Whether swimming for personal pleasure and over all health or as a strict competitor, adding cross training to your fitness regime will create explosive results. Not many exercises can lay claim to being able to tone all aspects of your body, burn calories, still the mind and master the breath all at once like swimming can.
Swimming, and especially competitive swimming such as the Collingwood Clippers are focused on, is a demanding sport. It requires excellent aerobic conditioning and uses numerous muscles in the body. Hours and hours can be spent in the pool (or for some of the lucky ones near warmer outside bodies of water) perfecting technique and stroke, muscle development and breathing conditioning.
A way to take your swimming to the next level is with cross training (CT). What is CT? This means training in other sports or physical activities other than the one you might be competing in with the goal to improve performance. It is also a nice break from a swim routine that can add strength and overall muscle stability at the same time.
What are some workouts and their side effects:
- Weight workouts—building muscle strength
- Yoga stretching—flexibly
- Strength training—speed
- Running — endurance
One of the more popular, fun and camaraderie building options is the CrossFit system. It is geared around the general population, the every mans and women’s practice. It offers a continuous stream of challenges thus keeping routine and boredom at bay. Competitive swimmers have found that this type of cross training complemented the pool movements, were quite practical, and a useful to supplement to their fitness program.
ENDURANCE— running and cycling increases aerobic capacity; this than translates into swimming endurance. And for those times when you don’t have access to the water it makes a nice change. Other fun options are SUP (standup paddle boarding), rowing (on the water or using a machine), vigorous dancing, and cross-county skiing.
FLEXIBILITY—The stretching techniques along with the focused and concerted breathing guidance that yoga teaches results in excellent muscle flexibility and motion. Yielding supple muscles that especially work the upper body with arm balances and give the upper back and shoulders a great workout. This is a nice counterbalance to the over-development that can often occur in the pectoral muscles from swimming.
STRENGTH – Strength doesn’t mean only lifting weights. There are numerous explosive and dynamic exercises you can do with just your own body to improve overall muscle strength. Some of the yoga moves carry over into the strength category: planks, pushups, and squats will build stomach, leg and arm power by using your body weight.
WEIGHT—This type of training is done to increase the force of swimming strokes as well as the kicking power. Doing Olympic weightlifting, using medicine balls, kettle balls, free weights, barbells, and dumbbells are all muscle building exercises. In conjunction with jumping squats, stepping up and down onto boxes, and springing up to mimic the explosive force required for starts and turns you will acquire a complete CT program. The goal with weight training is to provide increased resistance, which builds more muscle power.
Additional Tip: if you don’t already, make sure to add the benefits of proper eating to your nutritional arsenal. Eating too many high-processed carbohydrates can be the cause of various health problems. These are the carbs that raise blood sugar too quickly. They include grains (rice & wheat especially), candies, cakes, pastries, and sugared drinks.
And what will the results be for your efforts in CT? Noticeably vast improvements. The measurable amount of explosive strength in the pool and in your racing will be astounding. You can even keep up with cross training and take a multi-year hiatus in swimming, jump right back in the pool and will still most likely see better results than before you had added CT to your fitness routine. You may actually be able to limit your time in the water and be able to attribute most of your success to dry land training. You will always need to do your swimming speed work in the water, but keeping a solid base with the endurance and strength training of a CrossFit type of workout will mean you are always ready for the games!
Where to CrossFit in Collingwood? CrossFit Indestri of course!
200 Mountain Road, Unit 3
705 444 0006