Swim……for the Win!
By Coach Hollie
Swimming is a great thing for people to use in their CrossFit training due to a number of reasons.
1) It is an all over body workout. You use arms, legs, back and core all at once.
2) It is low impact. So if you have an injury or something that has been nagging, it is a great thing for you to do as there is little impact on the joints and you are supported by the water.
3) It is amazing for cardiovascular development. Your lung capacity will increase and your endurance and stamina will increase. It will also teach you better breath control which you can then apply to your training “on land”!
4) It is good for muscular endurance. Your shoulders, legs and core do A LOT when swimming so their ability to cope with repetitive intensity will improve.
5) It is also a great thing to do as an active recovery on your “rest” days as there is low impact on the body and you can just do it gently rather than at high intensity.
If you want to get into swimming but maybe are too scared or feel like you don’t know the technique or have never had lessons, it’s never too late to learn! There are loads of opportunities for adults to learn how to swim, to improve what they already know, or to get back into the water after not having done it for years.
Check out area swimming pools for hours and different offerings. The YWCA here in Lubbock always offers inexpensive memberships and early swim times. Often times aquatic centers or pools will have adult classes for beginners or masters training sessions for those who already know how to swim. If you would rather it be a private session, there are plenty of private classes or lessons that can be set up. We have trainers that would love to help you out!
Outside of pool swims, there are options for open water swims that create a much different type of swim training. Performing open water swims requires a different type of mental toughness. When we swim in the lake or ocean, we may or may not be aware of the depth below. The water may be cold and there may be waves or currents that we have to battle along with swimming to a target instead of following a black line on the bottom of the pool. Not being able to see the bottom (or 2 feet in front of you) affects our mind with a crushing kind of ancient and primal fear. Maybe you can see the bottom in a clear ocean that will also cause you to conjure up all kinds of things in your mind while you swim. You must control this fear as you swim, diminish it with your confidence and pride in your own physical ability. To be aggressive doesn’t work. It will put you into a panic, affect your breathing and may get you into trouble. This is one of the hardest things to control along with staying afloat, moving toward your target. Open water swimming builds muscular strength and endurance in it’s own unique way. A decent swim in an ocean, lake or river will act as a great strength and conditioning workout for your entire body, especially your core, back and shoulders.
This will also have positive effects on related lifts and exercises in CrossFit. Try testing your max number of pull ups after a series of open water training swims (in freestyle) – I bet it increases.
Enjoy your time in the pool and use it to help you be a better CrossFitter!