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Swimming for Conditioning with 5/3/1?


Just wanted to get your thoughts on using swimming for conditioning instead of running hills? Good idea? Bad idea? Are the muscles going to get enough rest if swimming? Nothing serious just 20 short lengths (condo pool) during off days?


Both are great in their own way. With swimming you dont get the muscle/joint pounding you get with hill sprints but you dont get the greater metabolic burn in the time after the workout that hills give you. Im assuming you are new to swimming so initially you will get a great cardio workout but you will adapt pretty quickly with practice and with hills you can quickly tweak that days workout (run faster, use weight vest, hold dumbells) to keep it in the red zone. Overall for strict conditioning you cant beat the hill work but why not alternate between the two??


I also remember reading somewhere in this site that the caloric expenditure of swimming is inferior to that of other activities. That being said, I think that if you enjoy it you should keep doing it, since motivation is key to being compliant to any program. Also, you can always mix it up with other activities (like hill sprinting) to keep things varied.


Agreed with everything else, but that's almost certainly only ADVANCED SWIMMERS who have become very efficient, who are the ones burning fewer kcals

For the rest of us, it can be plenty demanding caloric-wise (and also stimulate some serious post-training food consumption)


I don't think of swimming as being a good conditioning exercise but i do think that it is an excellent post weights recovery exercise.


It depends on what type of swimming really, you could do single lap sprints with all out effort or you could do 20 easy laps. Kinda like walking and sprinting, same difference IMHO.
I think sprints are the go for conditioning for sure.


Have you ever seen a swimmer with an impressive physique?

Have you ever seen a sprinter with an impressive physique?



Thanks for the comments. What's the best way to get the conditioning in? would it be right post workout or is it ok to do it during off days?


your after an effective condictioning workout.....so if your doing the sprinting IMO you do it on non-workout days so your 100% effort isnt compromised by your just completed workout. Your motivation/engergy level would be higher and result in a more effective sprint workout. To lose bodyfat I would recommmed doing a sprint workout right AFTER a weight workout due to the already depleted carb system.


Yeah, Ben Johnson
Yeah, Michael Phelps


I swam in high school and did club swimming in college. It CAN be an amazing workout considering it's basically 2-hours of sprinting. But if you don't know what you're doing and you don't push yourself, it can be about as useful for conditioning as walking a mile over the course of a half-hour. When you push yourself with swimming, it's on a whole different level and you'll think you won't be able to keep going, but you'll be surprised. First, learn correct form. This makes it possible to swim faster. However, this is going to be a lot harder breathing-wise. This is why swimmers have amazing lung capacities. Also, just like with most other things, if you have shit form, you're likely to get injured. Really, if you swim your whole workout week-in, week-out with crap form, you'll probably get shoulder problems (been there). Second, search around for swim workouts. Swimplan.com is a website I have used in the past if you're too lazy to look anything up on your own. Third, I need to stress that you need to push yourself really hard to get the benefits of swimming. Treat it like sprints and keep the rest times extremely low (pretty much, anything over 30-45sec is a no-no). In fact, 15 seconds should be a normal rest time for the shorter distances (100yards or less). The workouts should sound and feel intimidating but they'll make you awesome.

It's not about how fast you swim. It's not about how far you swim. It's about how far you swim fast.


Would you prefer Michael Phelps physique or Ben Johnsons physique?




the question was conditioning not physique building.

OP - swimming will build impressive cardio-vascular system.


at the end of swimming season, i find i have amazingly quick recovery rates when doing sprints for pre-season rugby.
^^^^ like above swimming is as hard as you make it. i would do 50m sprints (freestyle - 100% effort) on a 2.5 - 3 minute split. this is probably my favourite thing to do in the pool and it is pretty intense.

if you want to increase the resistance, you can buy flippers or 'power paddles' by speedo. i do this on my days off from the gym and every muscle above my waiste is on fire.


Apparently you'd prefer neither -- you have a skinny-ass soccer player for an avatar.



It's the conditioning section , people have lots of different purposes and goals here.


Your contradicting yourself.

And atleast I have an avatar.





how do you plan on getting "conditioned" doing 20 condo pool sprints? whats a condo pool, 20 yards long at best? so you're swimming 400 yards.. not a very long conditioning workout..

to avoid injury i would do a good 1000 meters warm up.. hard to give advice not knowing how much time you have to swim and how good of a swimmer you are..

of course swimmers are going to be guilt different than track sprinters. alltogether different types of training..

personally, i rather fight any track sprinter vs a waterpolo player..


There was a wink, knucklehead, connoting a little fun -- apparently the stick up your ass has a stick up its ass.

And no, there was no contradiction: there are different kinds of conditioning, reasons for achieving it, and ways to go about it -- all under the general rubric of "conditioning". Obvious, but I guess you and critical thinking are two.

Congratulations on your avatar; when I have achieved a slavish wannabe devotionalism, maybe I can have one, too.

Finally, may I recommend a remedial grammar class before you cast more aspersions on intelligence? Your call, but it was a good laugh either way.


Sweet post man! I also swam in high school & college. Started lifting junior year in high school, was in the best shape of my life for the remaining 6 years of school. Wish I could find a decent pool that didn't cost a buttload to use.

Anywhoo, everything in this quote is correct, I run & do hill sprints & tire drags & car pushes. . . . never been leaner then when I was swimming competively. . . sigh. . .


Swimming is good for recovery.

It's not running though. For conditioning, run miles and sprints.

The benefits will far outweigh swimming.