T Nation

Swimming, Lifting, CNS

I swim competitively for a club team 5 times a week 2 hours a day. I am currently working out 3 times a week, Mon Lower body Tues upper body and Fri whole body (alot of Oly. lifts and compound movements). This workouts focus mainly alot on strength increase meaning 2-4 rep range and lifting as heavy as possible. This type of lifting, I understands, targets the CNS system. Now the practices for swimming are very high intensity and I swim at 4pm for two hours. I was wondering if this would affect my CNS system and make me weaker lifts. Also I was wondering I should modify my workout to put in more rest due to the fact of the swimming.

I am a sprinter, 50 free 22.5 100free 51.1 and 100 fly 57.1,
6" tall 180 lbs eat around 250grams of protien throughout the day eat alot of carbs throughout the day until evening and greens and some fruits in mid day. I try to eat clean and i dont use supplments at the moment.

Recap: I swim hard and lift hard. Does competitive swimming affect my CNS so much that I should decrease the workload on my lifting?

Thats some fucking good times there!
It’ll probably cut a little into your recovery, but less so than the higher rep stuff that leaves you really sore. Shouldn’t negatively impact your swimming much unless you are really pushing your limits and almost failing in the gym. Swimming isn’t too CNS intensive, except for the meets (where you end up swimming in 4+ events). I mean, people train 7-10 times a week with sprint and distance work combined in each session.

As a mediocre swimmer and waterpolo player it didn’t affect me much until I added more volume when I was doing 3x a week lifting. I’d probably schedule some changes when you are tapering for a meet, or if you end up burning out quicker when you’re in the more intense blocks of training.
It’s hard not to push to the very limit in the gym, but I think lower reps and concentrating on steady progress is the right way. You seem to have the right idea anyhow!

They are indeed excellent times !
I swim (mediocre) and lift too (no where near your times, i also prefer 400/800/1500!)

I train 5 times a week also, however i vary my lifting a little too

Day 1 total body day 5x5 so Deads, Squat and Chins (all heavy)
Day 2 is KB circuit work swings,rows etc
Day 3 Drag the sled for an 45mins - Abs
However i am more endurance based events…Anyway I also do a lot of shoulder pre-hab stuff before each session - Make sure you are doing that…In terms of overhead lifting i would be careful here is link to an article that Eric Cressey wrote for elitefts.com. It is very interesting and saved my shoulders big time…


read that and keep lifting heavy, great to hear that someone is swimming and lifting keep going and get under that 50 sec for 100 Free !

Because there are no impact forces on the body when swimming, it is very unlikely to overreach with nervous system training for a swimmer, when their ground work is carefully planned.

Are your lifting sessions on the same days as your swimming? If not, I would try and make sure they are. That would give you 2 full days off from swimming and lifting a week, which is a really good balance for a swimmer.

Thank you Damo for that article, brought some light, I already had two rotary cuff injuries, one due to waterpolo and another to swimming, and I’ll have to add some more rotary cuff exercises.

I lift during the weekdays and I have practice during the weekdays so weekends for me are rest days. Well I feel like im heading the right direction I’ll just lower the volume a little and add more weight then.

Thanks for the time compliments. Yea I just push myself hard at practice, im hoping to go under 50 in my hundred and hit 56 in my butterfly by the end of summer.

Thanks everyone so far.


I also remembered this little gem


Scroll down towards the bottom and you will find a great 2 min shoulder warm up video from Jim Smith who is from the DiesalCrew. I have been doing it 3 times a week before my lifting sessions and it has made a huge difference to how my shoulders feel in the water…Especially when you reach 34 y.o :slight_smile:

What team you swim for?

High rep band or broomstick partial dislocates and lat stretching help with rotator mobility and pain a hell of a lot as well.


Can’t find the lat stretch, but basically just grab a rack, lean back and try to shrug your shoulder out of the socket. The height affects where you stretch. I’m sure you either know what I’m talking about or someones got a vid.

I swim for Archbishop Mitty HS in Cali, same league as Bellarmine HS if you heard of them (3rd in Nation I think), and now Im swimming for West Coast Aquatics, a lower end mediocre swim club. I started swimming in Highschool as a freshman and now Im going to be a senior hoping to pull those times up and swim a little in college.

Thanks to Damo and smokotime, those articles will help alot, my shoulder get trashed alot so thanks, and im interested in that Lat stretch, they get sore after those long sprint days…