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Two Ways to Make Lap Swimming More Enjoyable

Le 17 août 2017, 04:06 dans Humeurs 0

The benefits of swimming for exercise are many and similarly awesome. The water provides you a low gravity environment, making it easy on your joints. There is an endless variety of sets and workouts that you can do in the water. And you can target either your whole body, or your upper or lower body, making it handy for training around injury.

That being said, lap swimming does have its drawbacks. Lap swim schedules are not always very consistent, with swim teams and lessons often commandeering lanes. There is the “yucky” aspect of the fact that swimmers will freely admit that they urinate in the pool.

And then there is the whole boredom aspect of it. Unlike land-based sports, you are fairly limited in your environment. And if you are training on your own, it’s just you and the black line. But there are things that you can do to spice up your training.

Here’s just three of my favorites.

1. Listen to music.

For a long time, listening to music while working out was limited to those in the gym and those on the field. Music was limited to the PA system, which, depending on the musical tastes of the lifeguard working on deck, can vary from total silence to overplayed top-40 music. Now, I’m not saying that listening to music is necessary for an awesome workout, but it sure can help on those days where you are doing an epic number of laps. Thankfully, there are some pretty good options available now for music. I covered some of the best underwater and waterproof MP3 players recently, and while the quality of the more popular units varied, there is something there for everyone, no matter what kind of earphone you prefer. The winner-winner-chicken-dinner in my review was the FINIS Duo because it doesn’t use any earbuds at all. It conducts music straight through into your cheekbone, removing the need for earphones altogether.

2. Count your strokes.

This is an old school trick that can pay dividends big time in the pool. Counting your strokes is literally just that—count the number of strokes you take each time you cross the pool. This will give you something to focus on while you are training, which can help you with the whole boredom thing. But counting your strokes has another powerful benefit—it gives you a target number of strokes to beat each time you swim a lap. When your number goes down—and it always does with better technique and improved conditioning—you will be able to see in measurable terms that you are getting better. Counting strokes over the course of a full swim workout can be monotonous, and leave you feeling overwhelmed with a lot to remember, so consider strapping on a waterproof fitness tracker. When trying to find the best waterproof fitness tracker for your swimming make sure that it counts your strokes. Many of the Garmin swim-designed watches perform this function

The Takeaway

The sport of swimming has given me a lot over the years. It has given me improved fitness, an awesome set of friends, and a rockin’ bod. Using these two tools will make your lap swimming even more fun, more productive, and dare I say it, help it go by even more swimmingly!

How to Buy the Best Swim Goggles

Le 14 août 2017, 20:04 dans Humeurs 0

Lap swimming provides a metric ton of benefits for the exercise-enthusiast. You get a zero-gravity environment that is easy on the joints. You can mix up upper body and lower body training with ease. And with a dizzying array of workouts and sets to try, you will never get bored.

But before you go and conquer the pool, you need to start by being properly equipped to dominate the water. Besides a swim suit, which I heard is key, the next piece of swimming equipment you need when hitting lap swim is a pair of swimming goggles.

Here’s what you need to know.

There are two critical reasons that you need to wear goggles when swimming:

1.. Safety. Sounds like a pretty good reason already, doesn’t it? The human eye is not built to see well underwater. Our vision is blurred and fragmented when trying to see in the pool. Goggles give us the vision necessary to be able to see the lane markings in the pool, the upcoming wall (so you don’t swim head-first into it and concuss yourself), and of course, other swimmers.

2.. Red-eyes. Ever notice that there are times where you go swimming, whether for laps or just for a dip at a local pool, where your eyes are blotchy and red afterwards? This irritation is real, and while it’s not long lasting, it’s plenty disgusting. The reason this happens isn’t necessarily because of chlorine, but because of chloramines. And what are those, you may be asking? It’s the result of chlorine reacting with human waste, whether that means sweat, or um, other stuff. Yeah. Gross, right?

Okay, so now that we have covered two exceptionally good reasons swimmers should wear goggles in the pool, let’s discuss some of the things you should look for when picking out the best pair of swimming goggles:  

1.. Go for silicone straps. The goggles of my youth—typically Speedos with foam gaskets—were awesome for their time. But hold these goggles up to what is available on the market now and they will blush with embarrassment. The foam would quickly disintegrate in the chemical environment of the pool. The nose piece was delicate. And most infuriatingly, the straps would fray and snap after about a month of use (usually mid-practice). A lot of goggles these days, including the Speedo Vanquishers 2.0, come with silicone straps, which are light years ahead in terms of durability compared to the rubber straps of the past.


2.. Try them on first. Seems like an obvious point, but you’d be astonished how often swimmers pick out a pair of goggles without trying them on first. Swim goggles are not all made equal. Swedes, or Swedish goggles, come unassembled and have a hard plastic gasket (it’s also a favorite of competitive swimmers). The MP Michael Phelps Xceed goggles, on the other hand, come assembled, and have a rubberized gasket that also allows for wide peripheral views. Ultimately, fit and function should combine for your ideal goggle. Comfort without being able to see sideways or above you when you are swimming makes things riskier than it should be, especially if you are in the fast lane in a darker-than-average pool. That being said, don’t just buy a pair of goggles because one of your favorite swim starts wears them, make sure you get down to your local swim shop and actually try them on. You are going to be spending a metric heap of time wearing them, after all. Happy swimming!

You Should Train with a Monofin

Le 11 août 2017, 22:51 dans Humeurs 0

One of the funnest things in the sport of swimming is developing an awesome underwater dolphin kick. It’s the closest we come to assuming the form of a dolphin or great white in the water. In order to achieve the undulation, leg fitness and flexibility that comes with a great dolphin kick, you need to train it! This means you are adding extra dolphin kicks to your push-offs and starts. This means you are strengthening your legs in the gym. It means you are spending more time on your kickboard doing butterfly kick.

Additionally, there is a piece of swimming gear that you can use to further level up your underwater kick, and that is the Monofin. If you’ve never seen one before, the Monofin is essentially a mermaid fin—a large, two-footed rubberized fin.

Here’s why you should start swimming and training with a Monofin in the pool:

1.      Your kick will get stronger. Swimming and kicking with swim fins is simply a lot of fun. You get to go faster than you generally would. Putting on fins puts your legs to work and will make them stronger and provide you with the strength you need, especially during your races when your legs are getting flushed with lactic acid and you want to push on. Training with a Monofin will make your dolphin kick stronger.

2.      Your ankles will get more flexible. Kicking speed is largely predicated on your ability to get a high range of motion with your ankles. One of the most common mistakes that I see with swimmers trying to improve their kick is that they kick the water down. This is not how propulsion happens—we move forward by kicking water backwards. Once you wrap your head around this indisputable fact, you can begin to address the real issue with improving your dolphin kick—and that is pushing water backwards with the top of your feet. Now, there are lots of things you can do in order to stretch out the ligaments in the foot and the ankle. You can perform ankle rockers when you are outside of the pool. You can do lots of kick, which will help extend your range of motion. And you can also do kicking with a Monofin. The fin will help gently pull your ankle flexibility as your kicking motion will be fuller in both directions.


3.      You will learn how to undulate properly. One of my favorite ways to use the best Monofin is to really work at my undulation. To effectively dolphin kick you should be doing so from your core and hips, and not just from your knees. A common beginner mistake is to kick from your knees, which robs you of a great deal of propulsion and even creates more drag as your profile in the water becomes larger. A powerful way to improve your undulation, and to also balance out your kicking motion, is to do fish kicking with a Monofin. Fish kicking, for those who don’t know, is kicking on your side, either on the surface of the water, or below it. Fish kicking gives you an opportunity to kick in a more natural and balanced manner, and will strengthen the upkick portion of your kick. This will have the side-effect of teaching you how to better kick from your core, achieving a higher degree of undulation in the water.

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