the other 10x faster with less work.
-chris[/quote]

Or you can switch on the power and make it to the other end 20 times faster, turn and maintain that power output for another 100m non stop and when you do - you take a 5 sec break and go kill yourself again for another 4 lengths non stop of sustained power breathing once every two kicks, then tell me if you can maintain that performance for 10 sets of 5 secs rest of 100m non stop kicking breathing at every two strokes.

; )

Your water dumbbells…
Try swimming the butterfly with the XL one.

I swam pretty seriously for a couple years training for triathlons of varying distances. What’s great about the low impact is that you can do intervals without joint trauma; fins are good but I would limit the use of “water dumbells”–they are good in moderation but can wreak havoc on your shoulders if you’re not careful.

For technique, the “catch-up” drill is excellent; as is the “fisting” drill, and the drill where you touch your own shoulder and the top of your head with each stroke. The intention is to get your elbows high and work on getting as much distance per stroke as possible…the fewer strokes/length, the better. I’d look on a swimming website for how-tos on those drills.

As for speed/power/cardio fitness: intervals are the way to go. Try repeats of varying distances, always using the clock: 50 meters on the 1;00, 100 meters on the 2:00, 150 meters on the 3:00. These times are typical; adjust down or up to accomodate your speed. You can do these in sets of 2-5, depending on your fitness level.

A decent workout is about 2000-3000 meters, broken up into drills and intervals, which with a little practice you should be able to complete in 40 minutes.

One caveat: some coaches/trainers tell trainees that fat loss is tougher with swimming than other forms of cardio due to the fact that the heat you generate is pretty much nullified by the water. I’ve never had a problem–I feel like swimming cuts up my upper body as little else can–but it’s something to keep in mind.

Good swimming
DF

[quote]dynamicfitness wrote:
One caveat: some coaches/trainers tell trainees that fat loss is tougher with swimming than other forms of cardio due to the fact that the heat you generate is pretty much nullified by the water. I’ve never had a problem–I feel like swimming cuts up my upper body as little else can–but it’s something to keep in mind.

Good swimming
DF[/quote]

I’ve never heard that, thanks. I’m just kinda doing it to get in better shape cardio wise, as well as burning some extra calories.

I’ll still be doing some sort of cardio ‘on land’ as well.

I swim for cardio. It’s a great workout. Lots of good suggestions and I’ll add a few…

I really like swimming for my cardio. It is very joint friendly and if you mix up a lot of strokes you can ditch the cable machine. Downside is that there is a big learning curve and it takes a good 6 months of practice for a complete novice to really get a good workout, I think.

First off, use different strokes. I normally do circuits of side, crawlx3, back and butterfly. I don’t do breaststroke since I find it gives me pain on the inside of the knee which affects my squat, e.g.

Get a lane and do figure 8’s. If you face a direction (e.g. in the crawl) always face the same way, e.g. north or whatever. This way you will do both sides automatically and not get neck pain. When you swim 8’s, you are not allowed to touch any external surface until your swim is over – any direction changes must be done by swimming which is a lot more work than it sounds. You will have to work out your pace so you can rest a bit in the water if needed. Besides, having to turn for each length will make your back stronger and happier.

Using fins, paddles and such do a couple things. (1) let you get stronger in your strokes or kicks (2) teach you where you have drag. Most of speed swimming is minimizing drag rather than just speeding up. If you use fins and paddles too much you can get overtraining issues with your shoulders (suxx!!). I just grab them for a couple of weeks a few times a year.

Finally, don’t forget about sprints. Swimming 8’s is a great cardio workout but for power, do sprints. Take your fastest stroke and go hell for lather for a couple of laps. You can either work these into 8’s or just rest between sets, depending on how strong you feel.

Hope this helps,

jj

[quote]dynamicfitness wrote:
One caveat: some coaches/trainers tell trainees that fat loss is tougher with swimming than other forms of cardio due to the fact that the heat you generate is pretty much nullified by the water. I’ve never had a problem–I feel like swimming cuts up my upper body as little else can–but it’s something to keep in mind.
[/quote]

Agreed. The amount of force needed is proportional to the speed, so swim faster to burn more calories. It is as simple as that.

When I need to cut, I up the swimming and do the “Irish Diet”: eat baked potatoes for carbs. At 2/3 cal/gr. it is darn hard to overdo it. Remember that all the serious calories come from what you put on them…

jj
(This might have gotten reposted by accident, If so 1,000 pardons.)

[quote]jj-dude wrote:
Downside is that there is a big learning curve and it takes a good 6 months of practice for a complete novice to really get a good workout, I think.
[/quote]

I do not consider myself a ‘novice’ in any sense. I’ve beaten my friends who lifeguard (most ocean lifeguards) in races in pools as well as open water. Its just that I never took swimming seriously as in becoming a lifeguard or joining a swim team. That said, thats why I never said I had a constructed workout other than racing my friends for shits and giggles.

Try this:

-tread water with a diving brick for increasing time intervals
-swim with clothes on (preferably old style military fatigues, all pockets open)
-sidestroke with a diving brick elevated out of the water (lifesaving stroke)

If these don’t get you sweating, nothing will.

DD