View Full Version : hypoxic training: increase # of strokes vs. timed workout

July 6th, 2017, 06:17 AM
Which approach to hypoxic training is better for distance swimming: increasing the number of strokes or trying to swim faster during the hypoxic set?

Part of my training includes 500m (lcm), alternating breathing each length - 5 strokes one way, 7 coming back etc.

This has become comfortable and I was wondering which of the two approaches should I use?

increasing to one breath/ 9 strokes, i.e. doing 7/9 lengths
keeping the 5/7 approach and try to improve my time for the set

What are the +/ - of each approach?
Many thanks!

July 6th, 2017, 08:57 AM
Is there really any benefit of hypoxic training for distances over a 50?

July 6th, 2017, 11:51 AM
Agree with Steve. There's not really a good reason to do it. If you run, do you hold your breath? You'd be much better off just breathing when you need it because your muscles need the O2 to perform. If you look at all the long distance swimmers, they either breathe every 2 strokes (same side) or every 3 on occasion.

July 7th, 2017, 12:04 AM
Neither. If you are training to race you should train like you'll race. In any freestyle race lasting longer than about 45s you should breathe as often as you can while you are swimming. In a pool race that means every R or every L, whichever side makes you faster. In OW you might have to switch from one side to the other depending on conditions.

The only way to feel comfortable breathing every 5 or more arms is to swim more slowly than you would if you breathed every R or every L. Why practice a technique that you'll never use and that could be dangerous?

July 7th, 2017, 10:32 AM
If you run, do you hold your breath?

Actually sometimes yes. Sprinters in the 100m don't breathe...and they practice it. In the 200m, they usually inhale just one time mid-race. Distance runners often do breathless wind sprints to help improve lung capacity and oxygen usage.


July 7th, 2017, 12:51 PM
Remember, we are Masters swimmers.Although we may be fit, most of us aren't young anymore.

July 7th, 2017, 02:06 PM
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I checked how this got into my training schedule and it's from a Dart 10k training manual (https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/dart10k-training-manual.pdf) (p. 18).

Is there really any benefit of hypoxic training for distances over a 50?

The main benefit for me is that it gives me confidence to know that, in an open water setting, I can take extra strokes calmly if someone splashes water next to my face or if waves are coming from odd directions.

July 8th, 2017, 12:32 AM
That manual is very good IMO. Note that it describes breathing every 5 or 7 as a "drill," just to make sure you can go either way if you need to in OW. Another good way to incorporate that flexibility into training in a pool is always to breathe to the same side of the pool, regardless of which way you are traveling.

Especially if your goal is 10K, your chief training objectives should include making sure that your breathing motion is as efficient as possible in either direction. That way you can breathe every R or every L, to avoid being blinded by the sun or choked by the waves or whatever, without penalty. You shouldn't be trying to limit breathing at all.

Training for a 50 is a lot more like training for a 200m run. There you want to have a breathing pattern in mind and practice it. But you would do that practice with a lot of resting and breathing between reps, not over and over on a tight repeat interval or without even stopping.