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yak5
August 21st, 2008, 12:07 PM
Hi,

Until recently, rugby was my main sport, but a bad ankle injury means my playing days are over. While rehabing i spent a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and more recently on the treadmill. This type of training has interested me and I am looking at doing a triathlon next year. My cycling and running is not an issue but i find i struggle in the pool.

I have spent the past 10 years between the pitch and the weight room and now I weight bout 270lbs at only 10-11% bodyfat so the majority of my bodyweight is muscle. I read somewhere that muscle doesnt float but sinks.

Is this much muscle mass a bad thing when it comes to swimming?

Thanks,

Yak.

tjrpatt
August 21st, 2008, 12:15 PM
yeah, I got into lifting again in my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. It was one of the reasons that I went slower than my junior year of high school. If I had the right coaching to do smarter lifting, I could have created more lean muscle mass and swam to greatness instead of swimming to crapiness. Also, I took full advantage of the meal plan at college so with that and the lifting, I really bulked up too much. That is just my experience.

Jazz Hands
August 21st, 2008, 12:17 PM
Those numbers don't seem right at all. You are heavier than most NFL tight ends, and those guys are pretty tall. How tall are you? Are you sure your bodyfat is really that low?

yak5
August 21st, 2008, 12:24 PM
Those numbers don't seem right at all. You are heavier than most NFL tight ends, and those guys are pretty tall. How tall are you? Are you sure your bodyfat is really that low?

Yea I was calipered at 10.8% only 3 weeks ago and if anything i have gotten leaner again. I am 6' 4 and if you look at rugby players, we are pretty big guys when you play in the forwards.

Anybody got advice on how muscle affects swimming ability?

Jazz Hands
August 21st, 2008, 12:31 PM
Yea I was calipered at 10.8% only 3 weeks ago and if anything i have gotten leaner again. I am 6' 4 and if you look at rugby players, we are pretty big guys when you play in the forwards.

Anybody got advice on how muscle affects swimming ability?

Muscle is going to do two major things in the pool that work in opposite ways.

First, it's going to create more cross-sectional area, which means more drag. A big thick body is much more difficult to pull through the water than a slim one. This effect is particularly bad if you have poor body position in the water.

The other thing is that muscle provides you with more power to propel yourself forward with. To really make this work for you, you will probably have to improve your technique a lot and develop swimming-specific strength.

So, being big can make you faster or slower, but the most important thing is to use good technique with the body you have to move efficiently in the water.

yak5
August 21st, 2008, 12:36 PM
Muscle is going to do two major things in the pool that work in opposite ways.

First, it's going to create more cross-sectional area, which means more drag. A big thick body is much more difficult to pull through the water than a slim one. This effect is particularly bad if you have poor body position in the water.

The other thing is that muscle provides you with more power to propel yourself forward with. To really make this work for you, you will probably have to improve your technique a lot and develop swimming-specific strength.

So, being big can make you faster or slower, but the most important thing is to use good technique with the body you have to move efficiently in the water.

Well I am trying to bring my weight down to about 220 so that I will be able to complete a triathlon. I know to get to this weight i will have to lose alot of muscle.

Any ideas on how to approach this? Maybe reduce protein intake, higher reps in the gym, I am already doing about 90mins cardio a day on average.

Jazz Hands
August 21st, 2008, 12:43 PM
Well I am trying to bring my weight down to about 220 so that I will be able to complete a triathlon. I know to get to this weight i will have to lose alot of muscle.

Any ideas on how to approach this? Maybe reduce protein intake, higher reps in the gym, I am already doing about 90mins cardio a day on average.

Maybe you should go for a less extreme goal first, see how it effects your speed in running, biking, and swimming, and then adjust. So, if losing ten pounds makes you faster, go ahead and lose another ten.

Also, I wouldn't think of it as "cardio" at this point. You're getting ready for a triathlon. That means that you need to be biking, running and swimming with that goal in mind. In swimming, technique is extremely important, and you should probably find a good swimming coach to help you with it.

Rob Copeland
August 21st, 2008, 01:15 PM
At 64 270 with 10% body fat, I would suspect that flexibility is a bigger issue than buoyancy (especially in a wetsuit legal tri). I would also guess that running anything longer than a 10K will become an issue, carrying that much weight. What distance tri are you shooting for?

Id suggest yoga or other stretching for at least half of your daily cardio. And as JH mentioned find a good swimming coach.

gaash
August 21st, 2008, 01:26 PM
loss of flexibility due to lifting is a common myth which is not true. If anything it's the opposite. [edit: I should clarify except for situations where other very large muscle interferes with motion of a different muscle which, as I have witnessed 300lb+ strongmen doing the splits easy, is unlikely to be the case in many movements for most people, even very muscular ones]



At 6’4” 270 with 10% body fat, I would suspect that flexibility is a bigger issue than buoyancy (especially in a wetsuit legal tri). I would also guess that running anything longer than a 10K will become an issue, carrying that much weight. What distance tri are you shooting for?

I’d suggest yoga or other stretching for at least half of your daily cardio. And as JH mentioned find a good swimming coach.

TheGoodSmith
August 21st, 2008, 01:28 PM
Yak is a suitable name given your size.

Pure bulk will probably make you tighten up more at the end of your races than someone 60-70s smaller than you. Note the Frenchman in the 100 free on the end of the relay. The guy is one of the biggest swimmers on the planet and he tightened up like a rock the last 15 meters.

Then again.... his pure power also enabled him to win the 100 in the individual event. However, he is also substantially smaller than you.

Lump
August 21st, 2008, 02:42 PM
Hi,

Until recently, rugby was my main sport, but a bad ankle injury means my playing days are over. While rehabing i spent a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and more recently on the treadmill. This type of training has interested me and I am looking at doing a triathlon next year. My cycling and running is not an issue but i find i struggle in the pool.

I have spent the past 10 years between the pitch and the weight room and now I weight bout 270lbs at only 10-11% bodyfat so the majority of my bodyweight is muscle. I read somewhere that muscle doesnt float but sinks.

Is this much muscle mass a bad thing when it comes to swimming?

Thanks,

Yak.

Very cool!

I swam for 17 years (age 7-23) and then player Rugby (Division II Social side) for about 5 years so I know where you are coming from. I went from about 200 lbs. when I started to about 240. I put on a large amount of muscle (and fat from the after parties!). I was a prop.

I've just started back swimming and my body is still built for Rugby due to me staying active in the weight room all these years, although I'm not as lean as you.

It will be more of a stuggle for you technique wise that anything. Just learning how to breath, turn, catch the water is going to take time. Being 270 and that much muscle will weigh you down but if you stick with it over time/training/eating right you will lean out. The good part is that you should have a solid cardio base. Rugby is great for keeping the heart rate high and learning to breath. Its both an aerobic and anaerobic sport, which swimming can sometimes be as well. I have to say that Rugby is one of the hardest things I ever did (including swimming), not just for the brutality of it, but the cardio and keeping your wind.

Just don't expect too much of yourself or get discouraged. I don't see any ex-footballers swimming in the Olympics. BTW, your joints will thank you for picking swimming!:D