Getting back into the pool

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2007 5:31 PM GMT
    Hi all,

    I have recently made a return to the pool after 5 years. In my peak, I swam up to 30k m a day. (god love three a day workouts). I have no expectations to be in the same shape as I was in my late teens, but I do think I could get slam out some pretty good times and get into competition again.

    The past two years I have been heavyinto lifting weights - which is something I was never very serious about when I swam. I now find that my muscles cramp easily and fatique while I am swimming. I definately feel strong in the water, but my endurance is shot and my shoulders get so tight, I often have to stop.

    I always thought I could jump back in and retrain based on muscle memory. My fear is that I have lost and regained so much muscle that I have trained my body in an entirely new direction.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get that long flexible muscle memory back? Should I keep on training in baby steps, increase my stretching, ease off on lifting?

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    Dec 28, 2007 3:46 AM GMT
    I've taken several layoffs over the years, and it is always tough starting back. Lifting muscles are not the same as swimming muscles. Once you redevelop some key swimming muscles you can take advantage of your overall strength. When I start back, soreness progresses through different areas over a period of weeks. First the outside of my shoulders hurt, then my back between my shoulder blades, and then my core. It seems one area has to get stronger before I can really engage the others. It just takes time. You do need to be careful with your shoulders. I would cut back on the weights for a while in that area with the exception of rotator cuff exercises.

    With your background, I think your stroke should come back pretty easily. If you put on mass from lifting, especially in the upper body, you will have to deal with increased drag, which will feel awkward at first. I would suggest that you swim for a few weeks on your own and get through the initial soreness, and then go to a masters practice and ask the coach to look at your stroke.

    At your age and with your experience, I think you can come back quickly and swim well at IGLA. Hope to see you there.
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    Dec 28, 2007 4:20 PM GMT
    Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    I am definately feeling the soreness in my shoulders. I have had rotator cuff problems from swimming in the past and find the same true with lifting. I will make time to strengthen them. I think I might also cut back my lifting days to three times a week and supplement with core and flexibility training. I thought pilates might be a good way to stretch me out and gain core strength.

    My stroke feels pretty good, all things considered. But it has been a while sine I had a good stroke clinic under my belt. Might be a good idea.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Dec 28, 2007 4:35 PM GMT
    yes.. baby steps is a great idea. i would suggest doing stretch cords and pull ups instead of weights for awhile. and pilates is the best!!!! pilates has taught me how to keep my shoulders down when swimming, you get way more power. if you want to be sports specific strengthening, use an ankle band, by it's self, then with pool buoy, paddles. mix it up. keep the intensity mellow and sets short at first 50's 100's, you can do longer sets if you use the pool buoy and band, don't blow up your shoulders. you can make an ankle band out bike intertube, double it up and tie a knot, if its a skinny road one or use a mountain bike tube.

    check out, they have clinics all over and a dvd out.
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    Dec 28, 2007 5:44 PM GMT
    Oh lord. bands and buoys. Having flashbacks of me with a 5 gallon bucky tied to my waist toing longcourse T30s....

    I think changing my range of motion in lifting will help and pilates will be key.

    I will check out that site. Thanks.