Discussion in 'Training, Fitness and Health' started by zimzum42, 5 Feb 2008.

  1. zimzum42

    zimzum42 Legendary Member

    I'm not able to ride the bike out here in Lebanon, so am going swimming instead.

    I manage to go at least once a week, sometimes twice.

    I've never been a very good swimmer, but I know it's giving me good exercise.

    The question is, how many lengths (of a 25m pool) constitute a good workout? Should I be mixing up the different strokes? Should I be constantly swimming or is it OK to stop for a breather after every couple of lengths?

    Any other tips on swimming as a fitness tool would be appreciated
  2. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Behind a desk
    First of all, get some lessons from a trainer. It will make a huge difference. Then look up some triathlon websites for tips on structuring your training - intervals, stroke exercises, isolating different parts of the body.

    FWIW, when I was training for triathlons I'd swim a 1500 meter session once a week, and another shorter session. It would be in intervals and different exercises. I eventually got my stroke-count-per-length down from about 30 strokes (ie moving less than one metre per stroke) to about 8-10 strokes, in a 25 metre pool.
  3. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    I'm no expert but I started swimmong about month ago and tried for at least twice a week although I cycled there and back ( about 20 miles. ) I took some instruction on proper breast stroke which althogh the slowest uses up max calories and allows max joint fexibility. I started off being knackered after about 2 lengths but after the instruction I'm up to 12/15 with the ocasional break. Even after only a month I feel much better and I'm sure my cycling has improved. Hope this helps - not sure what stroke u use but look into the "alexander method" .
  4. longers

    longers Veteran

    Different people will have different capabilities based on their technique, fitness and boredom threshold.
    What's a good session for one is not enough for another.

    It doesn't matter how short or far you go, as long as you keep improving or are moving toward the goals you want to reach.

    I did a fair few lengths when younger and training sessions were always structured around intervals ranging from 10 by 50 metres through to 8 by 400 metres and any combination inbetween. Stopping for a breather was always part of the training as after the breather we were expected to push it again for the next set. This will get you fitter quicker than simply doing a lot of lengths in one go in my opinion.

    Do a nice few lengths warm up then:-

    See how long it takes you to do two lengths add 15 seconds and repeat 5 times setting off after the same period each time. Have a potter up and down for a couple of lengths and then do maybe 4 lengths four times with a breather in between. Keep splitting your pooltime up into chunks and it should help you improve quickly and stop getting bored. Swap between strokes as you want throughout but try to keep the same stroke for each set of sets. Vary the sessions and gradually increase the pace and distance over time.

    Have a nice leisurely couple of lengths to warm down at least.

    Twentyinch's advice about seeing a trainer was spot on, if possible, as stroke and technique are critical to getting the most out of your swimming.
    the_mikey likes this.
  5. longers

    longers Veteran

    Another thing I always try and do if the pool is unlaned is get to one side of the pool or the other as you get less interference from other swimmers and I can swim in a straight line.
  6. catwoman

    catwoman Well-Known Member

    North London.
    I have been a swimmer on and off for many years. It's a great form of exercise in that you are weightless and not likely to strain anything. You certainly won't acquire impact injuries.
    I haven't had the benefit of any professional training so I tend to go to the lane swimming sessions and I swim for at leat half an hour non-stop. I usually do 50 lengths of a 25m pool in that time when fit. That's a good workout for me.
    People often comment on the boredom factor but I find it almost like a meditation. Good for the body and the spirit. ;)
  7. mr Mag00

    mr Mag00 rising member

    Deepest Dorset
    just dont forget you are exercising and as such need to keep drink fluids when you finish
    the_mikey likes this.
  8. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    Yesterday I did 30 lengths of a 25m pool. Today I did 32 lengths of the same pool. I am aching a bit today. Not as strenuous as a bike ride, but certainly still a workout - especially upper body as compared to the bike. For me, at any rate.

    Thing is, I've never been taught to swim, as such. When all my classmates were having lessons at school, I had veruccas and wasn't allowed in the pool. So my swimming style is err.. unique, most likely, and not exactly efficient. I'm certainly not confident or fast in the water, but I can sedately do a few lengths.
  9. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    You could try to swim 1 length of front crawl and then 1 length of breststroke using the breaststoke as the relax leg until you can up the front crawl lengths.

    I found this worked for me and many moons ago pre children when I had more me time I used to swim 5 mornings a week I used to be able to get in 64 lengths each day just within the hour mark.

    Just stick with it and you will find the distance will soon increase and become easier.
  10. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    FWIT The bloke who is teaching me said that breast stroke ( when done properly presumably) uses up more calories than any other - whether that means its the least efficient I'm unsure - I use it cos its the only one that stops me sinking.....
  11. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    Breast stroke is not very good for your knees tho (or your back as a matter of fact), especially if you have not had any training how to do it properly. I remember when I was a swimmer as a child we were not allowed to swim to much breast stroke as it was really bad for developing joints, but even on adult knees it causes quite a lot of strain. Backstroke on the other hand is very good...( so is butterfly, but again only if you know what you are doing)
  12. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    Thought I'd resurrect this thread, since there isn't one on swimming in the first few pages...

    I just got back in the pool for the first time in a few months because I've had to ease up on the running for a while. I was dreading it, but it was excellent. Just 40 lengths (1km), and I took it easy, so 30 minutes or thereabouts, but it felt like I was remembering what to do roughly right. Stroke count 21 however, so clearly I've got to work on technique (again...).
    zimzum42 likes this.
  13. Tdotol

    Tdotol New Member

    For a long time, swimming was the only exercise I did (breaststroke only) and I felt it made a big difference to my fitness. Never had any training for technique, but find that 1000m+ provides a good workout. I do it all in one go without stopping for a breather, alternating periods of swimming as fast as I can followed by about 50-75% of my maximum.
  14. Born2die

    Born2die Well-Known Member

    As I do triathlons I try to swim 3 days a week 64 lengths of a 25mtr pool (about a mile) i either just freestyle it in one or break it up into 16 full stroke then 10 with a kick board between my legs to work on my arm stroke and build shoulder muscle. The 10 working on my kick then back to 16 full stroke then 10 done as 1 Minuit mini sessions (ie up the pool as fast as you can then rest till the minuites up then back down etc the faster you swim the greater the rest) then cool down for 4/8 lengths.

    And I recommend some headphones I use some sonys put on a talking book and get on with scaring the old lady's who only breast stroke at a snails pace
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