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Mr. Friscus
December 15th, 2016, 08:49 PM
Hello all. I'm not sure there's a "cure" for me here, I just thought I'd share my frustrations with swimming (the small bit of experience I've had) and see what you all thought.

So, First things first, I am not a swimmer. I do not have a swimmer's body. I'm a stout, powerlifter, who these days is overweight as well.

However, even when I was in much trimmer shape, I was never a good swimmer. I actually lack boyency quite a bit. I told a friend of mine how I was far less boyant than the usual person, and they had me lay back and float with their arms below me, and even when my lungs were filled with air to the max, I was sinking.

I'm not sure if this is due to my weight, or having a background in powerlifting, or just a thing that you're born with, but I cannot distance swim because I sink. The only way I can swim are basically sprints, because I have to keep stroking faster and faster to stay above water.

Of course, this causes breathing issues, and water getting into my mouth and throat when I breathe.

I've recently began cardio again, and I've run into some knee issues. So, I've considered getting back into the pool, however, I'm not enthused, given my circumstances.

I mean, it's a furious endeavor for me to swim. I get gassed right away. The farthest I can do is down-back-down-back. I watch these other swimmers just go non-stop, working and stroking but also pacing.

Should I just keep up my clunky, desperate swimming? LOL Have you ever heard of other people who just appear to be human bricks?

gobears
December 16th, 2016, 08:10 AM
You need a coach. Some people have a harder time floating than others but we can all learn to balance in the water enough to swim more efficiently. Once you learn how to balance your body in the water you can learn how to reduce drag and propel yourself forward using less energy. Look for a good USMS program or some private lessons with a coach who knows what they are doing.

ForceDJ
December 16th, 2016, 08:55 AM
Yeah, your situation is not uncommon. When I was in the Navy I was frequently my command's fitness coordinator/tester and occasionally encountered extremely fit (i.e. very muscular) guys who'd suddenly decide to try the 500 yd swim for their semi-annual fitness test instead of the 1.5 mile run. They'd think "I'm in good shape. I can power thru a 500 yard swim." I'd advise them against it but they'd insist. Usually, about 100 yards into the swim they'd surrender, realizing that they were figuratively and literally in over their heads. As I read your post I was thinking "sounds like he's got a higher percentage of muscle"...which sinks as opposed to fat which floats...and then you mentioned that you're (or were) a power lifter. So it's going to be a bit harder for you to become proficient at swimming. But, not impossible. People with lower percentages of body fat (i.e. buoyancy) will sink which presents them with the additional challenge of keeping themselves on the surface AND/WHILE propelling themselves through the water. And by people with lower body fat I mean both large musclar people, and very skinny people. But, extremely fit people, like Michael Phelps who has a body fat percentage of just 5%, can be capable swimmers. Clearly Phelps has other attributes that help make him an extremely efficient swimmer...attributes that you and I don't have. Consequently we have to work harder at keeping our bodies from sinking, and getting it through the water. That's where a coach or swim instructor can lend assistance in perfecting your technique and mechanics. It'll just take some time and determination on your part. Good luck.

Dan

cinc3100
December 16th, 2016, 11:40 AM
Yeah, your situation is not uncommon. When I was in the Navy I was frequently my command's fitness coordinator/tester and occasionally encountered extremely fit (i.e. very muscular) guys who'd suddenly decide to try the 500 yd swim for their semi-annual fitness test instead of the 1.5 mile run. They'd think "I'm in good shape. I can power thru a 500 yard swim." I'd advise them against it but they'd insist. Usually, about 100 yards into the swim they'd surrender, realizing that they were figuratively and literally in over their heads. As I read your post I was thinking "sounds like he's got a higher percentage of muscle"...which sinks as opposed to fat which floats...and then you mentioned that you're (or were) a power lifter. So it's going to be a bit harder for you to become proficient at swimming. But, not impossible. People with lower percentages of body fat (i.e. buoyancy) will sink which presents them with the additional challenge of keeping themselves on the surface AND/WHILE propelling themselves through the water. And by people with lower body fat I mean both large musclar people, and very skinny people. But, extremely fit people, like Michael Phelps who has a body fat percentage of just 5%, can be capable swimmers. Clearly Phelps has other attributes that help make him an extremely efficient swimmer...attributes that you and I don't have. Consequently we have to work harder at keeping our bodies from sinking, and getting it through the water. That's where a coach or swim instructor can lend assistance in perfecting your technique and mechanics. It'll just take some time and determination on your part. Good luck.

Dan

Michael Phelps been swimming since childhood and developed the skills to compensate for low body fat. I was not a great floater as a kid or teenager and was probably heavy for a swimmer when I did age group and high school swimming as a kid but developed the swimming skills since age 10 from swimming red cross lessons and competitive novice swimming starting at age 12. I came back to some swimming at age 42 and even lost the breaststroke kick and redeveloped that and also being able to swim fly again. Now, at 59 working out the most in years I can do all the strokes. I'm not skinny still overweight. You might try breaststroke which is more friendly to heavy set people or backstroke instead of freestyle as much but some folks don't like back since you can't see what you are doing and you need to learn to count your strokes with the flags.

arthur
December 16th, 2016, 01:08 PM
Although it is harder to rotate to breath, it is ok to be low in the water and I think you shouldn't waste energy trying to keep yourself afloat. You should try to keep your head all the way under the water which will help give you a better body position. You can also do some of your practice using a pullboy which will help keep your body afloat. I wouldn't use it all the time though or you won't learn proper body position.

Swimsmooth would call your body type "The Arnie" and they have some tips on what to focus on when swimming: http://www.swimtypes.com/arnie.html

chowsh
December 16th, 2016, 02:04 PM
You need a coach. Some people have a harder time floating than others but we can all learn to balance in the water enough to swim more efficiently. Once you learn how to balance your body in the water you can learn how to reduce drag and propel yourself forward using less energy. Look for a good USMS program or some private lessons with a coach who knows what they are doing.

Take some technique lessons: find a coach or instructor at the USMS.org tabs Learn to Swim/Instructor Search or Certified Instructors, or Local Programs/Places to Swim or Club Websites. Ask about adult lessons or masters team that welcomes beginners at the pool facility you are currently using, or local colleges, Y's, rec centers or gyms with aquatics programs. If you can't find organized adult swim programming in your area, then try triathlete training programs or ask coaches of any local kids' teams if they offer individual lessons to adults.

You can also read/watch links/videos on swim technique at USMS.org or YouTube, but I would still suggest getting lessons for the individual feedback you will get from the coach/instructor. Good Luck!

Sumorunner
December 16th, 2016, 04:54 PM
I'm the opposite, a former shot putter, not a power lifter, but I can throw some weight around, so to speak. I suspect I have loads more body fat percentage since I have never had any difficulty floating. If I lie still, prone in the water, my legs rise to the surface immediately. I can actually feel the calves break above the surface. Consequently, I'm one of those guys who can go on for a mile or more at a time. However, I cannot sprint to save my life. We all have different qualities.

I did get a coach and heeded her advice on many points of style and technique. Over and above any improvements in speed or endurance I got, it made me feel more at home, more comfortable and smoother in the water.

RonCummins
December 16th, 2016, 05:06 PM
Worry not. My mother used to joke that I had to swim fast because I didn't float. As I constantly harp, body position and stroke technique are what matter. Everyone is correct; find some good instruction. Believe it or not, 4 lengths without stopping is not a bad beginning point.

Allen Stark
December 17th, 2016, 11:29 AM
I totally agree with all of the advise to get a coach or instructor to work on technique. In college I absolutely sunk. Practically all the other guys on the swim team in college were not naturally buoyant. Muscle and bone are heavier than water,If one doesn't have much body fat one will sink. Muscle is also what propels you. Good technique will enable you to breathe and maintain a horizontal position.

__steve__
December 17th, 2016, 12:26 PM
Here (http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/swim/bullets/float36.htm) is some information about buoyancy and swimming.

Mike Scott
December 18th, 2016, 11:32 AM
Hello all. I'm not sure there's a "cure" for me here, I just thought I'd share my frustrations with swimming (the small bit of experience I've had) and see what you all thought.

So, First things first, I am not a swimmer. I do not have a swimmer's body. I'm a stout, powerlifter, who these days is overweight as well.

However, even when I was in much trimmer shape, I was never a good swimmer. I actually lack boyency quite a bit. I told a friend of mine how I was far less boyant than the usual person, and they had me lay back and float with their arms below me, and even when my lungs were filled with air to the max, I was sinking.

I'm not sure if this is due to my weight, or having a background in powerlifting, or just a thing that you're born with, but I cannot distance swim because I sink. The only way I can swim are basically sprints, because I have to keep stroking faster and faster to stay above water.

Of course, this causes breathing issues, and water getting into my mouth and throat when I breathe.

I've recently began cardio again, and I've run into some knee issues. So, I've considered getting back into the pool, however, I'm not enthused, given my circumstances.

I mean, it's a furious endeavor for me to swim. I get gassed right away. The farthest I can do is down-back-down-back. I watch these other swimmers just go non-stop, working and stroking but also pacing.

Should I just keep up my clunky, desperate swimming? LOL Have you ever heard of other people who just appear to be human bricks?

It's the muscle mass and your confidence in the water. Yes, muscle mass plus a bit of trepidation will cause sinking. However, as you build confidence, the swimming for distance will come. Try using "lava" jammers or a pull buoy. Works wonders as you gain confidence. About the swimmers bod. That's great. You already have the weightlifter physique. The swimmer bid is a toned down version of that. Some weights and body weights as well as working 3-5 days a week in the pool for an hour each day. I love the look and feel. Best of luck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Sojerz
December 19th, 2016, 11:26 AM
A pull buoy is a good idea to help your body position. You maybe strong and struggling a lot, which doesn't help. Swimming is not as much about the amount of your flotation as you think. Unlike land based exercises where the ground or weights push back 100%, in swimming water gives way and just moves out of the way when you push on it or apply force - its more like air.

The real trick to swimming is learning how to apply force to the water and hold on to it. Once you realize how to do that efficiently, speed increases and your body rises higher in the water (like a boat starting up).

I recommend buying a pair of medium length swim fins. They'll add "easy speed" when you wear them and allow you to work on head position, breathing, and arm strokes (mechanics) while moving much more easily through the water with the fins on - less struggle, more of a chance to relax, and an elevated body position will all help a great deal. You can also use them with a kick board for kicking drills to gain ankle flex too.

Swim some laps with fins to work on mechanics, and then take them off and swim more laps trying to retain the same stroke mechanics and easy speed. I don't like to end my practices swimming with fins on, preferring to end a swim session without any swimming aids as a memory aid and point of departure.

Seeing a coach/instructor a couple of times per month and working on drills will speed progress up. There are also tons of drills and "how to" videos on mechanics on you tube.

orca1946
December 19th, 2016, 11:30 AM
Floating is not swimming. Yes - you need instruction on how to "swim". Stick with a program to learn how to propel yourself in the water.