Tag: pool

Swimming Circuit

Below is one of my favorite exercises in the pool because it is quick paced, but has a lot of variation in stroke. The individual medley was one of my favorite and best races; therefore I still like to practice all of my strokes when climbing in the pool for a workout. Freestyle is the most commonly used stroke, which is why I chose it as an individual set as well. It is important to practice the different components of a stroke, so adding kicks, pulls, and paddles into a workout is a huge advantage.

Warm up: 200 Freestyle

Exercise:
Set one:

  • 80 Kick
  • 100 Paddle
  • 140 Pull
  • 180 swim
  • X3 (rest for 60 seconds between each set)

Set two:

  • 40 Fly
  • 40 Back
  • 40 Breast-stroke
  • 40 Free
  • X3 (rest for 45 seconds between each set, 15 seconds between each stroke)

Cool Down: 200 Freestyle (easy)

Try this swimming workout today and let me know how it goes. If you have any questions please contact swim instructor and personal fitness trainer Amber Gruger.

Tips for sharing lanes in the pool

From the time we are babies we are taught to share. With this simple teaching the hope is as adults we continue to use this practice. This goes with so many different things in life.

You think “I need to get my laps in, I will go swimming today”. You head to the club. In the locker room you put on your swim suit and cap with goggles in hand you head to the pool after you have showered. You’re all ready to jump in and swim as you walk onto the pool deck you think to yourself “what’s this? All the lanes have someone in them!” There is a swim lesson in one lane, someone jogging in another lane and the other lanes have one person swimming. What do you do? Do you wait for a lane to open up? Do you get mad and leave?

There is a simple answer to those questions and leaving is not it. This is where the life long lesson of sharing comes into play. Watch the swimmers see who fits in with your level or speed of swimming. You can wait for them to stop and see you standing on the deck to ask them if they will share with you. You may think I don’t want to disturb someone’s pace; you can climb in making sure not to get in the way. Stand off to the side when they stop ask if they would like to swim circles or split the lane in half.

If you are the person swimming and see someone looking for a place to swim you can offer to share your lane with them. It is also possible to ask the jogger and lesson if they wouldn’t mind sharing a lane so you can swim laps.

Lap lanes can hold many people in them. If you leave :05 – :10 seconds between you and the person in front of you there will be plenty of room for a lot of people. If you were on swim team growing up you always shared lanes with possibly 10 or more people. It’s nice to have the pool or lane to yourself. Sometimes we get so used to it that the first thought is “What? My lane has someone in it.”

All in all there is plenty of room for everyone. All we need to do is SHARE.

Celebrate Your Right to Bare Arms This Summer

Tank tops, swim suits, strappy sundresses – warmer weather is just around the corner and that can send even the fittest women into a frenzy! Not only do you want to get your body in top, toned shape, but you also want to be ready for anything the season might toss your way.

Here’s a Pilates move that will give you shapelier arms, sexier shoulders, stronger back, and of course, strengthen your core. Perform this exercise at least 2-3 times a week and include it your regular total-body Pilates program and/or current fitness regime.

In no time, you’ll be able to “bare” it all; looking strong and sculpted in any sleeveless style the warm weather demands!

Pilates Push Up

  1. Stand tall with your heels against the back edge of the mat; toes turn out to the Pilates V.
  2. Keeping hips over heels; inhale; pull your navel into your spine and roll your torso down toward the mat. Place hands on the mat slightly more than shoulder width apart. (Knees can be slightly bent.)
  3. Exhale and walk your hands out onto the mat until your palms are beneath your shoulders and your heels over your toes. Your body will be in a Plank (or Push-Up) position – a straight line from head to ankles.
  4. Perform 3 Push-Ups with the elbows into the sides of the body. To come out of the Push-Up, fold up in half, bringing your chest toward your legs; pressing your palms and heels into the mat. Pull your navel in and give yourself a gentle stretch.
  5. Inhale, walk your hands back toward your feet; trying to keep your legs straight.
  6. Exhale, roll your body back up to a standing position and repeat 2 more sets.

For an advanced challenge, perform the entire Push-Up sequence while balancing on one leg. The same steps apply for the Single Leg Push-Up; remember to keep your leg lifted throughout the entire exercise; repeat the exercise on the other leg.

It’s never too late to learn to swim… better!

Learning to swim as an adult can be challenging for some more than others. We see people swimming around making it look easy and it is easy for them because they have been swimming their entire life or close to it. They have spent more hours in a swimming pool than you can imagine; playing, training for a swim meet, practicing water polo just a few of the many things that can be done in a swimming pool.

You’re an adult and think it’s time to learn how to swim. Make sure to have the proper gear. Find a swim suit that is comfortable and goggles that fit your eye size and shape, both should fit properly. If you have long hair a swim cap works better than a ponytail. It will actually keep your hair out of your eyes. Now, there are a lot of really good swim instructors waiting for you.

The first day you take the plunge you’ll be hooked; okay maybe not hooked. Let’s face it, it may take a few times to get comfortable and gain confidence in the water. With help the next thing you know ‘You will be one of those people making it look easy’.

Benefits of Swimming

1. Low Impact

  • Stress on joints is decreased by 90% in water
  • Even when your feet touch bottom there is les force on the body because of buoyancy
  • Great for rehab, arthritis, pregnancy, overweight, seniors….EVERYONE
  • Your body weight is 1/10 of what it would be on land.
  • It is the most injury-free sport there is

2. Builds Respiratory Fitness

  • A 12 week study showed an increase in oxygen consumption by 10% and an increase in stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped to the heart) increased by as much as 18%

3. Builds Muscle Mass

  • Muscle mass in the triceps increased by 23.8% in a 10 week study
  • All muscle groups are used

4. Alternative when injured

  • Maintains fitness levels
  • Aqua jogging
  • Because of the resistance, which is 12 times great than in air, of the water it makes the muscles works with out strain or impact like that on land

5. Calorie Burner

  • Swimming burns anywhere from 500-650 kcals per hour
  • In comparison to running it burns 11% fewer kcals and in comparison to cycling 3% fewer
  • However, this does not account for efficiency and for intensity….so the less efficient you are the more calories you burn
  • Be aware that heart rate decreased 10 beats per minute e in water and max heart rate decreased by 10-30 beats….it is believed this is due to the lower water temperature and the lesser pull of gravity in water.

6. Increases Lung Capacity

  • The need to hold your breath while swimming trains your lung capacity
  • This increases stamina and change heart rates
  • Great for asthma

7. Increases Flexibility

  • Increases mobility
  • The body is able to do stretches more easily than on land

8. Family Affair

  • The entire family can do it!
  • Everyone enjoys a day in the water…by the pool at the beach
  • It encourages health and fitness for the entire family

9. It is a lifetime Activity

  • Due to its low impact it can be done through all stages of life.
  • USMS- masters swimming…has age groups of 100-104!

10. It’s Relaxing

  • Water is soothing psychologically
  • There is a meditative quality about being able to just swim…float on your back
  • There is no noise and distraction of life on land

11. Improves Posture

  • Swimming strengthens your stabilizing muscles and works rotationally…therefore, strengthening your core and postural muscles

12. Lifesaving Skill

  • Swimming is a necessary life skill that everyone should possess
  • Open water, pool swimming, etc…

13. “YOU ARE A SWIMMER”

  • the fact that you can call yourself a swimmer is a reward in itself!

Swim Like a Chicken!

Well, not exactly but emulating a chicken’s neck (or a giraffe’s, or a turtle’s, or even *Tim Duncan’s) will help you swim farther and faster with less effort.

Here’s how:
Effective swimming requires an effective glide. The way to an effective glide is by creating a hydro-dynamic tube around your entire body that you can slip through with minimal effort. Of course getting to that effortless place requires a lot of effort … but you can do it. Really!

Look at a chicken (or a giraffe, or a turtle, or even Tim Duncan) and you’ll see that they all have really long necks. Moreover, they all have really flexible necks that can lengthen and shorten at will. They extend and contract through their cervical vertebrae which enable them to rotate in a greater radius with less effort and distortion to the rest of their bodies.

Look at your typical adult and you’ll see that their necks aren’t very flexible at all. This poses a special problem for swimming: in order to breathe effectively while swimming you need to be able to rotate your head independently from the rest of your body, and the only way to do that is by unlocking your neck, which means extending through the back of the your neck.
Here are some exercises to help you unlock your neck and extend it to an effective gliding posture. Try them before you start your next swim.

  • Stand tall and practice slowly rotating your head side to side
    • o First lead with your eyes
    • o Next lead with your nose
    • o Finally lead with your chin
  • Stand tall in front of a mirror (preferably full length)
    • Align your eyes to be horizontally level and your nose to be vertical like a T-Square.
    • Hold that position, engage your core, and rotate your body as far as possible without losing your head position.
  • Practice lengthening the back of your neck so that your chin naturally lowers a bit verses tucking your chin.
    • Do the same things in the water while practicing your initial push and glide off the wall and notice if you go in a straight line just below the surface of the water.
      • If you’re going deep toward the bottom, you are probably tucking your chin.
      • If you’re breaking the surface of the water too soon (i.e., before you intend to) then you are probably raising the back of your head.
      • If you’re not gliding very far at all you may be ‘riding the brake’ by looking forward.
      • If you’re holding a level line just below the surface of the water, your neck is probably in pretty good position.

So pick your goofy role model and have fun as you practice gliding!

* Before Tim Duncan became a Hall of Fame NBA Basketball player with a fist full of championship rings he was on track to becoming an Olympic swimmer.

If you have any questions about this post or training with Nathan, please feel free to send him an email.

You can never be too safe in the water

You can never be too safe when it comes to being in or on the water. Do you like to jump in the water off a dock, boat or cliff? Can you see the bottom? If the answers are yes and then no, then make sure you follow these safety techniques. Always look before you leap, you say “I’ve jumped or dove off of this dock or cliff before, I will be okay”. With the change in our waters from climate change, storms that brought in new debris or the time of year contribute to what dangers may lurk at the bottom of any water. First of all never dive or jump into unknown waters. Swim around the area you are planning to make the plunge in. Check it out for anything that may harm you. Make sure the water is deep enough compared to the height you are jumping from.

If you are jumping from any height be careful as to how you are going to land. If you hit water wrong it can feel like you just landed on cement and cause just as much damage. The best way to jump is cross your arms over your chest, cross your feet at the ankles keeping your legs straight and hold on tight. Once you hit the water open your arms and push down then kick. This will bring your back to the surface and you will be ready to go again! Have fun but be SAFE. Nothing can ruin a good time more than needing to have the paramedics come take you to the hospital or worse the morgue.

Water Safety

Do you consider yourself to be safe when you are on or near the water? Do you have the appropriate safety gear for any of your water activities? Are you on a boat; are there enough lifejackets for everyone on board? Are those lifejackets within arms reach? Do you have all children 12 and under wearing life jackets at all times while on the boat? 80% of all drowning victims in boating accidents were not wearing lifejackets.

These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you embark on your next boating or any type of water adventure.

What do you do if someone falls off of a dock and doesn’t know how to swim? Do you go in after them? Are you a good swimmer? Do you have any lifeguard training skills? The best way to help is to lie down on the dock reaching with your arm or leg if you cannot reach them that way take off your jacket or shirt if need be your pants get a good grip on one end and say grab my coat or arm. Don’t jump in and try to save them yourself. There have been to many times where either both people end up in trouble or the rescuer is the one that drowns. If you have an unopened large bag of chips can be tossed to the victim for them to float on. Then you can give them instructions how to get to shore.

Don’t take water (and water safety) for granted.

After many years of being a lifeguard at a near by lake it still surprises me of how many people take water for granted. As much fun as it is playing in and out of the water we must respect the ramifications as to the dangers it can impose. Did you know it only takes a teaspoon of water to drown?

Here is the account of one of many near drowning experiences that I have encountered in my career as a lifeguard.

My first day, hour, 15 minutes of being on the lifeguard stand at the lake I watched a mother place her toddler with her 3 year old sister in the water at the shore. Then the mother walked about 10 feet away from both children sat down facing the water but put a magazine in front of her face. This happened just after I made the announcement “all children 6 years of age and younger must have a parent within arms reach at all times”. Within only a couple of minutes the toddler tipped over, she tried to push herself up and drifted out further. I jumped off of the lifeguard chair and had the baby in my arms. The mother was still reading her magazine. She didn’t look up until I was calling her and the toddler started to cry. As I told the mother I tell all of you stay within arms reach at all times. This could have ended much differently in a couple of ways; I could have walked away with the toddler or she could have easily drowned. Either way it could have been a tragedy. Please don’t let this be you.

Lifeguarded swim areas are a great place to spend time. However; it is not a place to use free baby sitters. They have a lot to watch in order to keep you and your family safe.

For information on learning to swim, or improving your swimming, please contact Aquatics Instructor Kelli Zappert.

Swimming Faster… Tips from the Swim Fairy

If it were as simple as swinging a magic wand, I would wish the magical dust upon everyone. However, like many things, swimming faster requires work. Here are some tips to ensuring you swim faster, consider it magic dust!

  1. Frequency in swimming is key. Collegiate and National level swimmers train the most “time” of any other sport around (or darn near close to it). Why is this? Humans are land animals and to really get efficient in the water, you need to be in the water. For triathletes here is a rule of thumb for swimming frequency (times you get in the water each week).

    1-2 times per week: Swim maintenance. This is the minimum amount of time to be able to maintain your current fitness in the pool.
    3-4 times per week: This is where an athlete will see the biggest gains occur exponentially in their swim speed and technique.
    5+ times: The athlete will continue to see more gains in the pool but at a lesser rate exponentially. For the athlete REALLY aiming to improve then 5+ days a week is the way to go.

    *Remember frequency trumps duration!

  2. Consistency on a daily/weekly basis. Swimming is about consistency. If you swim 3 times a week one week and none the next you have lost the ever-so-talked-about “feel for the water”. It takes a whole other week of 3+ times in the water to get this natural “feel” back. The feel for the water is a term used to describe feeling a strong catch and feeling your body move strongly through the water. When you lose this feel you have a feeling of “weakness” in your stroke.

    *Swim regularly week, after week, after week!

  3. Swim with a purpose. Arrive at the pool with a workout, goal paces, goal times, and a plan. A typical workout should look similar to this:
    • Warm up
    • Drills
    • Main Set (with focus on strength, pacing, speed, recovery, or endurance)
    • Cool Down

    *Identify what your goal is for each session!

  4. Document. Document your training in your plan. Record paces, rest periods, and specific workout details. Swimming blindly (or training blindly) gives you no concrete evidence to see improvements. Throughout the years you may reference previous workouts, where you are at in your training plan, in order to ensure you are making progress in the right direction.

    *Record your data!

  5. Seek consistent swim lessons. Doing one swim lesson will help. But consistent guidance is important for success. Often swimmers will “over correct” their new form. By having a lesson set up 2-3 weeks apart then the correction can be made by the instructor before the new stroke become a bad habit. Filming (above and below) water is also super beneficial in making your stroke improvements.

    *Seek advice of an experienced swim instructor for swim and video analysis!

  6. Swim with a group. Masters swim classes, or swimming with teammates is not only more fun it helps you pace your swims better when swimming alongside those of equal ability and inch out that extra bit of speed once in a while that can be difficult to find on your own.

    *Swim with friends!

Post these reminders in a place you see often and make sure you are practicing all your magical tips!