View Full Version : lactic acid after swimming

January 18th, 2005, 10:55 AM
Does anyone have advice about reducing lactic acid build up after swimming? I swim pretty hard 4-5X a week (3000-4500 yds per workout)and walk around with constant knots in my upper back and shoulders. I know to stretch, drink plenty of water (before,during and after workout), & warm up/ warm down. While I don't always do all of these things in combination - I do some of them . I have a straight right arm in freestyle that doesn't always enter the water very "gracefully" which I know contributes to this pain. Is there anything important that I need to be doing besides getting a new stroke ? Any secrets I need to know? Oh, and I will not be giving up my morning coffee so forget that advice!:)

January 18th, 2005, 11:18 AM
You mentioned that you sometimes do warmup and warmdown. I think you should always do these two things. You need a long warmup, at least 1000 yds. I often do a 500 warmup and then repeats of shorter distances with rest to finish warming up. Your warmdown needs to be at least 500 with a combination of swimming, drills, floating with kicks. Try to loosen up your muscles during this time. Try this, it works for me.

January 18th, 2005, 11:24 AM
Thanks - I do swim at least a 1000 yd warm up but I'm lucky if I swim 300 yds. to warm down. It's sometimes only 100 yds and I never mix it up with kick and drills. So, I'll give that a try.

January 18th, 2005, 12:46 PM
It sounds like you do a lot of yardage during the week. 15,000 - 20,000 yards. Do you use any type of recovery workout when you begin to tighten up and get sore? Recovery workouts are very important if you are doing a lot per week. Try resting a day.

January 18th, 2005, 01:08 PM
It's been a while since I've swam hard enough to worry about lactic acid build up, but I do remember that the warm-down is really important. Also, to vary your workouts enough that you're not building up such extreme levels of lactic acid at every workout. I just got Hines' Fitness Swimming and noticed that he recommends not doing the lactice endurance workouts every day, because it doesn't give the system long enough to work the build-up out of your body.

A more enjoyable alternative would be regular massage by a trainded and licences massage therapist; once the scar tissue is broken up, and everything moving freely again, it'll be easier to get the lactic acid out of your system. Plus, regular massage is nice :D


January 18th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Lactic acid should clear out within several minutes with a warmdown and should not cause constant discomfort. Maybe you're overtraining; perhaps this is delayed onset muscle soreness (thought to be due to microinjury to the muscle fibers).

January 18th, 2005, 01:16 PM
I guess I really don't have a "recovery workout". If anything, I would just scale back on the intensity of my main set and do it with more rest or ...... use my fins to give me a boost on those super tight days. I was told by a trainer that you should have a day that you just swim relaxed and do more stroke drills, etc. I am best at distance races (1500 plus - up to 10K) so I am always worrying about getting in the yardage to make these swims . I must confess that sometimes I even like the soreness because it makes me feel like I have worked really hard. Sick - I know! But I bet some of you know what I mean!!!! Nothing worse than that feeling of not swimming and feeling like a blob - even though the upper back does feel better.

January 18th, 2005, 01:25 PM
Overtraining - massage - rest - recovery days ..... Sounds good to me. Sign me up!

January 19th, 2005, 11:01 AM
i'm not a distance swimmer (mid-distance for sure though!) so yardage is not as big of a deal for me. but my typical scheduled workouts are like this: monday- 4000 meters aerobic mainly; tuesday-3000 meters speed or lactate; wednesday-3500 meters stroke work/drills; thursday- 4000 meters varies week to week.

we don't have scheduled workouts friday-sunday, but a few of us usually workout on our own at least 2 of 3 days. but we rarely do more than 3000 meters. i've found that this works well for sprinters, mid-distance, and our long distance/OW/triathletes. but we always have at least 1 day off and 2 pretty easy practices...

so basically what i'm rambling on about is that, even if you're a distance swimmer, you still need to give your body a rest at some point during the week. luckily for us, very few of our swimmers have nagging injuries and i honestly think it's because of our training schedule...

hope this helps!

January 19th, 2005, 11:14 AM
Thanks Molly - I guess the overall consensus seems to be that I am not allowing my body to recover between workouts. And I am not varying them up enough like you do. I actually took the day off yesterday after reading these posts! I guess we will know if rest helps at about 40 minutes into the Hour Swim (which I am planning to do in the next week or so) !!!! That last 20 minutes is always a killer for me.