What if I told you that you could improve your main set times by 5s per 100 almost instantly? Or that instead of having your splits trail off towards the end of your swim you could hit those more consistently? Or that, you could reduce your injury risk significantly? AND that you all you had to do was 500 more meters and less than 15 min of your time. You would do it, right? Believe it or not many swimmers do not do this simple task. How do you achieve such magical results? Simply: warming up properly.
Even though swimming is non weight bearing, warming up properly before a hard set is very important to your swim. Firstly, it warms up and stretches out your muscles while preparing them for harder intensities. It allows you to start “feeling” and “correcting” your stroke at a low intensity so that when the main sets come you swim with better much form. I know personally that when I start swimming I do not rotate my hips as much as I should so my distance per stroke suffers. As I warm up, I become more aware of it and am able to focus on it more.
However, many swimmers botch the warm up by going to quickly. They dive right in and rush through it so that they can get to the “fun” sets. Doing so burns valuable energy that is better spent later on in the workout.
So what should a warm up entail? A warm up should include a little bit of everything to pinpoint every part of your stroke. My favorite is doing SKIPS. I do 100 each of swim, kick, IM, pull, swim. Then I also include at least 300 of drills of catch up, fist, and 8 kick/3 stroke/8 kick or a build set. After that, I feel ready to take on whatever my coach wants to throw at me.
Train hard (but make sure you warm up)!
Coach Chris and Kev