Importance of Cardio Outside the Pool for Female Sprinters
by, March 20th, 2009 at 10:00 PM (2001 Views)
4 mile run on course with rolling hills and some flat straight-aways. Total time: 35:39 (8:55/mi. pace)
Warm-up: 20 x 25 on :30 (Jumped in on tail-end of somebody's workout and used as a warm-up.) Did a variety of drills and easy swimming.
3 x 200 freestyle (descending) on 3:00
4 x 150 freestyle on 2:10 (hold pace)
6 x 100 freestyle with fins and paddles on 1:20
4 x 50 back - 25 rt. arm/25 lt.arm - 20 seconds rest
4 x 50 kick - alt. 8 kicks on back, 8 kicks on right side, 8 kicks on back, 8 kicks on left side - 20 seconds rest
6 x 50 back on 1:00 - work on quicksilver stroke-technique tip (high and dry shoulder - shoulder brushing cheek)
4 x 75 back dolphin with fins on 1:00
Total yards: 3400
As I was swimming this afternoon, I pondered a point raised by a study that Jim Thornton posted on the weight reduction thread a week ago. The study is discussed more below. An implication of the study was that body composition changes had a significant impact on a female's ability to sprint.
In my experience, cycling and/or running seem to be pretty effective at lowering body fat measurements, particularly in the thigh. I know there is no such thing as spot reducing, but from my own experience, I can't help but wonder if there are hormonal/chemical changes in women that occur when they start to run or cycle that lead to a reduction of body fat in the lower body.
As a masters swimmer, I had my best sprinting performance at Auburn in 2003 when I swam a 28.57(SCY) in 50 fly and a 1:07.80 in the 100 I.M.(no tech suit on either swim). With the exception of the week before the meet, I was running 20 to 25 miles per week. My weight was pretty much the same as it had been in the prior years (within 3 pounds) and the two years immediately following. My average yardage and weight-lifting routine was pretty much the same. The only difference was that in all other years, I was not doing any cardio outside the pool or I was doing very little, i.e. running 8 miles or less during the week.
I'm convinced I was carrying less body fat in 2003 due to the running and that it made a difference in my sprint ability that year. I would be curious to know if other female sprinters find cardio outside the pool helpful in keeping their body composition at an ideal level for sprinting.
Anyway, here is the study that Jim posted:
4. Sprint performance may be affected more in females than in males.
Siders, W.A., H.C. Lukaski and W.W. Bolonchuk. (1993). Relationships among swimming performance, body composition and somatotype in competitive collegiate swimmers. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 33:166-171.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between body composition and sprint swimming performance. Seventy-four collegiate-level male and female sprinters were weighed underwater and tested on a single 100-y time trial of the swimmer’s main competitive stroke.
- Sprint performance was significantly related to height, weight in water, fat-free weight and body fatness in females.
- The taller, heavier in water, the more fat-free tissue and the less body fat (within 25+5.3%), the faster they swam.
- These trends were also present for the males (¿=14.1+2.9%), but the relationships were not significant.
- Percent body fat can impact performance, but it doesn’t have to be extremely low for a swimmer to perform well.
- The effects of body composition changes on sprint performance may be more pronounced in females than in males.