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View Full Version : "You got no lungs and you got no legs."



frankiej
September 4th, 2009, 09:20 PM
A funny thing happened to me today, at least its funny to me. While I was at the pool during open swim there was this what looked to be highschool team (swam year around) drilling. When I finished my sets the coach who was there approached me and said, "You a swimmer?" I kinda laughed and said "No, not at all." He then looks at me and says, "Well you sure work hard for not being a swimmer." We then discussed that I was a junior in college and he told me I should try out for the swim team. Turns out he coaches highschool and coached college teams around my area and was watching me breifly while I was swimming. As you can see by the title of the thread he pointed out that I have no lungs and I have no legs, which is correct and I have been trying to work on those two attributes for awhile. He went on to say that with a few minor adjustments to my freestyle and with some proper training I could scare some people (I don't know if he was being serious or what but he sure looked it).

I haven't been swimming for all that long (about 8 months or so, only being serious for about 5 months) and have never been coach, so I kinda laughed at the idea of me being a college (D3) swimmer.

So I come here to ask you fine swimmers how could I improve in these two areas? I know theres the "Help my flutter kick is horrible" thread but I haven't found much on how to increase lung capicity and would like to hear some tricks/drills that may help me breath easier/last longer while swimming. One thing that bothers me as well, whenever I swim a long set (like 100's for me) the back of my neck bothers me. I don't know if it's because I'm not relaxed or because my head is to high but it cramps up sometimes.

Sorry for the long winded post, I just thought it was a funny story and would like to share it with you all while asking for advice :)

Alexander Hughes
September 4th, 2009, 09:45 PM
I've been doing hypoxic breathing more and more lately. I've been limiting myself to breathing every 5 or 7 strokes depending on the distance and pace. Starting bilateral breathing (every 3rd) after you've been breathing every stroke can be rough for a couple weeks but you get used to it and don't notice it much if you work at it. I'm now working on breathing every 5 more frequently, and it feels just a bit more difficult than switching to every 3rd was. I'm sure with a few more weeks of religiously training the every 5 I could handle that also for an extended distance.

Some people say hypoxic sets don't do anything at all, while some people swear by it. My own experience is the more I train myself to deal with less oxygen the easier it is. The benefit of breathing less is you are in a more streamline position for longer, reducing drag and keeping up momentum. The downside is changing your oxygen flow, depending on what distance you're competing at one particular breathing pattern would be better than another. For example in a sprint ideally you take 0-2 breaths total. In a distance event you may want to breathe every 2-4 strokes.

notsofast
September 5th, 2009, 05:50 AM
Is the coach you talked to the coach of your college's swim team? If so, ask him what you should do. He'll probably be excited about having a motivated swimmer and have lots of suggestions.
If by 'no lungs', he means aerobic capacity, then a spin class will add it quickly. If he means anaerobic capacity, you'll pick that up with anaerobic drills - swims where you breath every 4, 5 or 6 strokes instead of every 2.
If by 'no legs', he means your legs aren't strong, then a spin class or jumping rope or Nautilus-style workouts will help. If by 'no legs', he means your kick is not propulsive, you'll need instruction from a swim coach, as the proper kick is not intuitive and difficult to learn.

qbrain
September 5th, 2009, 08:26 AM
so I kinda laughed at the idea of me being a college (D3) swimmer.

I was a D3 swimmer for about a week. You would be surprised at the range of abilities. The surprising part is not that there are fast D3 swimmers, but just how many D3 swimmers suck.

There is usually a huge time commitment to being a competitive swimmer: 5 hours a day for training six days a week, weekends for meets, Christmas vacation in FL for training and missed days of class for the bigger meets. It is very nice to be recruited, which was the only reason I even considered swimming in college, but in the end you really need to decide if you define yourself as a swimmer, or swimming is just something you enjoy doing. I didn't enjoy that level of training any more so it wasn't worth the time commitment to me.

I would discourage you from joining the college team as a Jr. with your lack of training background. I would take it as a very nice compliment, and consider joining USMS knowing that you might do really well competitively, and not need to increase your time commitment to much more than 5 hours a week.


I haven't found much on how to increase lung capicity

Unless you have damaged your lung, they will come along on their own as you increase yardage and pace. For some reason, swimming seems to develop the lungs at a slower rate than running. If you just want to increase your lung capacity, take up running, but this will not improve your VO2 max for swimming. I think frequency is key to rapid improvement. If you are swimming 6x/week, you lungs will adapt faster than 3x/week. Since you are waiting for your body to adapt, I do not think swimming 3 days of 6k workouts will help you as much as 6 days of 3k workouts.


the back of my neck bothers me

Sounds like you have a lot of neck arch. Can you see the bleachers while you are swimming freestyle? Your neck should be in line with the rest of your spine and you should be looking almost directly down at the bottom of the pool.

frankiej
September 5th, 2009, 10:27 AM
Is the coach you talked to the coach of your college's swim team?
If by 'no legs', he means your kick is not propulsive, you'll need instruction from a swim coach, as the proper kick is not intuitive and difficult to learn.

He apparently used to be the coach of my college team but then stepped down. As for my kick, I think propulsion is the issue. My legs are pretty strong from skating and running all my life. I have days where my kicking is spot on then there is days where I can't keep them in rhythm.



There is usually a huge time commitment to being a competitive swimmer: 5 hours a day for training six days a week, weekends for meets, Christmas vacation in FL for training and missed days of class for the bigger meets. It is very nice to be recruited, which was the only reason I even considered swimming in college, but in the end you really need to decide if you define yourself as a swimmer, or swimming is just something you enjoy doing. I didn't enjoy that level of training any more so it wasn't worth the time commitment to me.

I would discourage you from joining the college team as a Jr. with your lack of training background. I would take it as a very nice compliment, and consider joining USMS

Ya, I definitely take it as a compliment. As much as I'd want to I don't think I could devote a lot of time to it with taking 18 credits and working part-time during the week.



Unless you have damaged your lung, they will come along on their own as you increase yardage and pace. For some reason, swimming seems to develop the lungs at a slower rate than running. If you just want to increase your lung capacity, take up running, but this will not improve your VO2 max for swimming. I think frequency is key to rapid improvement. If you are swimming 6x/week, you lungs will adapt faster than 3x/week. Since you are waiting for your body to adapt, I do not think swimming 3 days of 6k workouts will help you as much as 6 days of 3k workouts.I smoke a cigar every so often but I used to run a lot before I picked up swimming. In my mind I think it's the whole "plan when you have to breathe" thing that kills me. I'll have to devote some sessions just to doing sets that vary my breathing patterns it seems.




Sounds like you have a lot of neck arch. Can you see the bleachers while you are swimming freestyle? Your neck should be in line with the rest of your spine and you should be looking almost directly down at the bottom of the pool.My head is rather up but not to the point where I can see out of the water. I try not to look at the bottom because then I feel like I'm going really slow:cane: It's weird.

qbrain
September 5th, 2009, 11:44 AM
I smoke a cigar every so often but I used to run a lot before I picked up swimming. In my mind I think it's the whole "plan when you have to breathe" thing that kills me. I'll have to devote some sessions just to doing sets that vary my breathing patterns it seems.


My head is rather up but not to the point where I can see out of the water. I try not to look at the bottom because then I feel like I'm going really slow:cane: It's weird.

I am not a big believer in breath control training. Just breath every other for the bulk of your workouts, and only worry about breath control during short sprints with lots of rest. As long as your are breathing hard frequently during practice, you are pushing yourself to improve your VO2 max no matter how many times you breath.

Sounds like adjusting your head position is just a mental game for you. You will figure it out eventually.

orca1946
September 5th, 2009, 01:44 PM
It might be hard to join a college team now, but what do you have to lose ? try to keep one eye/goggle lens in the water when you take a breath so that will keep your head DOWN & IN LINE WITH THE SPINE. . JOIN A MASTERS TEAM ALL WINTER SEASON & YOU WILL GET COACHED & HAVE FUN !

knelson
September 5th, 2009, 10:35 PM
I'll tell you what I'd do if I were you to work on lung capacity: work on trying to take a minimum of six dolphin kicks off each wall. Since you're pretty new to swimming, this is the perfect time to work on great underwaters. You'd be killing two birds with one stone, too. Lots of races are won and lost these days based on who is best underwater.

frankiej
September 6th, 2009, 12:01 AM
I'll tell you what I'd do if I were you to work on lung capacity: work on trying to take a minimum of six dolphin kicks off each wall. Since you're pretty new to swimming, this is the perfect time to work on great underwaters. You'd be killing two birds with one stone, too. Lots of races are won and lost these days based on who is best underwater.

Ya, I need to work on those as well. A problem with my SDK is that I kinda lose momentum after about 2 kicks so I surface and start my stroke.

scassady
September 6th, 2009, 06:50 PM
For increasing your lung capacity I recommend you try the following:
- Train yourself to offload carbon dioxide. Try a set of 50 repeats where you do 3 exhales at the wall before the next 50. After you try this and see if you get any changes try increasing the exhales to 10 and do them as you plunge your head under the water.
- Relax your breathing as you swim. Try swimming with an open mouth at all times and get the feeling of managing air in nose and mouth as you breat.

These two have been very helpful to me.