T Nation

Swimming for Recovery


I'm going to force myslf to take a couple of weeks off from lifting due to a general beat-up feeling i've had of late. i'd like to swim lanes (slowly) in place of my regular workouts and am not sure as to what volume and frequency I should do. I have a tendancy to push recovery weeks too hard and completely defeat the purpose, so I'm actually going to write out a schedule rather than "do whatever" - which always leads to a competitive effort. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.


Keep it easy, you should feel refreshed when you're done, not beat up. A HR monitor might be a good idea, keep yourself under 130 bpm or so.


Swimming is great for recovery. Releases a lot of lactic aid and stretches out muscle while exercising full ROM and lung capacity. Its relaxing too. I'd suggest around 3-5 days a week.
Long long but no effort easy warm up. Around 16 laps.
2x 100's (4 laps) fast pace.
2x 200 (16 laps easy)
4x50 (2 laps) all out.
5 min of kicking with a kick board
Then just go as easy as you want take a couple laps around for cool down, important.

Take the long and easy laps very easy. You should be a bit winded after the sprints, but not dead or tired.


Damn it Back, I have a thing for farm girls, so go change your avatar so I can get some work done!


^^ back211 has a GOOD workout.

I had an accident and that resulted in a R brachial plexus avulsion. A Dr.'s way of saying my arm doesn't work because the nerves controlling my arm were ripped out of my spine.

I stay away from lifting weights because if I have an imbalance in my spine I could end up in a wheel chair the rest of my life. Not worth it in my eyes. However I need to train in some method. Now I swim.

I change the workout every ~4-6 weeks and my body is becoming what I strove for when working out with just weights. My chest is not as developed but my L bicep and tricep are larger than during my weight training days. I tried DB for two weeks to see the change I had made to swimming was beneficial in any way. My L arm is stronger now than any previous time. It could have to do with the fact I only have one functional arm now, but I'm still stronger than when I had two.

Something that was a huge help for me, I sprint to one side of the pool and after reversing direction I slow way down to catch my breath. The next lap is as fast as possible, then slow. I slowly add a lap after each day. Sometimes I can't swim for as long the next day in the pool, but I try. If that doesn't make sense, let me know. jaa jaa

The other thing, talk with the lifeguards. They are so bored because they just watch people swim. They love talking with people and most obviously swim on their own. Swimmers are IMHO some of the most injury free people, yet still have physiques many strive for. No offense to any BB's though!! Swimming is highly recommended by this gimp ; ]


Thanks for the tips. back211 - I should have mentioned that while my swimming technique is great, my conditioning is not. Having said that, I will probably start out with the 16 easy laps followed by 5min with the kicking board. The program you suggest will take me a few weeks to build up to, but when I start the weights again, I'm sure the difference in my wind will be noticeable.

Tomorrow (today?) is my last heavy workout, I'll work up to a max snatch and front squat and then do some laps in the pool to assess my condition. I've decided on a full three week hiatus from the lifting platform, so I'm thinking i'll have to go swimming 4 times/week or risk a fullblown case of stircrazy.
When done at a moderate/easy pace, is there a limit to the frequency I can go swimming?


Yea swimming can be tough but from experience the easiest way to get conditioned for it is by embracing the suck. Haha
However I do suggest a couple sprints per workout. Something like a couple 25's (1 lap) all out or 50 (2 laps) build up ( start of easy and "build-up" effort until the end. The last 2-3 strokes should be all out.) This is good for warm-up.
Dont go into a workout without warming up easy or end one without a cooldown. Its easily to cramp up in the water during a set without a warm-up and cooldown just makees life easier the next day.
Suck it up and wear a speedo, 100fold easier to swim in. Plus the babes dig the pro look.


I swam the back stroke for 30mins the other day and I had to work hard to get my HR above 130bpm. It was a workout for my shoulders but I intended it to be that way.


Using one of those foam floating things and putting it between your legs while doing a couple legs help work the shoulders more and stretch them out. It basically keeps you from kicking, but it helps you stay afloat so you don't have try to hard to stay afloat and can go easy or hard and just work on your shoulders.
Backstroke is more dependant on one's kicking. Butterfly on your abdominals and breastroke one timing however it is the most muscle challenging stroke.