Thursday, August 15, 2013

Triathlon - Swim Efficiency Tips (Progression)

When you tell someone that you "do" triathlons I think the first thing they ask is "Why?" and then the second thing they say is "I could do the bike and the run, but that swim would be rough." Even if you were to ask the majority of triathletes they'll tell you that the swim is their least favorite of the three disciplines. I don't think this should come to anyone's surprise. Let's be honest, swimming is probably the most technical sport out there (yes even more so than running) and the fact that your typically surrounded by at least thirty other bodies (hundreds if its an Ironman event) claustrophobia anyone?

When you train for a sport it involves progression. Not just a progression to more difficult distances or CrossFit WOD levels, but a progression of skill sets. Before entering CrossFit, I wouldn't have though of it that way, but the fact is this type of training (if you're doing it correctly) always exposes your weaknesses. I think that's where traditional models might lack. There is less of an emphasis on what you suck at. I know that in order to achieve the most difficult goal I've set in front of me I'll have to improve the skill. It's weird saying that. Wouldn't you think it just takes more hard work? more time? The health and fitness community would say so. I think we're been programmed that way. That's why when you throw someone into their first few months of CrossFit they believe the prescribed workout is where they should immediately be. Again, I'm not saying everyone, but seriously this is how the world wants us to think. More is better. There will come a point in every athlete's career, whether it's Basketball, Tennis, CrossFit or Triathlon where they finally realize its a progression of skills. Cardiovascular endurance and strength are totally sexy, I get it, but they can only take us so far. Hardware components are needed, but software makes the system improve its wires so that the hardware can be more efficient. Looking at the skill is what it will take.

That hurts doesn't it? You can't just run or lift more ... ouch. Are we okay? I've dealt with this issue plenty of times and I think for any dedicated athlete it will always come up. Simply believe in your programming. Believe in the skills. Too often do we forget that this is the answer that will lead us to achieving our goals. Mine included.

Scared of the water or just looking to be more efficient here are some quick tips!

Position 
- Get as long as possible in the water
- Stretch yourself out, think taller
- Knuckles need to stay out in front
- Keep a straight neck always inline with your spine
- Think "laser pointer" on the reach out, think straighter

Breathing 
- Stop holding your breath, always make sure to exhale in the water
- Air should be headed OUT in the water and IN out of the water
- Work on both sides, 3-5-7 depending on the intensity

To get to the next level you'll need a swim coach. Just like a high quality bike fit this is what it will take to have strong technique in the water. Video feedback is key.

A quick note about training ... Don't be scared to mix your CrossFit in with the pool. Bodyweight exercises and lap swimming will crush even the most seasoned athlete. Youtube's got plenty of legit clips to show you how to program something.

1 comment:

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