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elise526
November 30th, 2008, 08:54 PM
Swam in college and currently swim masters. I prefer the sprints. I have a very strong kick but don't feel I have the upper body strength of a female swimmer. I hit the weight room and as long as I am consistent, can get very strong out of the water. The only problem is that the out-of-water strength does not necessarily translate into power/strength in the water.

Would a pull buoy help me to have more power in the water? I am concerned that I am too dependent on my kick for my speed. My only concerns are that I don't want the pull buoy to mess up my rotation on freestyle. Also, I have never had any shoulder issues and am hoping to keep it that way.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my upper body strength in the pool?

rtodd
November 30th, 2008, 09:03 PM
Lots of fly and/or big paddles. If you have access, bands, buckets and pullies would be great.

Allen Stark
November 30th, 2008, 09:11 PM
Swam in college and currently swim masters. I prefer the sprints. I have a very strong kick but don't feel I have the upper body strength of a female swimmer. I hit the weight room and as long as I am consistent, can get very strong out of the water. The only problem is that the out-of-water strength does not necessarily translate into power/strength in the water.

Would a pull buoy help me to have more power in the water? I am concerned that I am too dependent on my kick for my speed. My only concerns are that I don't want the pull buoy to mess up my rotation on freestyle. Also, I have never had any shoulder issues and am hoping to keep it that way.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my upper body strength in the pool?
First,are you doing any weight work that duplicates the stroke pull motion? If not,that's is a good place to start.I don't like pull buoys myself as they mess up my body position and I don't think they really increase drag.How much sprinting do you do in workouts?Sprints will improve your strength and your anaerobic energy systems,so if you want to sprint in meets you need to do sprints 2-3 days/wk(and not just at the end of workout,but as your main set when fresh.)

Shamboola
November 30th, 2008, 09:56 PM
I do not know whether you want to be a better sprinter or distance swimmer. Pull buoys might help but be careful with paddles. I tried them and stopped because I was really worried about the extra strain on my shoulders. And I love pull sets just using a buoy. (unlike you, I have no kick at all) You can still get great rotation using a buoy, especially if you use tri-lateral breathing.

To see if paddles are your thing, get smaller ones first and only use them for 500 meters or so for the first few weeks and then gradually increase their use until you can do a whole set with them.

Another thing to do are simple wide pushups. Put a chair on either side of you so that both are facing each other inward. Put your hands on the outer part of the chairs and go low so that your chest goes below your hands. Build up to three sets of 10 with about a minute rest between each rep. Do this four days a week. This will keep you flexible and strong.

Rob

Just take it easy and increase the workload gradually.

pdjang
November 30th, 2008, 10:43 PM
Upper body strength helps but does not directly translate into efficient propulsion. I'm sure that you can outswim most of NFL football players.

I believe you swim faster by improving your technique and feel for the water. Feel for the water can be roughly translated as "being sensitive to feeling and generating water pressure". I eschew paddles for that reason.

Minimizing resistance - frontal, eddy and laminar are more important than muscular strength. Generally, required power (strength) cubes as a function of velocity.

Having said that, let me confuse the issue by saying that I believe it is very important to lift weights - but with the goal of strengthing all or as many as of muscles possible - to protect one's joints, build bone mass, exercise important muscle groups that swimming alone can not condition, etc.

pwb
December 1st, 2008, 12:38 AM
I believe you swim faster by improving your technique and feel for the water. Feel for the water can be roughly translated as "being sensitive to feeling and generating water pressure". I eschew paddles for that reason.

Minimizing resistance - frontal, eddy and laminar are more important than muscular strength. Generally, required power (strength) cubes as a function of velocity.

Having said that, let me confuse the issue by saying that I believe it is very important to lift weights - but with the goal of strengthing all or as many as of muscles possible - to protect one's joints, build bone mass, exercise important muscle groups that swimming alone can not condition, etc.

Let me "second" the focus on technique. I've done more technique work in the last three months, really trying to re-build from freestyle from the ground up, and am swimming my fastest Master's times (by a lot) since starting back at 33 years old eight years ago. I am lifting somewhat outside of the pool but not in a consistent or well-structured manner. I think the biggest initial incremental gains (for me) have come from learning how to really:


catch & hold onto the water,
connect my hip rotation to my pull, and
connect a strong, continuous kick to my stroke

With that said, I do know I need to be stronger. Once I finish up this SCM "season" next week, I'm planning on building in a weight-training regimen like the one Jason Lezak (see http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jasonlezak1.htm). Mind you, I'm a lifelong distance swimmer now wishing to become a solid mid-distance guy (400/500) and feel like I need to add some power to a better technique.

Glider
December 1st, 2008, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the Lezak site. Awesome seasonal strength program for a sprinter. I've been looking for something like this for a year (copied/pasted into Word now.)

Good to know I've been doing the correct strength exercises. Unfortunately I have been clueless as to how to do strength seasonal progressions. This looks like a reasonable approach that apparently works.

Now If I could just finish my races like Jason...


Let me "second" the focus on technique. I've done more technique work in the last three months, really trying to re-build from freestyle from the ground up, and am swimming my fastest Master's times (by a lot) since starting back at 33 years old eight years ago. I am lifting somewhat outside of the pool but not in a consistent or well-structured manner. I think the biggest initial incremental gains (for me) have come from learning how to really:


catch & hold onto the water,
connect my hip rotation to my pull, and
connect a strong, continuous kick to my stroke

With that said, I do know I need to be stronger. Once I finish up this SCM "season" next week, I'm planning on building in a weight-training regimen like the one Jason Lezak (see http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jasonlezak1.htm). Mind you, I'm a lifelong distance swimmer now wishing to become a solid mid-distance guy (400/500) and feel like I need to add some power to a better technique.

Typhoons Coach
December 1st, 2008, 09:53 AM
Swam in college and currently swim masters. I prefer the sprints. I have a very strong kick but don't feel I have the upper body strength of a female swimmer. I hit the weight room and as long as I am consistent, can get very strong out of the water. The only problem is that the out-of-water strength does not necessarily translate into power/strength in the water.

Would a pull buoy help me to have more power in the water? I am concerned that I am too dependent on my kick for my speed. My only concerns are that I don't want the pull buoy to mess up my rotation on freestyle. Also, I have never had any shoulder issues and am hoping to keep it that way.

Any suggestions on how I can improve my upper body strength in the pool?

Isolate your sets and increase the intensity (use fins, and paddles). You can also do dry-land exercises that will increase strength (resistance bands, med balls, etc).

Kevin in MD
December 1st, 2008, 02:14 PM
First,are you doing any weight work that duplicates the stroke pull motion? If not,that's is a good place to start. Sprints will improve your strength and your anaerobic energy systems,so if you want to sprint in meets you need to do sprints 2-3 days/wk(and not just at the end of workout,but as your main set when fresh.)

I think Allen has a good start for you, with a stretch cord you can easily work on half pulls (http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?pi=2&ps=20&sf=added&sa=0&sq=&dm=1#) for your catch and then full pulls (http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?pi=2&ps=20&sf=added&sa=0&sq=&dm=1#) for your stroke. When doing them be sure you don't perform them with a dropped elbow (http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?pi=2&ps=20&sf=added&sa=0&sq=&dm=1#). These not only help to build functional strength but also help you get the feeling of what good strokes are like.

As for pull bouys or paddles, anything you do like this will alter your stroke. Will they be permanent? Will they cause later problems, that is something you'll have to determine on your own.

But there is no doubt that real no kidding sprinting in practice with huge rest so you can nail the swims will help you generate big power. In my experience this sort of thing is rare in a masters practice or with masters swimmers.

If you think you tend to overkick those sets then you can put an elastic or rubber band around your ankles and give it a go as well. Short fast intervals would do the best at building power.

Redbird Alum
December 1st, 2008, 02:39 PM
Try doing pulls with no buoy, just allowing the legs to drag. When doing these no-leg pulls, think about your arm positioning and feel for the water.

Have someone on the deck evaluate your arms, hands, and head position, paying particular attention to the underwater (or pull) portion of the stroke.

First, do these for distance (fewer strokes per length) and technique, then add pacing and sprints to see if you can maintain technique as you accelerate your stroke.

Of course these no-leg, no buoy drills will require that you have decent body core strength and a neutral head position to maintain your body position, but these components are also key parts of the power you so desparately desire.

elise526
December 1st, 2008, 11:40 PM
Thanks a ton for the pointers. I'm looking forward to trying out the different suggestions. It appears the common ground is making sure that I am doing enough all-out efforts. I will definitely give it a go!

Thanks for the help! :)

david.margrave
December 2nd, 2008, 01:40 AM
from the Lezak article, "In the 100 it can be won or lost in the last 10 meters."

How true!