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Thread: Warming up, before the warmup?

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Warming up, before the warmup?

    I'm a newbie, to swimming for fitness, but not to general working out.

    I'm puzzled about how to make sure my aging bod is set for a good workout in the pool. I've always been under the impression that stretching cold muscles is not very productive, but I also don't think it's wise to drive to the pool, change, and hop straight in the pool and start doing laps.

    Do you stretch before you get in the pool (or er, intend to, anyway, most times lol?). Or does a hot tub do any good before a swim workout?

    It occurs to me that I'm beginning my swim workout "cold," and that it is maybe impeding my progress.
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


  2. #2
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    I do dynamic stretching before my workout (examples below) and yoga and static stretching (stretch and hold) after each workout.

    My 15-minute dynamic stretching includes 10 reps of each of the following:

    1. Start with small arm circles and gradually get bigger and bigger. Reverse direction and repeat.

    2. Swing my arms back and forth (across my body), gradually increasing the range of motion.

    3. Streamline stretches where my arms start in a "goal post" formation and go up above my head to where my arms straighten and my hands overlap. Bring back to goal post position. Repeat.

    4. In the streamline formation, do side bends back and forth in a continual motion.

    5. Start with goal post formation and bring arms together in front of you to where the elbows and forearms touch. Bring them back to goal post formation. Do these in continual motion.

    6. Bring your arms behind your back with elbows bent and the back of your hands on each side of your lower back. Bring elbows towards each other and then back out again. Repeat in continual motion.

    7. Bring your neck towards your chest. Rotate your neck and head the left with your neck bent, and then to the right. Continue back and forth in half-circles.

    8. Bend over with knees slightly bent and hands resting on knees. Relax your back into a curve, and then reverse the curve. Continue back and forth from "sway back" to "hump back."

    9. Stand next to a railing and hold the railing with your left hand for balance. Now, swing your right leg forward and back. Swing your right arm in the opposite direction. Repeat for the ten reps., and then switch sides.

    10. Now, while hanging on to the railing, do leg circles without bending your knee. Repeat for each leg.

    11. Stand with on leg straight and the other one bent out to the side with your foot resting on the inside of the straight leg. Rotate your bent leg to the front, and then back to the side with your foot still on the inside of the straight leg.

    12. Do ankle and wrist circles in each direction.

    I made up my routine years ago, and these are the exercises I found worked best for me to prepare my body-- especially my joints-- for the pool.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Thank you Elaine! Those sound like the sort of thing I was thinking of doing. I think I found one of the Fitness Blender people's stretching routines that has nearly just these moves. I adore doing Yoga on active rest days!
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by f1refl1es! View Post
    Thank you Elaine! Those sound like the sort of thing I was thinking of doing. I think I found one of the Fitness Blender people's stretching routines that has nearly just these moves. I adore doing Yoga on active rest days!
    If you have a link, will you post it here? I'm sure there are others who would also like to see the routine you found. I'm sure it's better written than what I attempted above! What I wrote makes sense to me; however, I am not sure others will visualize the routine the way I intended in my descriptions. Besides, they probably have better ones than some of the exercises I made up for myself.

    P.S. You're welcome!
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    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Ah, Elaine! I am sorry to say the Fitness Blender search engine is not too helpful. I've mentioned their workouts to friends before, and then when they want to know a specific one, I can't find it again (there are quite literally HUNDREDS of workouts they've put up). Here is a link to A stretching workout. I am pretty sure this is NOT the workout I am remembering! But if I can find it in my YT history later, I'll update this post!



    In case the link doesn't work, a YouTube search should work if you search "
    Upper Body Active Stretch Workout - Arms, Shoulder, Chest, and Back Stretching Exercises"

    Oh! This might be the workout that I specifically was remembering doing! https://youtu.be/P8DOZRtIIEQ
    It says it's a cool down, but as someone comments, it "feels" more workout-like. But not by so much that it's tiring!

    No affiliation between me and Fitness Blender, by the way, although I admit I'm a frequent user of their stuff.
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    One exercise that has worked for me is to go on a walk or light jog right before the swim, making sure I've had enough to eat beforehand and I'm hydrating with water or an electrolyte drink frequently as I warm up. It's a really gentle exercise that helps me move without spending energy I need to swim and unlike static stretching you won't risk pulling a muscle or feeling tight. I take a 10 or 15min break after the walk and then go into my warm up swim and main sets immediately after. I read somewhere that in order to improve swimming technique and endurance, you must be swimming, but in regards to just warming your body up in preparation for a swim, it doesn't matter what type of light exercise you do. I've also noticed walking is a great motivator when I'm doing solo workouts because I end up at the gym a good half hour early for the sake of getting the walk in, and therefore if I'm running late one day it comes out of the walk not my actual time I have set for swimming, which is the part that really matters.

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Thanks, Solarizing. This reminds me that while the parking around my swim center is great, I COULD certainly park a bit farther away (it is a college campus swim center) and use a short walk as part of the warmup. It sure seems right to me, that improvements in swimming come from ... swimming! I have felt how specific to swimming, endurance and technique are! I have always enjoyed some kind of athletic movement (well, at least since college when I kind of "discovered" sports I can love), but swimming can be pretty humbling haha.
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


  8. #8
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Walking before a swim is a great way to get warmed up! How about trying some arm circles and streamlines with your arms while you walk? As long as you have the space to do it without clobbering somebody , it would provide additional loosening up of your arms and shoulders.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    I guess I don't understand the need to do other types of stretching before a workout. Just start your swimming workout with a good 15-20 minute warmup. To me it seems like actual swimming is the best warmup for harder swimming. If you have limited pool time available it makes sense to do some dry land warmup, otherwise I'd skip it and just get right into the pool.

  10. #10
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I guess I don't understand the need to do other types of stretching before a workout.
    You would understand it if you had my 55-year old body with the physical issues I had (mostly congenital)! Believe me, I have tried it your way several times, and those were the most miserable times I have had in the pool. In addition, as a breaststroker and flyer, between the breaststroke kick and fly pull, not warming up the way I do is a recipe for disaster. I must be very warmed up before I attempt either one, and the exercises I listed in my previous post go a long way to getting me there. I then swim a warm up of 500 free, gradually getting faster on each 100, followed by 8x50 of odds pull/ evens kick, IM order.

    The older you get, the more warm up you will need to get the synovial fluid working in your joints. Keep this in mind as you age.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    My shoulders hurt too if I don't warm up before I get in the pool... also my neck and back needs to get loosened up before doing a flip turn. I'm only in my mid-30s. I'm in such a hurry to start swimming especially when the water feels chilly that I want to take off right away.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    I was going to say I guess the only way to know for sure is try it both ways: use a pre-swim routine such as Elaine described, and also try a gradual swimming only warmup and see which one results in better results in the pool.

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    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    I think a lot of people out there swim too hard in their warm up or push the set distances too long. I strive for lots of variety in a swim warm up and find short easy repeats work better to get the kinks out than a longer interval of straight freestyle (although I will do both). Donít be afraid to do 50ís or even 25ís as you start moving. Easy 25ís, not hard ones. I also like 75ís of 25kick, 25Drill, 25Swim during warm up. Keeps things changing and moving so youíre not stuck in one swim motion too long and you might have better results warming up in the pool.

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post

    The older you get, the more warm up you will need to get the synovial fluid working in your joints. Keep this in mind as you age.
    And, take it from me as well -- I'm even older than Elaine. Warmup movements help me in other types of fitness activities. I have not been doing anything before I get in and swim, but, I want to try some stretching and walking because I suspect it will help, among other things, to work out my trouble with breathing. I think getting warmed up affects how my body uses oxygen. So, it isn't (all) about just muscles getting unkinked.
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by m2tall2 View Post
    I think a lot of people out there swim too hard in their warm up or push the set distances too long.
    Great point! I think it is a lot easier for a beginner to "push too hard," too. What would be a warmup for another swimmer is, when you're still starting out, fairly challenging. I also think doing some landbased movement will let me focus on doing better technique, being able to focus more on my strokes and counts and so on, because my body should already be ready for swimming movement.
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by f1refl1es! View Post
    I think getting warmed up affects how my body uses oxygen.
    I think it does too. Most of my workouts are done in the afternoon after I leave work. I swim with a kids team and they start at 4:00. I can't get there till 4:30, so I miss the proper warmup. I try to start out easy, but sometimes it's difficult due to the set the team is in the middle of when I join. I find that if I just get in and start swimming full speed it really affects me for the rest of the workout. I get gassed and never feel quite right.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    I've never tried any type of drylands before a meet and only a handful of times before practice, so I don't have an opinion, except: do whatever turns you on. W/ups may not have the same impact from one person to another.

    I do know that whenever I first start swimming, as I reach about 100 yards, I start to tighten up and feel like I'm struggling, until I reach about 150 yards, and then I begin to loosen up. This does not happen between sets or events after I've warmed up; it only seems to occur when I first start to swim. I believe it is my body adjusting oxygen intake to lactic acid production, as I move from the initial anaerobic energy zone and into the aerobic zone. Swimming over 200 yards in a warm up is therefore important for me.

    I also like to get in 600+ yards for warn up at meets and swim some fast 25s or 50s. Our team practices usually assign 1,000 to 1,500 in various sets or rarely straight - that 's plenty for me.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go raciní in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Active Member f1refl1es!'s Avatar
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    Re: Warming up, before the warmup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz View Post
    I do know that whenever I first start swimming, as I reach about 100 yards, I start to tighten up and feel like I'm struggling, until I reach about 150 yards, and then I begin to loosen up. This does not happen between sets or events after I've warmed up; it only seems to occur when I first start to swim. I believe it is my body adjusting oxygen intake to lactic acid production, as I move from the initial anaerobic energy zone and into the aerobic zone. Swimming over 200 yards in a warm up is therefore important for me.
    YES! I noticed this phenomenon in my own life, while running distance. I'd feel pretty crummy right near the start of a run, but then I'd keep going and realize I was feeling pretty good.

    I agree that for each individual, these things will probably vary.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    Just enjoying swimming for fitness and relaxation, in Maryland


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