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mikemortal
September 19th, 2007, 03:25 AM
I usually run for exercise, but I am thinking of incorporating swimming several times a week into my workout schedule. For anyone who swims, do you find that swimming is a good form of exercise--for both muscle definition and a calorie-burning workout? Also, for how long do you swim, and how should I feel while swimming (out of breath, or should I swim at a medium to slow pace)
Any general swimming techniques, tips, and personal experiences would be helpful! And I want to know why swimming is not generally recommended as an exercise to prevent osteoporosis.

Donna
September 19th, 2007, 07:13 AM
Swimming is great for cardio, weightloss and yes you can gain muscle definition (especially in the upper body). It takes time so be patient.

The reason swimming is not recommended for osteoporosis is because it is not a weight bearing exercise, due to the water bouyance.

cathlaur
September 19th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Mike this is only my third week of swimming after 22 years give or take a year LOL so I cannot answer all your questions.

I can tell you my back is getting a huge workout and I actually have lats HMMMMMMMMMMMM. Also the cardio is tough. There is no way it cannot be good for everything you mentioned. I am trying to swim 4 times a week. Today there is no swim so I did some cardio at the gym this morning and weights.

I cannot wait to see how I look by next summer

Katie

Donna
September 19th, 2007, 04:05 PM
Katie,

May I recommend you take some pictures of where you are at so that a year from now you can do a visual comparison. You will truely surprise yourself.

Donna

Blackbeard's Peg
September 19th, 2007, 04:18 PM
I usually run for exercise, but I am thinking of incorporating swimming several times a week into my workout schedule. For anyone who swims, do you find that swimming is a good form of exercise--for both muscle definition and a calorie-burning workout? Also, for how long do you swim, and how should I feel while swimming (out of breath, or should I swim at a medium to slow pace)


YES, see my avatar ;)

if you just mosey on through a workout, you probably won't get much out of it; but if you challenge yourself with a variety of sprints, distance, technique, as well as cardio, you will see some results pretty quickly. Find a coach to help you with this, or check out the workouts on this forum.

I swim for 90 minutes 3-4 days a week, averaging 4500+ yards per workout in season.

mermaid
September 19th, 2007, 04:57 PM
Since you are a runner - perhaps a way to ease into the "swimming thing" would be to start water jogging. Gasp! I'm not suggesting that you would/could in any way shape or form be confused with a Noodler! I suggest this to get the most bang for your buck.

Almost all of the folks I've worked with in making the transition can't believe the limitations they feel in their lung capacity - one of these is the fact that your lungs are working both directions (in & out) in the water. The hydrostatic pressure is a factor in water - not land therefore you are getting a double workout in water.

By starting with something with which you are familiar will give yourself sense of accomplishment and will help you "feel" the water.

As you increase your swimming distance you can decrease your water jogging time.

cathlaur
September 20th, 2007, 10:48 AM
Thanks Donna

I have some lovely photos already of me when we vacation. OMG. LOL

I know that this is helping as my arms are quite sore especially the muscle around the underarms and my back. It is all good.

Katie

hofffam
September 20th, 2007, 01:50 PM
I usually run for exercise, but I am thinking of incorporating swimming several times a week into my workout schedule. For anyone who swims, do you find that swimming is a good form of exercise--for both muscle definition and a calorie-burning workout? Also, for how long do you swim, and how should I feel while swimming (out of breath, or should I swim at a medium to slow pace)
Any general swimming techniques, tips, and personal experiences would be helpful! And I want to know why swimming is not generally recommended as an exercise to prevent osteoporosis.


Swimming should have obvious value for muscle definition. Not body-builder style but you only need to look at good swimmers to see the benefits.

Running on the other hand produces clearly uninteresting physiques :D

A bit more seriously - vigorous swimming consumes just slightly less energy than running at the same heart rates. Possibly a result of the more effective body cooling from water.

If you want to swim for fitness, aim for the same level of perceived effort and/or heart rates you achieve with running.

The Fortress
September 20th, 2007, 03:47 PM
Running on the other hand produces clearly uninteresting physiques :D

Speak for yourself. :thhbbb: I think my husband and son look great. My son can outrun all the skinny kids with long legs. :groovy:

marksman
September 20th, 2007, 10:48 PM
It seems like I'm able to burn more calories by incorporating about 1k of kicking into workouts. My arms are usually dead after 3k or so anyways.

Josh54
September 21st, 2007, 12:31 AM
Swimming differs from running in many ways. First of all, and most importantly, swimming is a skill oriented sport. Technique is of the essence and it must be acquired. So if you are serious about swimming you will not only go to the pool to "work out" but to "practice". There maybe some frustration at first. I have seen it in my pool when runners begin swimming either because of injuries (something you have to worry about less as a swimmer) or because they want to do triathlons.

Another problem I see with runners begining to swim is general lack of flexibility. This is very noticible in an ineffective kick. This is due to technique problems but also to inflexible ankle joints. Their feet are always flexed in running where in swimming they must be extended. The best test is having a runner try to kick to the other side of the pool. Many times he will kick in place because of bad technique and lack of ankle flexibility. So work on flexibility. Shoulders too.

Lastly remember that you will be using muscles in swimming not used in running. In a short time you should see chest and shoulder development.

Hope this helped.

Slowswim
September 21st, 2007, 11:00 AM
Josh: I note on the lack of ankle flexibility. As a runner turned swimmer, I heard that a lot. I stretched my ankles constantly but no help. Then I got long fins. Man did that pull the top of my foot!

Runner know ankles flexibility as the achilles only. This cause calf cramps and a foot that hangs down because it can't be pulled in to a streamline position.

My first attempt at kicking, I pushed off the wall and than actually started backing up. Its very frustrating!

Josh54
September 22nd, 2007, 03:37 AM
Josh: I note on the lack of ankle flexibility. As a runner turned swimmer, I heard that a lot. I stretched my ankles constantly but no help. Then I got long fins. Man did that pull the top of my foot!



Absolutely. Forgot to mention that. Long fins are really good for developing ankle flexibility.

mikemortal
October 1st, 2007, 04:15 AM
Swimming differs from running in many ways. First of all, and most importantly, swimming is a skill oriented sport. Technique is of the essence and it must be acquired. So if you are serious about swimming you will not only go to the pool to "work out" but to "practice". There maybe some frustration at first. I have seen it in my pool when runners begin swimming either because of injuries (something you have to worry about less as a swimmer) or because they want to do triathlons.

Another problem I see with runners begining to swim is general lack of flexibility. This is very noticible in an ineffective kick. This is due to technique problems but also to inflexible ankle joints. Their feet are always flexed in running where in swimming they must be extended. The best test is having a runner try to kick to the other side of the pool. Many times he will kick in place because of bad technique and lack of ankle flexibility. So work on flexibility. Shoulders too.

Lastly remember that you will be using muscles in swimming not used in running. In a short time you should see chest and shoulder development.

Hope this helped.What kind of routine would I need to do when I go to the gym to swim?
How long should I swim?
How many laps should I do?
Does it matters if I do laps above or below the water?
Should I drink water before or during my swim?
Or should I take breaks?

bud
October 1st, 2007, 12:46 PM
... Does it matters if I do laps above or below the water?....
by all means... ABOVE WATER! this should reduce drag a LOT!!
(just kidding)

i reckon you mean more or less submerged. i've heard different schools of thought on this issue. for me... i am constantly seeking the path of most/least resistance. (most for the catch/pull, least for everything else). this single thought/concept will take you a long way.

you can make swimming really complicated, but it is easier to keep it simple (yes, i'm steeling geochuck's (http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=2582) thunder here).

a good coach will help a lot. self study will help a lot too. the best two study resources i can recommend to start with are:
articles at h2oustonswims.org (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles_by_category.html) (mostly by Coach Emmett Hines)
USMS Articles & Publications (http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php)

if you search the archives here (http://forums.usms.org/search.php) you will find a lot of info, and a lot of it is excellent. and there is always the ever popular Ask Ande (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4418) thread.

the answers to your other questions are going to vary depending on what your needs, goals, and capabilities are. in general i'd say do what is comfortable for now, and always try to learn more as you go. i've been swimming laps for over 35yrs and i'm still learning.

staying hydrated is generally recommended, but even this can get controversial.

as for distance/duration i suggest picking a time (say 45-60min) and swim as much as you can in that time. if you get tired take a rest to catch your breath. you'll get more out of 10x100 than you will out of a non-stop 1,000. mix it up (2x500, 3x300 w/ drills, etc.), practice other strokes. (i'm only using 1K as an example... ymmv (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=ymmv)). [hey geroge... look THAT one up.] there are lots of places to get workout routines, including this forum.

if you focus mainly on technique then strength, speed, and studmuffin status will come.

your intensity is mostly a matter of choice. but i think most would agree that coached team/club swims will push them harder.

ask questions here. the more specific the question, the better the answers will be. it is a good idea to have a boo at the archives before asking, but new people show here all the time, so feel free to ask anytime.

don't forget you can also see all the posts made by a specific member. just view their profile (or click their id by a post) and and click the appropriate link.

...

mikemortal
October 5th, 2007, 09:14 AM
by all means... ABOVE WATER! this should reduce drag a LOT!!
(just kidding)

i reckon you mean more or less submerged. i've heard different schools of thought on this issue. for me... i am constantly seeking the path of most/least resistance. (most for the catch/pull, least for everything else). this single thought/concept will take you a long way.

you can make swimming really complicated, but it is easier to keep it simple (yes, i'm steeling geochuck's (http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=2582) thunder here).

a good coach will help a lot. self study will help a lot too. the best two study resources i can recommend to start with are:
articles at h2oustonswims.org (http://www.h2oustonswims.org/articles_by_category.html) (mostly by Coach Emmett Hines)
USMS Articles & Publications (http://www.usms.org/articles/articledisplay.php)

if you search the archives here (http://forums.usms.org/search.php) you will find a lot of info, and a lot of it is excellent. and there is always the ever popular Ask Ande (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4418) thread.

the answers to your other questions are going to vary depending on what your needs, goals, and capabilities are. in general i'd say do what is comfortable for now, and always try to learn more as you go. i've been swimming laps for over 35yrs and i'm still learning.

staying hydrated is generally recommended, but even this can get controversial.

as for distance/duration i suggest picking a time (say 45-60min) and swim as much as you can in that time. if you get tired take a rest to catch your breath. you'll get more out of 10x100 than you will out of a non-stop 1,000. mix it up (2x500, 3x300 w/ drills, etc.), practice other strokes. (i'm only using 1K as an example... ymmv). [hey geroge... look THAT one up.] there a lots of places to get workout routines, including this forum.

if you focus mainly on technique then strength, speed, and studmuffin status will come.

your intensity is mostly a matter of choice. but i think most would agree that coached team/club swims will push them harder.

ask questions here. the more specific the question, the better the answers will be. it is a good idea to have a boo at the archives before asking, but new people show here all the time, so feel free to ask anytime.

don't forget you can also see all the posts made by a specific member. just view their profile and and click the appropriate link.

...I love to swim, but that's more for toning. I have an elliptical trainer, but that gets boring. I get great results from running, but I just don't enjoy it that much. I want something that will be entertaining and give me a good workout.

slowfish
October 5th, 2007, 08:17 PM
I'm hooked on swimming as my second sport...I used to do it just i liked tris but as i started going to masters workouts and getting more proficient all of the strokes, i've ditched the bike from sept to april and just swim and run (and lift a couple of times a week). What i really like is that i can do an easy run to recover from a hard run, but then hammer my butt off in the pool that same day.

As others have said, the key to being able to get a workout in swimming is to learn the strokes. Once you get some efficiency, you can swim longer and it makes the effort of going the pool worth the time. Learning all of the strokes also prevents boredom and gets you more balanced. Once you learn the strokes make sure you actually work on the clock. I think swimming gets a bad rap as a workout because it's so easy to get your HR down so if you spend too much time hanging out on the wall taking alot of rest between sets, you won't get that great of a workout.

I was surprised that my first masters workout was very much like a track workout where every set was done on an interval and i remember being a bit freaked that you only got 10 secs rest between intervals... But, then i realized that 10 secs in the pool is equivalent to about 1:00 rest during a set of 800s on the track. i also started learning that being a runner, i tend to recover just a bit faster than non-running swimmers in my lane :-).

Like other runners, i really suck at kicking and it's even harder if i've done a decent run on the same day as a hard swim workout. But, i think swimming, and kicking have helped with core strength and helped pervent running injuries cause i'm not getting injured as much as i used to and i'm still running 50-60 miles per week.

I think the best part about being able to have swimming as a workout is that if i *do* get hurt, i've got something to channel that competive drive into so i as i recover, i'm not walllowing in my sweat on the elliptical.

so, dive in, i think you'll be happy witht he results.

rtodd
October 5th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Hoffman:


Running on the other hand produces clearly uninteresting physiques

As a former runner, I feel the need to defend running. Here are some pics of a masters 4x400 race. All between the age of 40 and 50. I think the right kind of running produces decent builds as long as you are producing alot of lactic acid!

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5551.htm

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5552.htm

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5555.htm

hofffam
October 22nd, 2007, 01:08 PM
Hoffman:



As a former runner, I feel the need to defend running. Here are some pics of a masters 4x400 race. All between the age of 40 and 50. I think the right kind of running produces decent builds as long as you are producing alot of lactic acid!

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5551.htm

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5552.htm

http://www.prettysporty.com/Photos/PennRelays05/WDay3/267-70%20HSB&G&M%204x400/pages/DSC_5555.htm

Rtodd - I agree that those physiques are impressive. I admit my image of runners is what I usually see as the typical fitness runner - the distance guy. The Kenyan marathoner. No upper body mass at all and lean as can be. But "track" runners, especially sprinters, can look mighty fit.

I was once a cyclist - but cannot defend their bodies at all. The small upper body, big lower body is simply weird. Speed skaters are even worse.

Ripple
October 25th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Rtodd -...I was once a cyclist - but cannot defend their bodies at all. The small upper body, big lower body is simply weird. Speed skaters are even worse.


:laugh2: I haven't been a bike racer for a very long time, and still have the heavy lower body. The advantage: any woman unhappy with the size of her thighs will instantly feel tiny next to track cyclists and speed skaters.
I think that you get used to a type of body when you spend a lot of time around people who are built that way over several years, and after a while, other types seem unusual.

badnees
October 26th, 2007, 12:30 PM
Check out the last Runners World cover. Meb Keflezihgi looks pretty buff:applaud:

dorothyrde
October 26th, 2007, 02:11 PM
:laugh2: I haven't been a bike racer for a very long time, and still have the heavy lower body. The advantage: any woman unhappy with the size of her thighs will instantly feel tiny next to track cyclists and speed skaters.
I think that you get used to a type of body when you spend a lot of time around people who are built that way over several years, and after a while, other types seem unusual.

Agreed. Many years ago I was on a stair climbing machine at a local fitness center. Bonnie Blair walked by in shorts, and she is an itty bitty person, but had huge powerful thighs. Made me feel littler.

mikemortal
October 31st, 2007, 07:23 AM
So basically if you swim regularly you wont have to do anything else? Like running, weight training and cycling.

And how many long and how often should I swim to maintain optimum health?

dorothyrde
November 22nd, 2007, 10:56 PM
I think fitness has 3 facets. Cardiovascular, resistance training and stretching. Swimming would take care of the first, and somewhat the second, but I believe that you need more than the restance of water, especially as we age. The same with regular stretch training. As we age, flexibility and balance are very, very important.

So one of these, just swimming, without the others, does not get you all the benefits you need.

ddl
November 22nd, 2007, 11:19 PM
Hello I have a related question: Is it better to swim every day, each time for only 15-25 minutes; or to swim 2-3 times a week, but each time 45-60 minutes? Responses appreciated!

Blackbeard's Peg
November 23rd, 2007, 12:07 AM
Hello I have a related question: Is it better to swim every day, each time for only 15-25 minutes; or to swim 2-3 times a week, but each time 45-60 minutes? Responses appreciated!

If you swim for 15-20 minutes, chances are you wont be able to get your body in a position to burn as many calories as it could. a longer workout would give you a better chance to warm up and do a variety of things to burn some calories off... I'd vote for the latter.

Syd
November 23rd, 2007, 12:34 AM
I agree with Muppet here. After 15 - 20 minutes you will hardly be warmed up let alone have had time to finish a main set.

Also, (not always the case but often is) I find that after a long practice (say 90 minutes - and I only ever have time for this on the weekends) I am at my best. In fact, it seems, that the harder and longer I train the smoother and faster I get. So at the end of a long practice I will feel that 'in the zone' feeling, whereas it is very unusual to have that at the beginning of a practice or at the end of a short practice.

Syd

Ripple
November 23rd, 2007, 07:18 AM
Hello I have a related question: Is it better to swim every day, each time for only 15-25 minutes; or to swim 2-3 times a week, but each time 45-60 minutes? Responses appreciated!

I think it depends on your swimming level. If you are just getting into it, it may be better to start with 15 to 20 minutes and then add a little each week, to avoid injuries.

smontanaro
November 23rd, 2007, 07:46 AM
There's the pre/post swim time factor to consider as well. It's going to take you some time to get ready to swim (get there, change) and some time after your swim (shower, dress, go home). It adds up and isn't going to be affected by how long you swim.

Skip Montanaro

gr82cu!
November 23rd, 2007, 09:15 AM
When I first started swimming laps in college, I had to pace myself to keep from being exhausted in the first 5 min. So I started by working on technique so I could swim for 15 to 20 minutes without more than a couple of sec breaks. If I need a break while swimming I just flip over and float and kick to keep moving. As I got used to this, I extended the time. What I've found (over the years of getting out of shape and then swimming again) is that I can swim 1/2 mile without much effort, but the next day (if I'm out of shape) I feel it. The problem is that I don't feel I've had a workout at all when I'm doing it. But 45 to 60 minutes of swim is a good workout but do the intervals. 10 sec is a good break.

I remember telling my roommate that I was sweating in the water and it feels really strange the first time you notice that. She didn't believe me. She was on the college tennis team so she came with me . . . she lasted about 20 minutes. I swam for 2 hours.

Like as with other exercise, you start with what you can do comfortably, learn the technique, then work on the level of exhertion to increase the cardio and work on speed.

Have fun, Kathy

Donna
November 23rd, 2007, 02:23 PM
Until you get your water lungs just work on endurance and technique, start slow and build up. Don't expect to see too much of a difference during this time period.

Once you feel comfortable in the water, I recommend you vary your intesity and speed. Descending sets (starting out slow and build to fast) are a great way to lose unwanted fat and build muscle. But you will need to begin with a good warm up and end with a good warm down.

As far as how long and how often. Build up to four/five times per week for atleast an hour minimum.

Czarazuk
November 23rd, 2007, 03:07 PM
While in school, I followed a season of swimming with a season of track. Although I was a sprinter, the breath control and overall conditioning from swimming allowed me to initially run further and faster than the state champion in cross-country. Although this advantage faded over the following few weeks, it convinced me that swimming could be a valuable part of any runner's training.

ddl
November 24th, 2007, 10:32 PM
Thank you all for the thoughtful comments! I gather there is a consent among all the replies: too short time of swimming such as 15-25 minutes does not accomplish much. I think from now on I'll swim for at least 30 minutes each time.

I've heard that swimmers develop the so-called "swimmer's body": wide shoulders and small lower body. I suppose that kind of effect result only if you swim really vigorously and for long period of time like professional swimmers. For an amateur who just swim for 30 minutes moderately, even every day, I won't develop such a body shape, will I? (I hope not:eek:)

Blackbeard's Peg
November 25th, 2007, 12:41 AM
I've heard that swimmers develop the so-called "swimmer's body": wide shoulders and small lower body. I suppose that kind of effect result only if you swim really vigorously and for long period of time like professional swimmers. For an amateur who just swim for 30 minutes moderately, even every day, I won't develop such a body shape, will I? (I hope not:eek:)

Doesn't sound like you're looking for the intensity that will create drastic body transformation, but don't be surprised if in a few months, you find that your shirts are fitting a tad tighter in the shoulders.

dorothyrde
November 25th, 2007, 06:58 AM
You might get that tight fitting shirt if you don't get rid of the fat on top of the muscle, if you are a man, because you will gain muscle at a faster rate. I have found that I am leaning out with good diet and exercise and am much smaller.

ddl
November 25th, 2007, 06:54 PM
Which stroke uses the most butt muscles? Free or back?

BlackDove
November 25th, 2007, 09:20 PM
I think fitness has 3 facets. Cardiovascular, resistance training and stretching. Swimming would take care of the first, and somewhat the second, but I believe that you need more than the restance of water, especially as we age. The same with regular stretch training. As we age, flexibility and balance are very, very important.

So one of these, just swimming, without the others, does not get you all the benefits you need.

Thats is correct, especially for older folks. As I got older, resistance training is something I neglected. I think it's because of this that I developed an overuse injury on my left shoulder (bicipital tendinitis). I've read that swimmers, throwers (anything that have overhead motions of the arms) are prone to bicipital tendinitis. After my ongoing physical therapy, I shall be adding dryland exercises to strengthen my shoulders and withstand repetetive motions like swimming.

dorothyrde
November 25th, 2007, 10:07 PM
Which stroke uses the most butt muscles? Free or back?
(I am a woman by the way)

Do walking lunges to and from the pool. That will work those muscles!

ddl
November 25th, 2007, 11:00 PM
Do walking lunges to and from the pool. That will work those muscles!

Sorry dorothy, but what is 'walking lunges'?

dorothyrde
November 26th, 2007, 08:31 AM
Put one foot forward into a lunge, walk the other to meet it. Switch sides and walk forward like that. The deeper you get in the lunge, the more you will work the glutes. Make sure your knee does not extend past your toes.
Doing this without weights will work your muscles because you use body weight.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/DBWalkingLunge.html

I did another goody this morning for the lower body, and it really targeted the glutes. I did this on a stability ball with a 15 pound dumbbell in the working leg's hand, but you could do this using a chair and no weight at first.

Sit in the chair or on the ball. Lift the left leg slightly so that the foot is off the ground. No lift up off the seat with the right leg, and come back down. Use your left hand as balance behind you if you need it. Also cheat the left toe down if you have to. Do this controled to take the momentum out and don't stand all the way up. Just up a couple inches, back down slightly touch the behind, back up. Hold it in the up position for a couple of seconds for a good burn. Always make sure your knee does not go past your toes in a squat move. See, you can do this anywhere!

Check this link out, it has some good stuff on it:

http://exercise.about.com/od/butthipsthighs/Butt_Hips_Thighs.htm

ddl
November 27th, 2007, 08:15 PM
Thanks dorothy for the explanations and the links. Good to know so many exercises on that!

Back to my question about "swimmer's body", it's said to be wide shoulders, and narrow hips. I suppose wide shoulders come from the over-developed muscles in the shoulder areas due to swimming? But narrow hips? How could swimming result in narrow hips? Narrow hips certainly help swimming fast, but I don't there's a "vice versa"?!

dorothyrde
November 28th, 2007, 05:44 AM
Maybe the people with wider shoulders and narrower hips naturally got to swimming. When I go to the kids meets, there is all kinds of body shapes, even in the top heats. I think the elite work-out so much that their bodyfat is fairly low, and with that leanest comes the narrower hips.