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Thread: Swimming for muscle mass

  1. #1
    Participating Member NicerDicer's Avatar
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    Swimming for muscle mass

    Hi Folks!

    First of all a little bit about me:
    - I've been lifting weights for 7 years
    - I have a degree in Sportsmanagement as well as numerous certifications for personal training, body pump etc.
    - Im a Jiu Jitsu instructor before bodybuilding and swimming
    - My left elbow has arthirtis, I got a pretty big bone spur in my right knee and i have a bulged disc between my shoulder blades... Im 23 years old lol

    Im pretty beat up for my age, so are the colleagues that I run our martial arts school with. I've been looking for a a way to build muscle without recking my joints any longer. I was also rather enthusiastic about swimming in my younger less athletic years. I want to start swimming and keep/build the muscle that I built over the years.

    I know that you need progressive overload and calories to build muscle etc...

    Do you guys think I could have a jacked body if I:
    - wear a weight vest whilst doing sprints with different strokes?
    - use a swim buoy
    - wear ankle and/or wrist weights whilst doing sprints
    - wear loose clothing whilst doing sprint
    - use a kick boad
    - or any combination of the above to increase progressive overload?

    From what I could gather ankle/wrist weights and weight vests are rather dangerous for joint health and Ive also read that they dont properly "drag" you in the correct direction which causes improper technique.

    So what do you expereienced people think? Or do you have any other ideas how I could give my muscles more workload in the water?

    PS:
    Im willing to sacrifice SOME muscle mass if I can train hard without injury.

    Cheers,

    Yoshi

  2. #2
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    I see the age groupers drag buckets with holes drilled into them for some swim drills, resistance bands for more of a load, sprinting a length jumping out for push ups, another length then using a 45 plate for front delt work and workouts like this. I'm older and find just changing my workout can cause muscle soreness that I used to get while lifting weights. There a plenty of workouts that pyramid(progressive overload) as you get stronger increase distance or increase the speed or shorten breaks and just keep continuing until its time to do more. Plenty of challenging sets for most people right here on this site. Oh yeah and if you keep on another 59 years you might have a jacked body of the 82 yr old I saw at the Dixie Zone in Nashville that swam around a 4 minute 200fly. He was ripped. Or the 91 yr old who I saw swim a 400IM and a 200fly, great shape and body to go with it or maybe the lady who broke a world record there, I did not look at her body cause my wife is ok with me swimming but not gawking at other women! Keep swimming Yoshi.

  3. #3
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    Do you guys think I could have a jacked body if I:
    - wear a weight vest whilst doing sprints with different strokes?
    - wear ankle and/or wrist weights whilst doing sprints
    Unless you are an expert swimmer, NO. Weights + swimming = sinking (or worse). There are some advanced drills using weights such as vertical kicking while holding weights, but there are other ways to increase resistance.

    - wear loose clothing whilst doing sprint
    This is a good way to increase resistance while swimming. Also drag suits and drag chutes are good training tools. However these tools become more effective for swimmers with good to great technique. If you are a beginner to intermediate swimmer, then just swimming should provide enough resistance training.

    - use a kickboard - use a swim buoy
    Both are good training tools, along with swim fins and swim paddles.

    However, if your goal is a jacked body, then swimming is probably not how you will accomplish this. Swimming will help with flexibility, endurance, cardiovascular and core strength. But it won’t get you “a jacked body”. If this is what you want then stick to weightlifting. If you are looking for a sustainable low injury sport (“train hard without injury”) to stay fit, then yes, add swimming to your exercise program.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

  4. #4
    Participating Member NicerDicer's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    Hey Rob!

    Thanks for the detailed reply! What do you think about swimming with pads/buoy in conjunction with a drag suit? That will surely be hard on my muscles?

    Cheers

  5. #5
    Participating Member NicerDicer's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    Hey Rob!

    Thanks for the detailed reply!

    What do you think about swimming with a buoy, paddels and a drag suit all at once? Do you think that would create enough muscle tear for growth?

    Cheers,

    Yoshi

  6. #6
    Participating Member NicerDicer's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Unless you are an expert swimmer, NO. Weights + swimming = sinking (or worse). There are some advanced drills using weights such as vertical kicking while holding weights, but there are other ways to increase resistance.


    This is a good way to increase resistance while swimming. Also drag suits and drag chutes are good training tools. However these tools become more effective for swimmers with good to great technique. If you are a beginner to intermediate swimmer, then just swimming should provide enough resistance training.


    Both are good training tools, along with swim fins and swim paddles.

    However, if your goal is a jacked body, then swimming is probably not how you will accomplish this. Swimming will help with flexibility, endurance, cardiovascular and core strength. But it won’t get you “a jacked body”. If this is what you want then stick to weightlifting. If you are looking for a sustainable low injury sport (“train hard without injury”) to stay fit, then yes, add swimming to your exercise program.
    ..

  7. #7
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming for muscle mass

    There are a couple of ways to increase the resistance with paddles and a pullbuoy. One is to increase your drag, with a drag suit or chute. The other is to increase pulling surface with larger paddles.

    My caution with larger paddles (and to a lesser extent drag chutes) is that technique is important. Just like with lifting, most injuries come from poor technique. Poor pulling technique can cause rotator cuff impingements and tears. Work with a coach to perfect your technique.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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