T Nation

Swimming Routine for Cardio

Lifting Experience: 1.5 years, 240 lbs, 6’3", looking to cut.

I need cardio to lose some weight.

What swimming routine should I do?

Thanks

[quote]SpadeK wrote:
Lifting Experience: 1.5 years, 240 lbs, 6’3", looking to cut.

I need cardio to lose some weight.

What swimming routine should I do?

Thanks[/quote]

I have noted that swimming is next to never mentioned as a cardio means…

Like any thing if you want to hit it hard swim without stopping at a high rate for like 10-15 min and work your way up in time.
good luck

solid

It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.
Also it burns less calories when compared to running as the body is supported alot be the water buoyancy.
The water’s resistance does give the muscles a workout though, which IS good.

If you are a decent (read: fantastic) swimmer, then you should have “the body” already… see swimmers bodies?! V taper… calves… thighs… lean… etc etc…

If not, it is possible to use swimming but i would suggest you go with your high intensity drills and long distance steady state in the morning in a partially glycogen delpleted state…(1/2 cup protein in coffee). If you don’t have the experience to know any drills etc, then i wold say go with a different form if possible, you’ll not get out of swimming what you need… not as quick as something else anyway.

If you LOVE swimming though and just are not going to use it as your MAIN cardio, use it as active rest 2-3 times a week. It does still burn calories and is enjoyable and refreshing. That will increase your efforts in the kitchen if ADDED ON TOP of your existing program.

Why swimming.?

Joe

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.
Also it burns less calories when compared to running as the body is supported alot be the water buoyancy.
The water’s resistance does give the muscles a workout though, which IS good.

If you are a decent (read: fantastic) swimmer, then you should have “the body” already… see swimmers bodies?! V taper… calves… thighs… lean… etc etc…

If not, it is possible to use swimming but i would suggest you go with your high intensity drills and long distance steady state in the morning in a partially glycogen delpleted state…(1/2 cup protein in coffee). If you don’t have the experience to know any drills etc, then i wold say go with a different form if possible, you’ll not get out of swimming what you need… not as quick as something else anyway.

If you LOVE swimming though and just are not going to use it as your MAIN cardio, use it as active rest 2-3 times a week. It does still burn calories and is enjoyable and refreshing. That will increase your efforts in the kitchen if ADDED ON TOP of your existing program.

Why swimming.?

Joe[/quote]

First off, ignore most of this.

Since you’re asking for a routine I’m assuming you have little/no experience swimming, let alone competetive swimming.

You’ll want to keep your workouts under an hour, and if you do any actual swimming during this time you’ll probably barely be able to make an hour.

Warm up:
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
100 freestyle easy/moderate pace with - 2x with 15 seconds rest between

Work set 1
50 hard pace on the minute - 6x
200 pull (stick a pool buoy between your legs and only use your arms to move)
repeat

Work set 2
Variable sprint: Start each 25 after 40 seconds (0:00, 0:40, 1:20, :2:00)
25 easy
25 hard
25 sprint
25 easy
4x total

Cooldown
200 easy freestyle

Total 2200 yards

Again I don’t know your swimming experience but this shouldn’t take all that long plus it will burn more than running. Also, it’s alot more fun.

Try it out and see how it works… you’ll probably have to tweak a few things, just don’t get lazy on the sides and you’ll be good. Swim about 3x a week.

Swimming is excellent cardio.

[quote]BHCS18 wrote:
Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.
Also it burns less calories when compared to running as the body is supported alot be the water buoyancy.
The water’s resistance does give the muscles a workout though, which IS good.

If you are a decent (read: fantastic) swimmer, then you should have “the body” already… see swimmers bodies?! V taper… calves… thighs… lean… etc etc…

If not, it is possible to use swimming but i would suggest you go with your high intensity drills and long distance steady state in the morning in a partially glycogen delpleted state…(1/2 cup protein in coffee). If you don’t have the experience to know any drills etc, then i wold say go with a different form if possible, you’ll not get out of swimming what you need… not as quick as something else anyway.

If you LOVE swimming though and just are not going to use it as your MAIN cardio, use it as active rest 2-3 times a week. It does still burn calories and is enjoyable and refreshing. That will increase your efforts in the kitchen if ADDED ON TOP of your existing program.

Why swimming.?

Joe

First off, ignore most of this.

Since you’re asking for a routine I’m assuming you have little/no experience swimming, let alone competetive swimming.

You’ll want to keep your workouts under an hour, and if you do any actual swimming during this time you’ll probably barely be able to make an hour.

Warm up:
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
100 freestyle easy/moderate pace with - 2x with 15 seconds rest between

Work set 1
50 hard pace on the minute - 6x
200 pull (stick a pool buoy between your legs and only use your arms to move)
repeat

Work set 2
Variable sprint: Start each 25 after 40 seconds (0:00, 0:40, 1:20, :2:00)
25 easy
25 hard
25 sprint
25 easy
4x total

Cooldown
200 easy freestyle

Total 2200 yards

Again I don’t know your swimming experience but this shouldn’t take all that long plus it will burn more than running. Also, it’s alot more fun.

Try it out and see how it works… you’ll probably have to tweak a few things, just don’t get lazy on the sides and you’ll be good. Swim about 3x a week.
[/quote]

In other words, don’t ignore what i said but here are some drills to use? lol

[quote]BHCS18 wrote:
Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.
Also it burns less calories when compared to running as the body is supported alot be the water buoyancy.
The water’s resistance does give the muscles a workout though, which IS good.

If you are a decent (read: fantastic) swimmer, then you should have “the body” already… see swimmers bodies?! V taper… calves… thighs… lean… etc etc…

If not, it is possible to use swimming but i would suggest you go with your high intensity drills and long distance steady state in the morning in a partially glycogen delpleted state…(1/2 cup protein in coffee). If you don’t have the experience to know any drills etc, then i wold say go with a different form if possible, you’ll not get out of swimming what you need… not as quick as something else anyway.

If you LOVE swimming though and just are not going to use it as your MAIN cardio, use it as active rest 2-3 times a week. It does still burn calories and is enjoyable and refreshing. That will increase your efforts in the kitchen if ADDED ON TOP of your existing program.

Why swimming.?

Joe

First off, ignore most of this.

Since you’re asking for a routine I’m assuming you have little/no experience swimming, let alone competetive swimming.

You’ll want to keep your workouts under an hour, and if you do any actual swimming during this time you’ll probably barely be able to make an hour.

Warm up:
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
75 freestyle 25 backstroke - 2x back to back
rest 30 seconds
100 freestyle easy/moderate pace with - 2x with 15 seconds rest between

Work set 1
50 hard pace on the minute - 6x
200 pull (stick a pool buoy between your legs and only use your arms to move)
repeat

Work set 2
Variable sprint: Start each 25 after 40 seconds (0:00, 0:40, 1:20, :2:00)
25 easy
25 hard
25 sprint
25 easy
4x total

Cooldown
200 easy freestyle

Total 2200 yards

Again I don’t know your swimming experience but this shouldn’t take all that long plus it will burn more than running. Also, it’s alot more fun.

Try it out and see how it works… you’ll probably have to tweak a few things, just don’t get lazy on the sides and you’ll be good. Swim about 3x a week.
[/quote]

And this only burns more than running when you add the distance and compare it to a run for that total distance!! If we were to create a plan with speed-play/intervals, shuttles etc… then i am sure we could have more of a reasonable comparison.

Don’t twist shit to try and make me look like a dick, it is out of order - you are free to give advice that contradicts me - i would have no problem, but there is no need to be a twat about it.

Joe

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.[/quote]

Being in a cold environment means your body has to work harder to stay warm. Not the other way around.

Water is also about 500x more viscous than air - you have to pull yourself through it and gravity doesn’t help. Use common sense.

[quote]The water’s resistance does give the muscles a workout though, which IS good.
[/quote]

You don’t have to ignore this part.

“If you are an elite athlete you’ll look like an elite athlete!”
Yes. Shame he’s not. He can ignore this too.

Make my day, try to swim a 500 and report back. You won’t be able to do long distance steady state. If that’s the route (fucking boring out of your mind) you want to go, you’re gonna have to work up to even a 500, which isn’t even that far for the record. Just use lighter distances and make it fun.

Swimming works pretty much your entire body and still burns the most calories.

[quote]If you LOVE swimming though and just are not going to use it as your MAIN cardio, use it as active rest 2-3 times a week. It does still burn calories and is enjoyable and refreshing. That will increase your efforts in the kitchen if ADDED ON TOP of your existing program.
[/quote]

Go ahead, swim about 3x a week. Don’t consider it active rest unless you swim like a pansy for short periods of time though.

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
And this only burns more than running when you add the distance and compare it to a run for that total distance!! If we were to create a plan with speed-play/intervals, shuttles etc… then i am sure we could have more of a reasonable comparison.[/quote]

Our distance guys swim about 12,000-13,000yards a day and are supposed to eat 7,000 cals a day. I’d like to see your track boys eat 7,000 calories a day.
[/quote]

[quote]Don’t twist shit to try and make me look like a dick, it is out of order - you are free to give advice that contradicts me - i would have no problem, but there is no need to be a twat about it.
Joe[/quote]

I said ignore it. Don’t tell me I twisted a goddamn thing, and don’t give swimming advice if you’re not a swimmer.

BC

[quote]BHCS18 wrote:
Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.

Being in a cold environment means your body has to work harder to stay warm. Not the other way around.
[/quote]
Chill the fuck out a bit. I have heard this on numerous occasions - can you see the logic? I understand this would make the body work harder BUT it also cools the body. The metabolism raises but thermogenesis lowers. Dont just rubbish my comments without due process.

This is similar. I thought of your point while i wrote it actually, you are right of course, i am not disputing that, but is there or is there not the buoyancy to look into? You know there is. You cannot just ignore the points i made just to make your own.

And no mention of the drills that i make the main part of the post. You may be right, swimming to a newbie is real tough and the distances needed to swim are too far to just begin as is.

I was saying that drills are the way to go, just like the ones you suggested. Buuut you aren’t really interested in just helping out are you, you just want an argument!

And if you are no strong swimmer as we have assumed, with no experience of drills to use, then that is going to be the main type of swimming going on.

“our distance guys” “Your track guys” WTF?? I obviously have gotted caught up in an age old debate between surf and turf here. Jesus mate.

As for your point, fair enough, but we know that losing fat isn’t just a measrue of how many calories the activity uses. Or bodybuilders would be doing intervals in the pool, rather than slow steady state walking. This IS a bodybuilding forum. The OP IS a lifter.

[quote]

Don’t twist shit to try and make me look like a dick, it is out of order - you are free to give advice that contradicts me - i would have no problem, but there is no need to be a twat about it.
Joe

I said ignore it. Don’t tell me I twisted a goddamn thing, and don’t give swimming advice if you’re not a swimmer.
BC[/quote]
You DID say ignore it, clever you! You also tried to make it seem like i made the rust of my post up. Just to reinforce your point maybe, i dont know. I am happy to admit where i am mistaken. I am also not about to let some twat try to rubbish my post just for S+G.

You obviously have some kinda hang up between “our track guys” and “your swim guys” and i am not going to be a part of your private, pathetic war- I am sure the OP is bemused to watch us arguing over such a simple question, and i am not interested in wasting any more time on your pathetic tantrums.

Joe

Back when I was in college (not long ago…3-4 years)…up until my senior year, it was a requirement for all Phys. Ed./Health majors to either pass a basic swimming skills 101 course or forgo the course and pass a one day swimming skills test. Naturally, pretty much everyone would choose to do the swim test.

This is where I found out that swimming…at least competively or otherwise… is alot tougher than it seems.

The test consisted of two sections. The first part took place in the olympic portion of the pool (i.e., the kind w/lanes). There you would demonstrate different stroke techniques…each one, down the length of the pool and back twice…I think we had to do 3-4 “strokes” total…so that would have been about 6-8 laps total.

Easy you say?..ok heres where it gets tricky…at no time during your laps could your feet touch the bottom of the pool…if you did, you failed…no questions asked. There were at least 4 professors patroling the pool watching everyone and ordering them out of the water if they spotted them touching the bottom.

About 4 laps in you started to see people dropping like flies. And remember, these are mostly phys. ed./exercise science/athletic training majors, guys and girls that are in decent shape. I think the main reason was that they just werent used to this form of exercise.

I kid you not, there were a few actual school athletes that weren’t able to make it thru…I recognized one guy from the baseball team and a few other girls who I thought played softball/volleyball.

I myself was guilty of touching the bottom once or twice without anyone seeing me…but I won’t tell if you won’t.

If you were lucky enough to finish your laps, you went on to the second part of the test…treading water. Without much of a breather at all, you would go to the diving area of the pool (the deep section).

Here you would swim out toward the middle of the pool, cross your arms and use only your feet/legs to help you stay afloat. You had to do this for 5 minutes solid…if this sounds easy, give it a try…5 minutes seems like an eternity when youre doing this.

When I finished, I was sucking wind…the equivilent of maybe running several hard laps around a track. My back, shoulders, and legs were all spent. I could feel muscles aching that I didnt even know I had.

If I learned anything that day, it was that swimming was darn good exercise…and if done with some intensity, could be great a form of cardio. It sure beats the crap out of the monotony of running on a treadmill or around a track.

I found out that day also that the pool was open to all students two nights a week. Every once in awhile I started going and doing about 20-30 minutes worth of laps. IMO, swimming is a great alternative to other forms of exercise…one of the only downsides being that not alot of people have access to an olympic sized pool, or even a regular sized pool for that matter.

Your right. I had to do a basic lifeguard tost for a job once… all it was (apart from the retrieve the body and brick stuff) was 8 lengths of an olympic ool… 4 in one stroke and 4 in another. My breast and butterfly are atrocious, worse if possible, than my crawl and back… So being the lesser of two evils i chose crawl and backstroke.
I remember taking in so much water i was almost drowning!! It was so fucking hard.

I totally agree to its difficulty, and its effectiveness as a form of exercise.
But as a cutting tol? I am not so sure… Maybe if you are a good enough swimmer to do long distance… Thats all i was saying before.

Swimming is a poor choice for cardio and cutting weight. Just because a means of cardiovascular exercise is difficult does not make it great for everything.

If you’ve had a hard upper body workout and you want an excellent means of active recovery, swimming is your best bet. If you want to be able to handle more volume in your workouts, swimming is great GPP for teaching your muscles to handle lots of volume in the weight room.

If you want to be good at swimming, then swimming is your best bet.

But seriously, I’ve swam competitively for about a decade and I’ve swam at the collegiate level. A lot of excellent swimmers who do extremely difficult workouts in the water are tall, skinny-fat guys who are just well adjusted to swimming but are some of the most fragile, weak people you’ll find in college athletics.

If you want to get shredded, your best bet is to make diet changes. The best ‘cardio’ out there for getting shredded, in my experience, is sprints with a sled, the Concept2 Rowing Machine, and a brisk walk.

If you just want to get into swimming
Then 25 = 1 pool length.

For a beginner swimmer:
200 Yard Warm-up
5X 100 IM on 2:00 interval
3X 200 Free on 3:45 interval
2X 25 Free Sprint from Starting Blocks
100 Yard Warm-down

That’s just something I made up off the top of my head. IM stands for Induvidual Medly. You do 1 length Butterfly, 1 length Backstroke, 1 length Breaststroke, and 1 length Freestyle for a total of 100 yards.

Most pools that have lap swim will have a giant clock with a red second hand that you can use to leave on your intervals.

If these intervals are too easy, then adjust them. If they’re way too hard, adjust them.
I think they should be pretty easy. Making these intervals for a swimmer I guess would be as much of an accomplishment as benching 135 for a Football player, maybe easier than that.

If you want to learn a little bit about technique, Crossfit.com has some tiny explanation of stroke technique for the freestyle but it’s not the best. If you can get ahold of someone with the “Total Immersion” swim mechanics DVD you will be able to learn a great deal about all the strokes and swimming in general.

I’m no compeditive bodybuilder but I’m more ripped than I’ve ever been and the closest thing I’ve done to Cardio is an hour of easy biking about once a week and sprints with a dragging sled once or twice a week. I haven’t been in the water for about 5 months and this morning I was more ripped than I’ve ever been. Jay Cutler doesn’t do any cardio anymore and he’s managed to ditch his distended GH stomach and if you look at some clips from “Jay to Z” he looks surprisingly symmetrical these days. Justin Harris and Ronnie Coleman prefer the stairmaster for cutting and both of them have done pretty well for themselves.

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
BHCS18 wrote:
Joe Joseph wrote:
It is because swimming cools the body a great deal, so the themogenic effect is lessened a great deal.

Being in a cold environment means your body has to work harder to stay warm. Not the other way around.

Chill the fuck out a bit. I have heard this on numerous occasions - can you see the logic? I understand this would make the body work harder BUT it also cools the body. The metabolism raises but thermogenesis lowers. Dont just rubbish my comments without due process.

[/quote]

Not start something here, but the water lowers to the skin temperature unless it’s VERY cold water, or long exposure. Core temperature should not drop more than a degree. The activity level will without question keep the core temperature (the important part) higher than normal.

Oh right. Ok.

So, will the body have to work harder to keep the temperature, or will the water even reduce the thermogenic effect at all?! lol

Joe

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
Oh right. Ok.

So, will the body have to work harder to keep the temperature, or will the water even reduce the thermogenic effect at all?! lol

Joe[/quote]

The main reason you won’t burn many calories is you’re moving yourself with the smallest muscles in your body. Cardio where you use your legs makes it a lot easier to burn 500 calories than cardio where you propel yourself 90% with your Arms.

Actually, to play devils advocate here… that is just bad form, swimming should be a hell of a lot more legs than that. I used to train clients alongside a fantastic triathlon coach last year, and i picked up some tips from seeing her with her clients…

Joe

Swimming is hard as hell and good competitive swimmers have good physiques but I see a lot of really fat swimmers that can swim forever.

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
Actually, to play devils advocate here… that is just bad form, swimming should be a hell of a lot more legs than that. I used to train clients alongside a fantastic triathlon coach last year, and i picked up some tips from seeing her with her clients…

Joe[/quote]

See, I hear the same thing. People on my team spend all their time working their obliques because they claim that ALL the power in swimming comes from your ‘core.’ But you put one of these dudes under a squat bar and he’s dying after 6 shallow reps of 135. I can’t even let him deadlift 135 off the floor in good concise because he lacks the flexibility to do so.

The main purpose of the flutter kick is to keep your hips afloat. You’re not getting that much propulsion. I’ve got one of the fastest kicks when we do sets with kickboards, and I can squat a helluva lot more than anyone else on the team, but I’m only average when you compare my meet times to everyone elses.

Even with good technique, your main source of power is your lats and pecs.

In a Triathalon last summer I came out of the water 7th out of over 300 other dudes, and the guy who came out 8th was a 30 year old Canadian ex-Olympic Silver Medalist who hadn’t been swimming seriously for many years but still surely must have retained a great deal of stroke efficiency.

Swimming just doesn’t involve enough muscle mass to make it a good way to lose fat. The extent to which the posterior chain is involved in freestyle is important for being good at swimming but is negligible when you are thinking in terms of “What’s good for fat loss.”

Where’s spade, you didn’t drown did you mate?

An Zap, how fast were they swimming? :wink:

[quote]FightingScott wrote:

See, I hear the same thing. People on my team spend all their time working their obliques because they claim that ALL the power in swimming comes from your ‘core.’ But you put one of these dudes under a squat bar and he’s dying after 6 shallow reps of 135. I can’t even let him deadlift 135 off the floor in good concise because he lacks the flexibility to do so.

Even with good technique, your main source of power is your lats and pecs.

Swimming just doesn’t involve enough muscle mass to make it a good way to lose fat. The extent to which the posterior chain is involved in freestyle is important for being good at swimming but is negligible when you are thinking in terms of “What’s good for fat loss.”

[/quote]

People say the same thing here. But the majority of people that are faster than me are weaker. Pisses me off to no end. Mainly just boils down to an efficient stroke.

Definately lats, but pecs to a lesser extent. Sometimes I like to laugh at teammates who are struggling after a couple reps of 95 on bench. They can all pull repsectable amounts on a pulldown or do pullups though. I’d just say replace pecs with traps for power muscles.

Enough muscle mass? Practically every muscle in your body is involved - it may not exert much on some muscles, but they’re definately moving which makes for great fat loss as far as I’m concerned.

I guess I find swimming to be a great fat loss tool. If I find myself carrying more fat than I’d like I jump in the pool every other day and swim between 2500-3000. Tighten up the diet a little bit and I’ll lean up at least 5 lbs in 1.5-2 weeks and still progress in the weight room.