Swimming training

13 years 2 months ago #2463 by garykroukamp
Can anyone give me some advice on swimming as cross training for paddling. Specifically what drills are recommended.

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13 years 2 months ago - 13 years 2 months ago #2466 by DaveC
Replied by DaveC on topic Re:Swimming training
Swimming and paddling are complementary to each other. I swam for years and competed nationally in Masters swimming before I took up paddling. I find I go as quick now in the pool as I did a few years ago with less time and effort. The best example of this is Steve Ferguson, son of the legendary Ferg, 4x Olympian gold medal paddler. Steve was the NZ national breaststroke champion and then decided to take up paddling like his old man. His progress in kayak racing was that much quicker because of his aerobic capacity and strength gained from swimming. He then made a quick foray back into swimming at the Nationals a couple of years ago, using largely his additional strength gained from paddling, with little pool time to speak of. Recently, Steve made two kayak finals in the Beijing Olympics.

So what does swimming give you that paddling doesn't, and what should you do in the pool? Apart from strength and fitness, speed in both swimming and paddling is also dependant of technique and flexibility. Probably more so in swimming. So your initial focus in swimming should be to get coached so that you move efficiently through the water. You should also do regular Yoga/stretching so that you breath better and have a better catch of the water (so that you go faster). The added flexibility will help your paddling and if you haven't already had technique lessons in paddling, then you certainly should. Probably the best thing that swimming does for a paddler is that it trains your body to go into the hurtbox of exercising with restricted oxygen. This has a positive impact over time on your VO2 max and lactate tolerance and your ability to race a ski for miles at a higher steady state than before. I'm a big fan of doing lengths underwater with fins on which certainly helps build this capacity.

Given you don't use your legs very much in paddling (compared to rowing) you should also look at pounding out the lenghts using a pull buoy and paddles [in addition to normal swimming]. The paddles require extra effort and directly help you strength-wise for paddling (and vice versa). I'd also recommend you join a swim squad with a structured programme to work to, and/or hook up with some Surf Lifesavers and do some training with them, given your common interest. Hope this helps. DaveC

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13 years 2 months ago #2467 by MFB
Replied by MFB on topic Re:Swimming training
Thanks, I needed validation to go back to the pool. Off the topic, do we really need to use swim caps? What's the advantage of using one?

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13 years 2 months ago #2468 by DaveC
Replied by DaveC on topic Re:Swimming training
If you are follicly challenged [bald], then probably not. A cap certainly helps reduce drag if you have a normal head of hair. Personally,I reckon everyone should use a cap in a public pool, especially people with long hair. There is nothing worse when you are doing some sort of timed effort in a pool than collecting someones floating hair across your face/goggles. It's as bad as catching weed on your rudder. Yuk!

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13 years 2 months ago #2469 by MFB
Replied by MFB on topic Re:Swimming training
Hahaha! ok then, off to speedo later.

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13 years 2 months ago #2471 by garykroukamp
Replied by garykroukamp on topic Re:Swimming training
Thanks Dave. Any thoughts on swimming with one arm as a drill? Suggestions as to a good interval session?

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13 years 2 months ago - 13 years 2 months ago #2475 by DaveC
Replied by DaveC on topic Re:Swimming training
Hi Gary. You can do a lot lot of drills in the pool and obviously doing one armed swimming is one of them. All drills have an end goal of improving your overall stroke and therefore speed and endurance in the water. Doing one armed drills enables you to focus on catching the water properly, lengthening your stroke, and getting good body roll.

When you swim your body motion through the water can be a combination of yaw (sideways zig zag), pitch (up and down), and roll. The only good motion is roll as yaw and pitch increase frontal surface area and therefore drag which slows you down. Yaw comes about through overeaching and poor hand placement in the water along with general inflexibility. Pitch is caused by lifting your head to breath rather than rotating the head sideways. This causes your bum to drop.

Roll is important because it enables you to breath properly, but more importantly it increases your stroke length markedly. Watch some of the replays of Phelps et al from the recent Olympics, especially the underwater shots.

So back to one arm swimming. The basic drill is to extend one arm straight out in front and swim with the other. In this drill you should swim on a 45 degree angle. This puts you into the roll position, enables you to breath easier, allows you to watch how your hand comes over the top and enters the water, and allows you to complete a full extended stroke. You should do say 25m at a time and then swap sides. You may want to do 25m, 50m, or 100m intervals depending on what pool you are in and how fit you are. Harder versions of one arm drills are catch-up and breathing to the non stroke side. In breathing to the non stroke side, the non stroke arm is by your side and not extended. This drill really puts the heat on you to roll otherwise you will find it hard to breath. With catch up you extend one arm out in front, swim with the other arm, touch the extended arm, and then swim with the other arm. In other words its like normal swimming but you can't start stroking with the alternate arm till both hands touch out in front. Don't cheat by going early as it negates the purpose of this drill. This focuses you on getting a good powerful catch up front and accentuates the need to roll in order to get good stroke length. With catch up you can do longer repeats of say 100m, 200m, 400m.

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13 years 1 month ago #2516 by kiwial
Replied by kiwial on topic Re:Swimming training
1 arm drills tend to be a bit more lazy as you have an opportunity to float between strokes. Drills tend to be muscle and technique specific so it probably won't help your paddling but will your swimming. I find freestyle swimming is the best suited for kayak/ski and Breaststroke kick for the gross movements used for leg drive.

Alan Ferg

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13 years 1 month ago - 13 years 1 month ago #2523 by Slater
Replied by Slater on topic Re:Swimming training
DaveC is right on!

I was a triathlete long before I started paddling and now feel much stronger at the end of the swim even with training less on the swim. I think the swimming also helps my paddling as the shoulder muscles are used in a wider range of motion. Longer (200-400 meter) sets with pulling gear on should help get the bigger muscles into play that will build on your swimming and paddling muscles.

Also, as DaveC mentioned technique is complementary in both with the stroke catch, etc. Water is 1000 times thicker than water so technique is huge!

Here is a link to some technique videos if it helps (or search youtube)

www.totalimmersion.net/
(use the "choose your bandwidth at the top)

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12 years 6 months ago #3225 by BillBurnett
Replied by BillBurnett on topic Re:Swimming training
We are using a Vasa kayak ergometer and it works great for paddle specific training. The great thing about this machine is that it easily converts for swim training too. Used by most top swimmers in US, according to the company website.
www.vasatrainer.com/index.php?page=Product%20Kayak%20Ergometer

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