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Thread: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

  1. #1
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    Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    I've (M55) started adding gym twice a week (evenings) to my regular early morning swim sessions. I do a session based loosely around the jason lezak video (https://www.bodybuilding.com/content...-swimmers.html) with some core work and pressups. The full session including stretching takes about one hour twenty minutes. I'm usually knackered after it.

    I'm still pretty tired the following day and DOMS kicking in on the second day, so consequently my pool work isn't at the same level it would normally be, think less of USRPT and more long distance plod at an easy pace.

    So, my question is how do people strike a balance? I imagine swimming is the best exercise for swimming, so am I being counterproductive by doing gym work, if my swim training suffers?

    I realise I'm not 16 anymore, but I was never very strong, so I feel that the extra strength from gym work should be beneficial. I'm a middle distance freestyler if that make any difference. My morning swim sessions are around 90 mins.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    howdy!
    you wrote a lot, but didnt say much.
    you swim for 90min, but what do you do? how far do you go? what type of sets and intervals?

    as far as balance goes...i dont have one. probably ... nope...exactly why i tore up my shoulder ... both times.
    about the only time i dont push is when ive had surgery and am in recovery....well until i get the greenish light to work it up again.
    i like how my shoulder doc will say..."steve what i would like is for you to take 3 weeks off...now since we both know you wont...how about"

    honestly you need both
    if *i* had to give one up well it has to be weights.
    i mean its simple...not swimming is NOT swimming

    steve 53ish

  3. #3
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    I didnt think it was particularly relevant what i did for the morning sessions, but since you asked: about 4-5K ish, depending on the set. I try and do mainly USRPT stuff, 3 sets per session ( I dont always make it) Usually 50's at a 400 - 800 pace free, a "rest" stroke 25's at 100 pace, to accomodate the non freestylers in the lane, and finish with 25's at 100 free pace. Most people say the sets are brutal. They are probably right.
    On the tired days, its something like 10x400, maybe with paddles, at an easy pace - 30 secs rest.

    btw, I dont have shoulder issues. I put that down to pressups. I believe whatever imbalance people have in their strokes that may cause shoulder issues, the preventative medicine is pressups. cheap and easy to do ;-)

  4. #4
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    One day a week try a HIIT workout and if you do it right (only about 20 mins) it will take you a week to recover, the rest of that hour I do starts and turns to take it easy on the shoulders. I do a regular swim workout the other 4 days of the week. I still get tired but not overly tired and I'm raring to go after 2 days rest.

  5. #5
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    Quote Originally Posted by DellBoy View Post
    So, my question is how do people strike a balance? I imagine swimming is the best exercise for swimming, so am I being counterproductive by doing gym work, if my swim training suffers.
    Excellent question! Doesn't this depend on your goals?
    FWIW I'm a similar age and a few years ago started doing regular gym work (some HI interval training and some strength) twice a week - supplementing 3-4 swims per week. It kicked the c**p out of me. I swam slower in training and had a hard time recovering enough to do quality swimming. However, over time, I think the gym work has helped me be a bit more resilient (eg in multi-day swim meets). There's no counterfactual to compare on speed but I may be slowing down more slowly than I otherwise would. My goal from the gym work was to try to stay in the game ie compete at a reasonable level into my 60s and hopefully beyond. I think the gym work is helping. Plus I enjoy the change and new challenge.
    So my answer to your question is that it may slow you down a bit in the short term, but could pay longer term dividends. But to swim fast, you will probably need to rest from the gym work from time to time and make sure you get quality work in the pool. You might also want to experiment with a cyclic approach - eg three weeks of gym work followed by a week without in a mesocycle. Good luck and have fun with it

  6. #6
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    I find that 3 days of swim with 3 days of gym/weights & cardio works for me.
    Keep at doing both in any sequence that works for you.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Redbird Alum's Avatar
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    Some strength training is always beneficial to your swimming. I'm not a max weight kind of guy, preferring reps at lower weights and plenty of body weight work. Make sure you ensue you stretch before and after both weights and swimming.


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    Very Active Member Celestial's Avatar
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    Im wondering the same thing. I have osteoporosis, so I know I need to do weights, but Id also like to rest my wee arms a bit for a couple of meets this year, and Im worried that if I stop the weights for 2-3 months, I will never be strong enough to lift that much again. (F60)

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Swim vs gym - striking a balance

    Close to same age (52). I do 2x a week weight-lifting heavy and 4x a week swimming. Never on the same day. I discovered that if I try to lift after swimming (I swim mornings and lift afternoons) I couldn't lift anything upper body.

    FWIW, I started this due to an issue I had with lower back pain in marathon swims. I'm no podium placer; my 10K average is around 4 hours. I'm a plodder. So I can't say the lifting has improved my marathons, BUT it sure has taken care of my lower back. I can go long w/o back pain now. Longest I've gone straight is now in the 7+ hour range. All due to lifting. Plus the lifting had "tightened" my body up that my wife is very complimentary, which sure makes me happy.

    Frankly, so many studies have shown that lifting is great for us past the half-century mark that that alone is a reason to do some weight-bearing exercise.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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