PDA

View Full Version : Hypoxic training for Masters?



Bill Ballard
April 3rd, 2009, 12:24 AM
I have a new ( young ) coach. He includes breath control sets. Does any one else think this could be dangerous for older (56 years old) swimmers? My MD thought it was crazy. I have noticed quite a few Masters swimmers dying from strokes. An old coach of mine said USA Swimming had banned hypoxic training for kids for a while.

pwolf66
April 3rd, 2009, 01:07 PM
While there are differing opinions on the value of hypoxic training, one of the best thing about Masters is that you can choose what to do. So if you do not feel comfortable with hypoxic sets, then I heartily recommend that you alter them to fit your comfort level.

david.margrave
April 3rd, 2009, 01:23 PM
Ignore the coach, listen to the MD.

Bobinator
April 3rd, 2009, 01:54 PM
I do not do hypoxic sets when they are called in workouts.
We have 1 person (me usually) per lane watch the others in their lane while they do them in case they pass out. :angel:

ViveBene
April 3rd, 2009, 01:58 PM
I do breath control sets, and I am older than that. It took a long time to be comfortable and not panic. I still breathe when I need to, but try to extend the breath over a few more strokes - generally at end of practice, when tissues are well oxygenated.

Unless and until you feel ready, ignore it.

:)

gobears
April 3rd, 2009, 02:05 PM
I sometimes do breath control sets with my lap swim class (all ages). Most often, especially with my more beginner swimmers, I let them choose what is challenging for them. If breathing 5 times during a 25 is challenging for them, great. I always let them know that they don't want to do anything dangerous (as I don't want to have to go in after them). I never ever do sets of "no-breathers" like we used to when I was a kid.

knelson
April 3rd, 2009, 02:06 PM
Unless and until you feel ready, ignore it.

Probably the best advice. Only do what you're comfortable with. Some people can do 50 yard no-breathers, other might struggle to only breathe every three strokes. If you think you can do the hypoxic sets as written, do them, if not do what you can. But keep in mind it's supposed to hurt a little! :)

nkfrench
April 3rd, 2009, 08:23 PM
One thing I learn while doing "controlled breathing" sets is how to swim relaxed and economically not using ANY extra effort. It's important to do controlled breathing sets to learn how to do fast turns where you don't get water up your nose AND still have enough air for a decent streamline.

The "contest" stuff to see how far you can go underwater is bad news. In the old days I've seen coaches run across the deck and leap flying over 3 laneropes to do a water rescue of kids who black out and sink doing long no-breathers. Thank goodness I haven't witnessed a fatality yet.

orca1946
April 4th, 2009, 02:15 AM
A lot of swimmers die from strokes in the pool? Where the hell are the life guards??

ViveBene
April 4th, 2009, 05:53 AM
I have noticed quite a few Masters swimmers dying from strokes.

I'll take this as an expression of fear. Some random stats, picked up from unchecked Internet pages: Stroke is no. 3 cause of death (and some of those folks are likely Masters swimmers). Nearly 3/4 occur in ppl 65 and older. Smoking is a big risk factor. But "death while swimming" search pulls up such interesting tidbits as choking on a fish swallowed whole while swimming, cold urticaria, drowning, and other anomalies.

Here is CDC's no. of deaths by leading cause, U.S., 2005:


Heart disease: 652,091
Cancer: 559,312
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 143,579
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809
Diabetes: 75,119
Alzheimer's disease: 71,599
Influenza/Pneumonia: 63,001
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 43,901
Septicemia: 34,136
Separate from genetic causes of heart disease, plus environmental factors, swimming contributes greatly to a healthy cardiopulmonary system.

Swimming also helps one cultivate social relationships, an important factor in longevity.

:)

letsrace
April 4th, 2009, 02:49 PM
Have there been any studies demonstrating value gained from hypoxic training? I have never seen anything.

I personally don't like hypoxic sets and don't do them. Oh, I suppose I do do kick sets where I go a length underwater but I don't think of that as hypoxic work since I am not trying to push my time without a breath. Nancy's point about learning to relax without breathing is about the only value that I have ever found in this type of swimming.

tdrop
April 4th, 2009, 03:18 PM
I'm a total slacker when it comes to following the directions on breath control sets. i always breathe every other stroke. I also breathe in and out of my turns.

I think it screws up my turns the most. I get real sloppy. so, in light of this, I think their are benefits to following the directions on breath control sets. (I didn't say I was going to start, though.)

Many of the guys I train with do follow pretty strictly to what the coach says. there is a real beauty to doing what you are told in swimming.

sometimes coaches are crazy though. i know because i used to be one and i used to sit around all day and think of ways to torture people.

my advice...do what you think is best; alter the sets to your needs. but don't undermine the coaches authority. it makes them paranoid and then they spend too much time focusing on keeping everyone happy instead of doing their job.

knelson
April 4th, 2009, 04:46 PM
I personally don't like hypoxic sets and don't do them.

Very interesting coming from you! I recall Dave Berkoff mentioning doing ridiculous breath control sets in the '80s under Bernal. Did you do this kind of training in those days?

chaos
April 4th, 2009, 08:44 PM
i sometimes swim with a reduced breathing pattern (every 5 or 7 strokes) as a way of equalizing my speed with someone who is slower. it is a great way to swim a mile or three together without either of us feeling mis-matched and makes it quite challenging for me even though it has the effect of slowing my pace.

DeskJockeyJim
April 4th, 2009, 08:44 PM
<kinda hijack>
I have a question as a swimming noob...can someone define hypoxic set compared to being instructed to race a 50 on one breath each direction? Same thing? Difference?:confused:

I guess I question because as a former singer, I have a ton of lung capacity (ok, well, technically a really flexible diaphragm, but that's splitting hairs), and find that if I'm doing concentrated stroke work I'll often go 2 breaths/25...which seems like way less than some other people take. This can be a bit taxing, especially on longer sets, but it's definitely no where near where I'd be afraid of passing out.

<hijack off>

Thanks,

Jim

letsrace
April 4th, 2009, 10:05 PM
No, I never really did any crazy hypoxic work. Well, not until I swam for Mook Rodenbaugh. Mook once gave me 30 25's underwater dolphin kick on my back on 30 seconds. That was a tremendous challenge that I can't imagine reproducing.

Jim, technically hypoxic swimming is swimming while holding one's breath. So your example would be hypoxic. But to me hypoxic training is holding your breath while swimming until you are uncomfortable.

I will often do work these days where I hold my breath, say doing 25s underwater or kickouts to the 15 meter. And certainly I will race while holding my breath for a 50. But these things are not mentally challenging like a true "hypoxic" set, in my mind.

Perhaps others would not make a distinction like this.

chaos
April 4th, 2009, 11:05 PM
free divers will frequently black out during apnea training. for them its not a big deal, and necessary to know where this threshold exists. check out this link
http://www.impulseadventure.com/freedive/tips-technique.html

ALM
April 4th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Our coach gives us hypoxic sets once in a while. He also likes to give us sets that confuse the the mathematically challenged. Here's an example of one of our recent warm up sets, consisting of twenty-three 50s:

Warm Up:
Prime Number 50's
23 x 50 @ :50
Breath control for all prime numbered 50's:
#1 - 9 breaths/50
#2 - 8 breaths/50
#3 - 7 breaths/50
#5 - 6 breaths/50
#7 - 5 breaths/50
...
#23 - 0 breaths/50
Non-prime numbered 50's are your choice of stroke

This is kind of a fun set because you spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out whether your next 50 is a prime number, and also because you have to plan where you're going to take the breaths during that 50.

cathykohn
April 7th, 2009, 03:40 PM
First of all, I am not a coach, just a swimmer. But, I have never seen a coach prescribe an hypoxic set that would endager any swimmer, 56 years old or not. The typical hypoxic set seldom requires one to see how far he or she can go without breathing. More typical is a set where you vary the number of breaths you take per lap. For example, if you normally breathe every 2 strokes, alternate swimming 50s breathing everry 2 strokes with those breathing every 4 strokes. It is a valuable exercise in that it not only expands your lung capacity, but it causes you to notice that you must relax you stroke in order to take less breaths comfortably.

Of course, if it makes you light-headed, or if your doctor forbids it for health reasons, you should refrain from swimming the hypoxic set.

(P.S.---I'm 56 and have exercise-induced asthma, and I do hypoxic sets with no trouble. However, each swimmer has to know his or her own limits.)

JimRude
April 7th, 2009, 03:55 PM
Last fall I attended an alumni reunion at my alma mater. On Saturday morning, we had a chance to get in at the tail end of the team's workout. We swam about 2,500 yards, and then did some breath control work:

Hold yourself underwater against/under the bulkhead. First round: 30 secs. Everyone made it. Second round: 1 minute. Most made it, though a few old farts didn't. Third round: 1:30. This went on until 2:30, and there were still a few of the young guys making it.

FWIW, we never did that when I was there. The worst we did was x yards, breathing 3/5/7/9/11, etc.

rtodd
April 7th, 2009, 09:39 PM
I think it helps get you used to the feeling so you can get in and out of walls better in a race without panicking from the discomfort.

hofffam
April 7th, 2009, 10:11 PM
It is a valuable exercise in that it not only expands your lung capacity

I don't believe there is any evidence of this at all. Perhaps it seems to be true - but it is probably just the mental toughness that develops for this through practice. But physiologically I do not believe hypoxic training expands lung capacity.

Please cite some data if you know of any.

Chris Stevenson
April 7th, 2009, 10:52 PM
I don't believe there is any evidence of this at all. Perhaps it seems to be true - but it is probably just the mental toughness that develops for this through practice. But physiologically I do not believe hypoxic training expands lung capacity.

Please cite some data if you know of any.

I can only speak from my personal experience and observations, not from a technical standpoint.

I agree that hypoxic works doesn't expand lung capacity/volume.

But I have seen too many (mentally tough) swimmers try to do in a race what they don't practice, and they can't. A typical declaration would be something like "I'm going to take X SDKs off each wall in this 200" (or whatever) and then dying like a dog when they try it.

I don't think it is necessary to hold your breath until you are uncomfortable, but I do think you should train like you plan to race. That's why the whole "breathe every 7 strokes" thing...well yes, it can serve some purposes -- stroke efficiency and the like -- but I can often take it or leave it.

As someone who has worked to increase the # of kicks I take off the walls in races over the past years, I don't think it is completely a psychological adaptation (though there is that) but something physiological as well.

I also think Paul Wolf, in the first reply in this thread, gave a pretty great answer.

hofffam
April 8th, 2009, 12:06 PM
I agree that we should all attempt to practice how we want to race. And that includes breathing management. I just don't think there is much scientific evidence that "hypoxic" swimming truly increases lung capacity. I think Maglischo's book talks about this. He says that breath control training teaches you to overcome the fear of running out of breath. We all need to get used to the feeling of running out of air.

3strokes
April 8th, 2009, 04:48 PM
A lot of swimmers die from strokes in the pool? Where the hell are the life guards??

No disrespect for people who have had strokes. (I've had three myself) but, the statement that "a lot of swimmers die from strokes" begs the question: Which of the four —FINA-recognized— strokes are we talking about here? Two of these would probably kill me.

letsrace
April 9th, 2009, 05:59 AM
I am sure that it is the breast stroke. I have had many a 200 IM go well until that pesky stroke.

Chris Stevenson
April 9th, 2009, 09:11 AM
I agree that we should all attempt to practice how we want to race. And that includes breathing management. I just don't think there is much scientific evidence that "hypoxic" swimming truly increases lung capacity. I think Maglischo's book talks about this. He says that breath control training teaches you to overcome the fear of running out of breath. We all need to get used to the feeling of running out of air.

Yes, I agree with you about lung capacity. In fact, I dimly seem to recall reading that lung capacity diminishes with age and that exercise has no effect on that. Of course, I may be confused...age has that effect too...

But I doubt this is the only possible physiological adaptation. I don't think altitude training, for example, increases lung capacity, nor do I think the results are purely psychological. (I believe Doc Counsilman used to think that hypoxic training simulated altitude training. That doesn't make it so, of course.)

The psychological aspects of hypoxic training are kind of interesting. I was talking to the U of Richmond coach about this. He has his swimmers do a lot of work with snorkels, and they restrict the air intake by 50% at least. They swim really fast with those things. I, on the other hand, have had some near-panic attacks even with an unblocked snorkel if I push it too hard. (My own purpose with using the snorkel isn't to do "hypoxic" work, but there is that side effect.)

But their best backstroker has panic attacks on underwaters whereas I don't. The UR coach reported that using a nose clip helps her with this, she feels more in control of the rate of "bleed" that she allows when underwater.

Regardless, I still recommend extreme caution in doing hypoxic work. There is a basis for panic attacks, after all. A typical masters swimmer who is happy with his/her turns probably doesn't need to work on it at all.

If you want to stop breathing in/out of turns, or extend your underwaters in races, just start doing those things routinely in practice -- especially on (near) race-pace efforts -- and you won't even think about it much during the race.

Stevepowell
April 9th, 2009, 12:29 PM
No disrespect for people who have had strokes. (I've had three myself) but, the statement that "a lot of swimmers die from strokes" begs the question: Which of the four —FINA-recognized— strokes are we talking about here? Two of these would probably kill me.

I also have had a stroke. That's what it took to get me motivated to start swimming (and quit smoking)!

Lung size doesn't increase according to:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=if-a-persons-lung-size-ca

tjburk
April 9th, 2009, 12:58 PM
The way I had it explained to be by my high school coach was this:

Hypoxic training is used more to train the muscles how to become more efficient at using the oxygen it has, by depriving the muscles of oxygen, you break the muscles down and when they rebuild they are supposed to be more efficient than before...Same kind of result you get from weight lifting cycles.

He never really said a whole lot about increasing lung capacity....

hofffam
April 9th, 2009, 08:39 PM
This article (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3871/is_200307/ai_n9270380/) speaks to hypoxic training for swimming. It specifically mentions Counsilman's view on it. It also acknowledges later that there is no proof it improves the muscles ability to handle oxygen.

There has been far more scientific research into training and physiological issues specific to swimming than many realize. One of the cool parts of Maglischo's book is that he examined the research - so much of it done at the US Olympic training center - to make his recommendations.

On page 445 he says:

"The original purpose of hypoxic training was to simulate training at altitude. Proponents thought that reducing the breathing rates of athletes would also curtail their oxygen supply and create the same kind of hypoxia that takes place at altitude. Research has shown that this assumption was incorrect. Several studies have shown that hypoxic training does not reduce the oxygen supply to the tissues (he lists several from 1978 to 1989)."

"Despite results like these, hypoxic swimming continues to be a popular form of training.....perhaps because it produces other currently unidentified training effects. On the other hand, it may simply be that the difficulty of swimming with reduced breathing appeals to coaches and athletes because of the effort and discipline it requires. Some coaches reason that training that causes so much distress must be doing something worthwhile for swimmers."

"Beneficial effects are not evident, however, at least as far as aerobic capacity is concerned."

"One could argue that restricting breathing can actually reduce the overall aerobic training effect."

"A compromised oxygen supply will cause more production of lactic acid, which in turn will cause greater acidosis at slower speeds."

"Some coaches have suggested that hypoxic training can increase the buffering capacities of muscles and blood vessels because of the acidosis that occurs when oxygen supply is reduced. Hypoxic training is unlikely to be any more effective than free swimming for this purpose. In fact, it may be less effective for the reasons cited earlier, name.y, that athletes can swim faster and thus with more racelike stroke rates and stroke lengths when they breathe regularly."

AnnG
April 9th, 2009, 09:09 PM
We did a bunch of hypoxic stuff this week and also hard kicking. Our state champs are next weekend in Bend, Oregon, elevation 3600 feet. We are basically at sea level. I believe the coaches are trying to mimic swimming with less air as we will be doing that next weekend. I know I am dead tired this week and swimming hard at practice felt a lot like at 400 IM I did in Bend two years ago - owch! Lactic acidosis. Every fiber in my body hurt after that swim, but by the third and final day of the meet I was swimming PR's and felt pretty good. I would love to avoid a repeat of that 400 IM experience this month (Yes I entered again, what was I thinking?) so I tried to work the hypoxic sets properly. Wore me out. I will let you know if it works next week!
Obviously you don't swim hypoxically til you pass out, but if you usually breathe every stroke, and then do a set breathing every third stroke, that is getting one third the air you are used to getting.

Chris Stevenson
April 9th, 2009, 09:22 PM
This article (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3871/is_200307/ai_n9270380/) speaks to hypoxic training for swimming. It specifically mentions Counsilman's view on it. It also acknowledges later that there is no proof it improves the muscles ability to handle oxygen.

.....

"Some coaches have suggested that hypoxic training can increase the buffering capacities of muscles and blood vessels because of the acidosis that occurs when oxygen supply is reduced. Hypoxic training is unlikely to be any more effective than free swimming for this purpose. In fact, it may be less effective for the reasons cited earlier, namely, that athletes can swim faster and thus with more racelike stroke rates and stroke lengths when they breathe regularly."

Thanks for the link; although disputing the adaptations we've mentioned, the article did not at all seem "anti-hypoxic" in nature.

The whole "athletes can swim faster with more oxygen" of course ignores underwater SDK, which is faster than most surface swimming and is my own reason for any hypoxic training I do. In fact, I was pleased to see that Austin Staab seems to approach his underwater training similarly to me with his whole "at least 7 kicks off every wall" to build underwater endurance.

His interview is here (http://216.197.124.49/SwimmingWorld/MSS/20090408Staab.wmv). Pretty incredible that he could do the last 25 of his 100 fly without a breath.

hofffam
April 10th, 2009, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the link; although disputing the adaptations we've mentioned, the article did not at all seem "anti-hypoxic" in nature.

The whole "athletes can swim faster with more oxygen" of course ignores underwater SDK, which is faster than most surface swimming and is my own reason for any hypoxic training I do. In fact, I was pleased to see that Austin Staab seems to approach his underwater training (http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=176381&postcount=89) similarly to me with his whole "at least 7 kicks off every wall" to build underwater endurance.

His interview is here (http://216.197.124.49/SwimmingWorld/MSS/20090408Staab.wmv). Pretty incredible that he could do the last 25 of his 100 fly without a breath.


I agree the article I cited was not anti-hypoxic. It was a bit dated (2003) and mentioned Counsilman's view. But it didn't provide any evidence that hypoxic training actually worked.

Maglischo suggests that it doesn't work as claimed, and perhaps not at all.

As for SDK - that is not an oxygen issue at all. It is a hydrodynamic issue. The evidence clearly shows that swimming underwater can be faster than swimming on the surface.

Maglischo wasn't saying don't swim underwater. He was just saying that when you're swimming - it is probably better to swim faster with breathing than swimming slower with less breathing.

geochuck
April 10th, 2009, 11:25 AM
A little breath control works well in a 50 or 100 race. The less you breathe the better your balance.

tjburk
April 10th, 2009, 01:46 PM
Dan, I think SDK is a combination of both hydrodynamics and oxygen...especially on that last turn of a race.

Karen Duggan
April 10th, 2009, 02:57 PM
I have always looked at hypoxic sets as ways to simulate races, in that I'm hurting during a race. And if you do hypoxic sets that push or challenge you then you should be hurting a bit. Seems to make me tougher in my races.

flyincip
April 10th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Hypoxic training can be both beneficial and detrimental. Beneficial on the mentality side using it as a way to say I can do this but detrimental if your body is not getting enough oxygen.

If you don't want to do it or don't feel comfortable about it then don't. The coach can't swim the workout for you and you need to be aware of what you can do.

hofffam
April 10th, 2009, 04:41 PM
I have always looked at hypoxic sets as ways to simulate races, in that I'm hurting during a race. And if you do hypoxic sets that push or challenge you then you should be hurting a bit. Seems to make me tougher in my races.

I have never disputed the mental aspect of this. I think most here know that it is faster to breathe less in sprints. It is faster because the stroke is disrupted less by breathing. But sprinting a 50 and breathing 1 down, 2 back isn't easy for most (including me). But practicing it - and proving to ourselves that we CAN make it without passing out gives us the guts to do it in a race.

So race simulation in practice is a good thing and that includes breath control.

That is different however that saying as some do that hypoxic training actually produces a physiological benefit.

Tjburk - I agree doing SDK well requires oxygen. And it is really hard to do at the end of the race. Hell it is hard to do at the beginning for me!

scyfreestyler
April 10th, 2009, 04:42 PM
If you want to feel pain in practice as you might in a race, swim in practice as you might in a race. I'm an advocate of breathing, btw.

Paul Smith
April 10th, 2009, 07:31 PM
Pretty incredible that he could do the last 25 of his 100 fly without a breath.

Complete speculation on my part...but I'm betting he wouldn't pull that off without using the current generation of suits.

I've always enjoyed hypoxic work...for me there is a "comfort level" with the discomfort so to speak. I find that I'm so used to the "feel" from oxygen deprivation in workouts that it doesn't enter my mind during a race.

Chris Stevenson
April 12th, 2009, 06:24 PM
As for SDK - that is not an oxygen issue at all. It is a hydrodynamic issue. The evidence clearly shows that swimming underwater can be faster than swimming on the surface.

Maglischo wasn't saying don't swim underwater. He was just saying that when you're swimming - it is probably better to swim faster with breathing than swimming slower with less breathing.

I think what Maglischo was saying was that you can build more lactate by swimming faster, and that generally requires more oxygen. That you do not build as much lactate in hypoxic sets, and so hypoxic sets are not a good way to build up lactate tolerance.

But that seems like a pretty dated statement to me. Anyone who thinks that hard underwater kicking doesn't generate as much lactate as surface swimming isn't doing it right, IMO...

Of course SDK is about hydrodynamics. And the longer you can stay under (up to 15m), the faster you can go in the race...if you can control your oxygen debt. Hence the hypoxic part.

What you and other hypoxic nay-sayings are basically saying is that doing such work in practice doesn't prepare you for race conditions except psychologically (which isn't a small thing, btw).

My own view is, why take a chance on training in a way UNLIKE the way I plan to race? And sometimes I'll take more underwater kicks than I plan to do in a race because, let's face it, one can rarely swim as hard in practice as in a race.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 12th, 2009, 07:25 PM
I
My own view is, why take a chance on training in a way UNLIKE the way I plan to race? And sometimes I'll take more underwater kicks than I plan to do in a race because, let's face it, one can rarely swim as hard in practice as in a race.

Seriously... this guy knows what he is talking about!

Posting this simply because I know - masters swimmers need to hear it more than once!

hofffam
April 13th, 2009, 01:02 PM
Chris - I completely agree that we should all train (at least sometimes) like we want to race. That includes doing SDKS.

But swimming freestyle breathing every 7 strokes doesn't help underwater SDKs. When most people talk about "hypoxic" they are talking about breath control swimming. And I suggest that the data shows it has little or no benefit. No one swims as fast breathing every 7 as they do breathing every 2 or 3 strokes. Maglischo says we would benefit more overall swimming faster breathing as needed.

That is different than sprinting - more like racing. I'm talking about hypoxic sets, like those coaches have assigned for years - 10x100 breathing 3-5-7 etc.

Chris Stevenson
April 13th, 2009, 02:26 PM
But swimming freestyle breathing every 7 strokes doesn't help underwater SDKs. When most people talk about "hypoxic" they are talking about breath control swimming. And I suggest that the data shows it has little or no benefit. No one swims as fast breathing every 7 as they do breathing every 2 or 3 strokes. Maglischo says we would benefit more overall swimming faster breathing as needed.

Agreed. The only times I do this kind of set is if I want to work on stroke efficiency (ie DPS) or mechanics, or work on alternate breathing, or if I want to limit how fast I can go (ie recovery). Which I guess is Maglischo's point.

Personally I think the term "hypoxic" should be expanded to include underwater work and work with snorkels (especially when the intake is partially blocked).

ande
April 13th, 2009, 02:39 PM
Chris,

your workout swims are pretty dang impressive along with your ability to take 5 or 6 SDKs off each wall on long hard sets. I wuss out too often, need to do a better job at keeping a kick count going in fast 100's & 200's, don't think I've ever made a hard 200 with 6 SDKs off each wall in practice or a meet. Austin Staab says he takes 7 off every wall in practice, no matter the set.

Seems to me some swimmers are SDKing further, breathing less, & going faster times.

I agree if you want to do something in a meet you need to do it in practice so often that it's a habit.

Ande



I think what Maglischo was saying was that you can build more lactate by swimming faster, and that generally requires more oxygen. That you do not build as much lactate in hypoxic sets, and so hypoxic sets are not a good way to build up lactate tolerance.

But that seems like a pretty dated statement to me. Anyone who thinks that hard underwater kicking doesn't generate as much lactate as surface swimming isn't doing it right, IMO...

Of course SDK is about hydrodynamics. And the longer you can stay under (up to 15m), the faster you can go in the race...if you can control your oxygen debt. Hence the hypoxic part.

What you and other hypoxic nay-sayings are basically saying is that doing such work in practice doesn't prepare you for race conditions except psychologically (which isn't a small thing, btw).

My own view is, why take a chance on training in a way UNLIKE the way I plan to race? And sometimes I'll take more underwater kicks than I plan to do in a race because, let's face it, one can rarely swim as hard in practice as in a race.

Paul Smith
April 13th, 2009, 05:30 PM
Personally I think the term "hypoxic" should be expanded to include underwater work and work with snorkels (especially when the intake is partially blocked).

I have thought this way for years. I have also never been an advocate of (and refuse to do) breathing 3-5-7-9 stuff. Instead (on short/speed stuff) I will focus on taking no more than 1-2 breaths per length max (if at all) and on pull sets rarely do them without a snorkel that is fitted with a restrictor cap.

Namor
April 13th, 2009, 05:59 PM
We do hypoxic (3-5-7-9) sometimes in Masters practice. At speed I don't like it as I think it makes me rush my strokes to get air more quickly. At slow speed it can help to concentrate on smoothing out the stroke (probably a sign that my breathing action is inefficient).

jim thornton
April 13th, 2009, 06:46 PM
A few random thoughts here:



lung capacity per se is a relatively trivial element in aerobic performance. there have been one-lunged Olympians (not sure which sports) who have reportedly performed well.
the ability of the skeletal muscles to extract oxygen from the blood, and the ability of the blood and circulatory system to pick up oxygen and carry it to these muscles, then pick up CO2 and carry this back to the lungs--these are much more critical factors. training is very muscle specific, and one of the adaptations aerobically trained muscles undergo is the ability to uptake more oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream than untrained muscles. one-legged bicycle training trials have shown that the same person can have a great VO2 max in the trained leg--and a mediocre one in the untrained leg
based on my recent familiarizing with the hypoxic training literature (sleep high, train low), the benefits of this are debatable at best. There may be a small benefit to sea level performance, but a lot of researchers now think that sleeping at altitude (real or simulated) probably does little to enhance sea level performance, but it may help pre-acclimate you to high altitude performance. You may wonder, what about natural blood doping? It's true that bivouacing at altitude does increase your blood's oxygen carrying capacity, but it also makes your blood a little sludgier (more RBCs per unit volume). Some researchers now believe that these two effects essentially cancel each other out, resulting in no appreciable benefit. In any event, there seems to be no "simulated" altitude training effect from hypoxic sets because such don't last long enough to triggrer any significant blood changes.
swimming, like many sports, has no shortage of "everybody knows" conventional wisdom training truisms that may, in fact, be false. Hypoxic sets may, in fact, fall into that area where coaching and hazing rituals intersect.
the "need" to breathe is driven by a build up of CO2, not a decrease in Oxygen. As I once posted elsewhere, I help my breath for nearly two minutes out in Boulder with a pulse oximeter on my finger. It was exquisitely painful, but my blood oxygen saturation level did not get down below 94 percent. Later that day, atop Pikes Peak and breathing ad libertam, I felt absolutely fine--even though my ox sat now was 91 percent. The build up of CO2, not a defiicit of OX, is what hurts and tells our diaphrams to breathe!
i like hypoxic sets myself, primarily because I am pretty good at them. i find them relaxing. however, when i was our team's player coach and would write the workouts, I always prefaced any hypoxic set with a warning: if you see what appears to be a swarm of black dots closing fast across your visual field, you probably need to breathe. And quickly.
one other possible benefit, if there is one, to hypoxic training is the psychological effect--you adapt yourself to this form of discomfort so that when you encounter it in a race, it doesn't freak you out. Who among us hasn't had an overwhelming urge to sneak a breath on a final stroke on a 100? If we have taught ourselves we can safely ignore this impulse, maybe we can shave a couple hundredths off our time? And with SDKs, mental habituation to hypoxic discomforts os no doubt even more important.
all this, of course, is moot now. our Y has posted all these sheets in the pool area, printed on orange paper, proscribing any breath restriction whatsover! the days of whine and hazes, it would appear, are kaput at the Sewickley YMCA.

Allen Stark
April 13th, 2009, 08:45 PM
I agree with Chris and Jim.Swim like you race or an exaggeration of your race.For instance in BR if you don't do a good pullout every time you certainly won't the last 1-3 turns of a 200.Lately with the extra distance from tech suits and the dolphin kick rule I have been trying to acclimate by doing some double pullout sets(2underwater pullouts before breakout).The only value I see in the 3-5-7 sets is to make you think.

hofffam
April 14th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Agreed. The only times I do this kind of set is if I want to work on stroke efficiency (ie DPS) or mechanics, or work on alternate breathing, or if I want to limit how fast I can go (ie recovery). Which I guess is Maglischo's point.

Personally I think the term "hypoxic" should be expanded to include underwater work and work with snorkels (especially when the intake is partially blocked).

I think a new term should be create instead of adding yet another level of confusion to "hypoxic." I don't have a suggestion just yet - but when they do - they should notify the coaching associations, and send an email to all interested parties. Then the stupid age group coaches could start teaching their kids the right terms and methods.

hofffam
April 14th, 2009, 02:59 PM
If a coach says:

"We're gonna do some SDK work" - I think that is very clear (although age groupers do not know what SDK is). Coaches could make this stick.

"We're gonna do some hypoxic" - I think most Masters swimmers think that means stuff like 3-5-7.

My two swimmer sons (16 and 19) have heard their 3-5-7 sets called "breath control" sets, not hypoxic. Their coach is close to my age though and I bet she learned it as hypoxic.