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View Full Version : Effective weight training for female swimmers-Y/N?



2fish&1whale
May 8th, 2012, 01:45 PM
I've joined an online 'milage club'-a group of people with various abilities,some training for marathons others coming back from injuries,all keeping track of and sharing their efforts-and the topic of weight training has come up.Out of 30 or so people I am the only one who swims as well as biking/walking,everybody else runs,walks,bikes or does the elyptical.Does weight training differ for swimmers vs. runners?I swim breast/back stroke only-no free-and I feel as if I already do a lot of upperbody and if I add weights as they are suggested in this blog-I'm gonna compromise my ablity to swim eficiently.Any thoughts or ideas?
http://blog.metaboliceffect.com/2009/11/01/should-women-lift-heavy-or-light-weights/

sickfish
May 8th, 2012, 02:18 PM
As long as you don't injure yourself, and you use weights as a complement to your swimming rather than a replacement, it won't compromise your ability to swim efficiently. You're not going to get "too big". If anything compromises your ability to swim efficiently, it's going to be either bad technique or injury. Or both.

Of course, there are definitely certain areas where you'll get more bang for your buck...

SAK
May 8th, 2012, 03:02 PM
I've actually found that upping my weight-lifting/cross-training and decreasing my pool time did AMAZING things for me. Everyone is different. But it certainly won't hurt you. Like the other poster said though - as long as you're doing everything with correct form and weight for your abilities. Don't get hurt and good luck!

swimon90
May 8th, 2012, 04:50 PM
I've joined an online 'milage club'-a group of people with various abilities,some training for marathons others coming back from injuries,all keeping track of and sharing their efforts-and the topic of weight training has come up.Out of 30 or so people I am the only one who swims as well as biking/walking,everybody else runs,walks,bikes or does the elyptical.Does weight training differ for swimmers vs. runners?I swim breast/back stroke only-no free-and I feel as if I already do a lot of upperbody and if I add weights as they are suggested in this blog-I'm gonna compromise my ablity to swim eficiently.Any thoughts or ideas?
http://blog.metaboliceffect.com/2009/11/01/should-women-lift-heavy-or-light-weights/

I have actually found it quite helpful and it has improved my overall ability to sprint in the pool although it takes time and too much of it will cause you to be very very sore and not as able to practice as hard however that lasts only a day or so after and it is well worth it. I have had a shoulder injury and it has been key to keeping my yardage up (40,000ish a week) with out pain from the injury because the muscles around it are strong.

aquajock
May 8th, 2012, 05:44 PM
I have actually found it quite helpful and it has improved my overall ability to sprint in the pool although it takes time and too much of it will cause you to be very very sore and not as able to practice as hard however that lasts only a day or so after and it is well worth it. I have had a shoulder injury and it has been key to keeping my yardage up (40,000ish a week) with out pain from the injury because the muscles around it are strong.

I have had a shoulder injury also, so I do very little heavy lifting with the upper body. I mostly work on stabilizing my shoulder girdle as a whole, doing internal/external rotation and scapular retractions for the rotator cuff and rhomboids and do mobility exercises to stay flexible.

2fish&1whale
May 8th, 2012, 05:55 PM
Thanks for the thoughts!I'm somewhat of an anomaly in my group in that I don't excersize to loose weight,I do it for fitness and endurance...and if some pounds come off,great.I don't compete,but I want to make my swimming 'count'-meaning,I work hard to maintain form and speed for the hour+ I'm in the pool.My worry is that if I go with the recomended 45 min.,heaviest weights you can handle 2x3 times a week suggestion by a trainer in our group-I'm gonna have nothing left for the pool!He is a runner-so doesn't have to worry about upper body on his non weight days.Do I go as heavy as I can go,but much shorter time?Or one all out weight day and then no pool,but maybe bike the next?
My other thought was to add paddles and not mess with weights at all...I think there are some that work for breast stroke.

Fins25
May 9th, 2012, 02:30 AM
Weight training needs to follow the same principle as your swimming training. You need to train in phases such as hypertrophy, strength, power and endurance. Don't just do all strength training as this can actually make you lose strength. It is important to have a minimum of a 14 week plan.

Another thing to consider is that you should never do any more than 4 weeks in a row of high intensity weight training. After 3-4 weeks of intense training you need to have a very light week. This allows your muscles to adapt to the training and will compliment your other pool sessions.

Why Not
May 9th, 2012, 03:29 PM
Weight training needs to follow the same principle as your swimming training. You need to train in phases such as hypertrophy, strength, power and endurance. Don't just do all strength training as this can actually make you lose strength. It is important to have a minimum of a 14 week plan.

Another thing to consider is that you should never do any more than 4 weeks in a row of high intensity weight training. After 3-4 weeks of intense training you need to have a very light week. This allows your muscles to adapt to the training and will compliment your other pool sessions.

Interesting thoughts. Do you have a source for such a 14wk plan?

orca1946
May 9th, 2012, 05:07 PM
Don't try to lift big numbers!!! Remember , we as swimmers, do many reps of each stroke . Do many reps of lighter weights to build strength & endurance.

swimdaily
May 10th, 2012, 03:28 PM
What would happen if a swimmer did lifting ONLY to reduce injury risk (say, shoulder strengtheners like YTWL stuff) and lifts that worked the body in ways that swimming didn't work--say overhead presses? That is not a comprehensive list of course, but hopefully everyone gets my drift.

I'm very interested in lifting to be healthy and strong. But I love swimming more. I want to maximize the energy I have for swimming and swimming GAINS while keeping my body balanced and doing some weight bearing exercise to keep my bones good.

I 'get" the idea of using lighter weights to build strength/endurance--but that's what swimming does. My thinking is that heavier/less reps builds strength--the outer edges of what is possible for me--and I can shade in the area within those outer edges with endurance work like swimming.

SAK
May 10th, 2012, 03:31 PM
I'm with you. I do way more strength and overall fitness/health workouts than I do swimming. I've been doing that in the form of crossfit for awhile, not swimming much at all (relative to traditional training) and getting lifetime best times. PM me if you want to chat about it.

Betsy
May 11th, 2012, 06:23 AM
I have done weights on and off for many years. I always feel much stronger when I do.
For the last 8-9 months, I have worked with an excellent trainer once a week. I try to lift one other day on my own. She has pushed me with a lot of core strength exercises in addition to other body parts, and will increase the weight as I am ready. I feel extremely strong when I swim and feel confident that even if i feel tired during a race, my arms will keep going. I am 70 so age may play into this. We naturally lose strength as we age, but weights can counter the effect to a large extent.