Sunday, July 26, 2009

Long and Strong

Several coaches were hanging out poolside last weekend talking about the recently concluded National Championships/World Championship Trials held earlier this month in Indianapolis. We asked one coach who put a swimmer on the US Team headed to Rome for the World Championships this month what his opinion was about the meet; what did he take home from the experience.

His answer was succinct and to the point: "Long and strong," he said. "All the fast swimmers are long and strong."

In a 50 meter pool, which as you know is where all World Championship and Olympic contests are held, swimmers do indeed benefit when they are long and strong: Long with their strokes and strong to carry their speed over the longer distance of the 50 meter pool.

What can we all take from this simple advice? We always need to be mindful of our distance per stroke. We always can work on our general and sport specific strength component.

We recommend that each workout has a set of drills and a set of training that incorporates the concept of distance per stroke. A quick example of this would be to swim a 50 (yards or meters) counting your strokes per lap and keeping them the same. Once you arrive at this "X" number you have your base line count. Then swim a couple of 50's at X-1; then go a couple more at X-2. You can do any stroke you wish so long as you count the number and work to reduce it. Then do a set of 9 x 50 swimming all of them at the same time but do the first 3 at X, the next 3 at X-1 and the last 3 at X-2. there are other examples but this gives you an idea of how to mix the concept of "long" into your workout.

The "strong" part is pretty simple. If you go to the gym and already have a routine then simple add a couple of pounds to the lifts you do, or add a couple more repetitions to your sets. Work on the prime muscle groups that you use in swimming and if you are not sure then ask one of the trainers at your gym.

Or you can do pushups and pull-ups, squats and calf raisers at home. It doesn't take a gym to get stronger; all it takes is your desire!

Give this a try for 30 days and we are pretty sure you will feel and see the difference in your swimming. What works for the fastest swimmers in the world works for all of us.

Have a great week in and out of the pool. We are here to help so let us know how we can!

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