Building Endurance for Swimming – Get Started With Swimming Lessons For Wallen Swim School in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, CA
It’s no secret that swimming is a great exercise and that it’s a total body workout. It’s also very accessible, relatively inexpensive, and the type of training you can take anywhere. If you are already a lap swimmer, you may find yourself always swimming the same number of laps each time you swim, and in the same amount of time. Or, you may be wondering how other swimmers do not seem to hit the exhaustion wall as soon as you do. The following will provide you with some great takeaways for your next swim; consider them as a call to action that will improve your swimming endurance and give your swim workout a much-needed overhaul. Be sure to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor before beginning or changing your activities.
Let’s discuss what is meant by endurance.
The American Heart Association states that endurance and strength, balance, and flexibility are recommended as parts of a complete and healthy workout. The AHA also recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous activity per week. It’s easy to break this down to just 30 minutes, five days a week. Endurance, also known as stamina, while exercising, refers to how long your body can complete the activity in the correct form before reaching complete exhaustion. To become fitter, we must continually push our bodies to resist the fatigue that comes from exercise.
One Fundamental Rule
If you want to build your swimming endurance, you must swim, and swim often. Many multi-sport athletes expect an easy transition of their high level of fitness to the water, but this is not backed by science. Swimming is more demanding on your body’s store of energy because of the resistance of the water. To be a great swimmer with loads of endurance, you must learn how to swim correctly to be as efficient as possible, with as little drag as possible. You must also have a high level of anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
Anaerobic Endurance (ATP-CP system and Lactic Acid System)
Anaerobic exercise occurs at a high intensity, and the body is producing energy without oxygen. Think of a quick dive into the water, followed by a sprint swim at your fastest pace to the other end of the pool. Anaerobic exercise is further broken down into two different processes that are beyond the scope of this blog. Suffice it to say that while you are training to build your swimming endurance, keep your exercise intensity in mind, relative to your fitness level and goals.
Aerobic exercise is defined as one that lasts for at least a few minutes and occurs when the body produces energy using oxygen. If you are swimming at a steady rate for over two minutes, you are exercising aerobically.
During your swims, it is likely that you will draw on all three energy systems, and it’s a great idea to train and practice at varying intensity levels to build your overall endurance.
Consider these tips:
#1. Master Your Stroke Mechanics
If you are swimming with poor, or less than optimal, stroke mechanics, a great deal of your energy is likely being wasted on overcoming drag. Building your endurance while swimming incorrectly will not be the best use of your time. Invest in yourself wisely, take advantage of a swim clinic, and swim lessons to get your stroke mechanics efficient. Then, you can begin to build your swim endurance on a strong foundation.
#2. Slow and Steady
Before you get to the pool, write up your game plan, reflecting your goals. Think about your objectives, what it is that you want to get out of your swimming. This might mean a regular, consistent cardiovascular workout or a competition. When developing your goals, be sure to create some short-term and longer-term goals. Be realistic about your goals; reaching a goal is fulfilling, and once reached, it’s time to build a new plan! Remember that building your endurance is a long term goal and will take time and dedication.
#3. Hit the Gym
Yes, you do need to get out of the pool to maximize your efforts. By adding different types of exercise, or cross-training, you can support your efforts to become a healthier, more efficient swimmer. Many muscles are crucial to being a strong swimmer, but most of us can benefit from strength and resistance training in the gym. If you are unsure about where your muscle imbalances are (you likely have them), consider a personal trainer or kinesiologist’s services. Having a body that has balanced muscles will reduce the risk of injury. Swimming typically works the chest, back, arms, and leg muscles but neglects the deeper postural and stabilizing muscles found in the pelvis, hips, and spine.
Swim a length or lap as fast as you can (push yourself). Catch your breath with either a work rest (swim slowly) or a total rest (just hang onto the pool deck). Refer to the goals you have developed, and take pride in your ability to complete more and more sprints as your endurance improves. There are many sprint workouts available online, or you can take advantage of joining a swim clinic, master’s swim club, or taking a private or semi-private lesson.
#5. Interval Training
Interval training, whether biking, running, or swimming, is a fantastic way to build your endurance. Try intervals with varying levels of intensity and either active rest or full rest. If you are doing intervals with total rest, try this training with a rest period equal to your work period (e.g., 5 minutes swimming, 5 minutes of rest) then gradually reduce the rest period in small increments. It’s also helpful to think about how many lengths or laps you are doing before you rest. Try swimming steady pace repetitions, with rest periods in between. Then, increase the distance of each repetition with the same amount of rest.
#6. Give Yourself a Break
Building endurance takes time, and while it may feel frustrating at times, every stroke is providing your body with the exercise it needs. So, while you might not yet be at the race level, you live a healthy lifestyle every time you swim.
Get Started With A Swim Clinic At Wallen Swim School Today!
Visit Steve Wallen Swim School in El Dorado Hills or Roseville and sign up for one of our highly productive swim clinics, which will improve your efficiency and build your endurance!