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3 Pieces of Gear Every Swimmer Should Be Using

Le 8 mai 2017, 19:16 dans Humeurs 0

There is a ton of different swim equipment out there for both the novice and competitive swimmer. From paddles to pull buoys to swim fins there is a never-ending pile of equipment to choose from when we hop in the water.

As a long-time competitive swimmer I have had a chance to play around with most of them. Here are the three essential tools swimmers need in order to swim faster:

1. Tempo Trainer Pro.

One of the coolest pieces of swim gear out there is the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro. Simple in design and water-proof (obviously), this little device clips onto your goggles. There are two main uses that you can use the Tempo Trainer for:

First, it can be used as a way to track intervals. Set it for :30 seconds, for instance, and it will give you a quick beep every time thirty seconds elapses. This is helpful for pools that don’t have pace clocks, or for open water fartlek swimming.

Secondly, it can be used to help you maintain a specific stroke rate. As a sprinter I have found this especially helpful as hitting those high stroke rates is difficult. Similarly, you can use the Tempo Trainer to help lengthen out your strokes during long course swimming to help you improve your distance per stroke.

For beginner swimmers pick a stroke rate you want, attach it to your goggle strap, and simulate some arm pulls on dryland to help you develop the motor patterns that you want to achieve in the water.

2. A swimmer’s snorkel.

My next favorite tool in my swim bag? Your front-mounted snorkel. This thing has become a bit of a crutch in my training in recent months, and with good reason.

They are wildly effective at helping you to balance out muscle imbalances in your back and shoulders, allow you to simulate bilateral breathing, allow you to focus on technique and stroke corrections, and force you to kick with a fuller freestyle kick.

Perhaps my favorite reason for using a swimmer’s snorkel is that you can get a really good rhythm going when swimming freestyle. As a result of breathing relentlessly to one side over the years I developed a gallop in my stroke which left my freestyle unbalanced.

Putting on a snorkel, having your face to the bottom of the pool, gives you the opportunity to swim with a balanced, rhythmic freestyle, which is especially enjoyable when doing laps in the long course pool.

3. A log book.

Journaling out your workouts has many benefits, not the least of which is that it will help you perform more consistently over the long term in the pool. Tracking your workouts will help you to pinpoint connections between training and lifestyle (sleep, for instance).

You will be able to better plot your training, by setting training goals, both for the week and for the session in the pages of your log book. And you will provide your swim coach with a wealth of information that will better inform their training of you (something Katie Ledecky did with her swim coach in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics where she won a gold medal in the 800m freestyle).

Writing out your swim practices is a bit of a lost art these days, with swimmers looking to stick to the apps and web-based software to track their workout data. There is something about pen and paper that helps swimmers connect and

 

3 Reasons Athletes Should Do Front Squats

Le 5 avril 2017, 21:09 dans Humeurs 0

In the never-ending debate regarding what type of squats are best for athletes and regular gym-goers there is one crucial thing that needs to be addressed from the outset: The type of squat you favor or do in the gym should reflect your goals.

So, for example, if your goal is to open up your hips, teach yourself better squatting technique, and limit the shear and compressive force of heavy weight on your back, using a front squat would be more then ideal. If your goal was to increase vertical jump and your 40-yard dash time, the quarter squat has been shown to help you do these most effectively.

Jump squats, back squats, goblet squats—they all have a place in your training regimen, how much emphasis you decide to place on them simply depends on what you hope to accomplish in the gym.

Here are five benefits of front squats for athletic performance.

1. Easier on your back (plus all the benefits of regular barbell back squats).

I have never met an athlete who could front squat as much as they could back squat. It’s not a strength issue so much as a mechanical issue.

This decrease in strength actually plays into the favor of athletes who are already training 20+ hours a week on the field or during their swim practices in the pool—front squats actually end up doing the same amount of muscle recruitment as traditional back squats with less weight. In other words, you can still get strength and power gains without having to load up the barbell and add shear to your back.

2. More closely imitates athletic movements.

When lifting in the gym the big goal should be to reflect the movement patterns you are trying to strengthen and build upon on the field of play. As an example, a basketball player, who largely jumps with a shoulder width stance, as well as unilaterally, would want to perform movements that power up those particular actions in the gym (step ups, and shoulder-width squats).

Front squats, because they require you to be more forward and on your toes, more closely align common athletic movements. The resistance in sport almost always happens in front of you, not behind you. Front squats help mirror this.

3. Better overall body positioning.

Front squats are awesome for postural reasons as well. Because the bar is in front of you it forces you to puff your chest out and assume a straighter back. All too often you will see athletes put a barbell on their back and end up collapsing their torso forward at the bottom of the lift.

What happens then is that they need to do a “good morning”—placing great strain on their low back—in order to get out of the movement. Additionally, athletes with tight hips will find that they can get lower with front squats as the elevated chest helps them to sink into position better.

The Next Step:

If you are wanting to incorporate the front squats into your workout routine, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some quick pointers.

Assume a natural squat width stance. Thighs and toes should point in the same direction. This will help your knee from twisting during the movement.

Start with goblet and air squat (arms extended in front of you), to get used to squatting with load in front of you.

 

Your core will get a heckuva workout—so remember to keep your core nice and tight through the whole movement.

Why Athletes Should Eat Breakfast More Often

Le 29 mars 2017, 20:21 dans Humeurs 0

We have always been told that eating breakfast is important. In fact, we’ve been told that it is the most important meal for the day. And while there will always be a debate about whether fasting in the morning is good for weight management, there is scant evidence that not eating breakfast is beneficial for athletes.

Here are just some of the reasons that athletes shouldn’t skip breakfast.

You will feel lethargic over the course of the day. When it comes to nutrition tips for college athletes, there are fewer things that unite sports nutritionists faster than the importance of breakfast. Among the reasons they cite for fueling early (and often!) is increased energy levels over the course of the day. Seems like a total no-brainer, but breakfast literally fuels you, both in the gym and in the classroom and workplace. Without that glucose your brain and muscles are stuck in first gear, with your body’s metabolism stuck at a crawl.

Your workouts will feel harder. There are fewer things more frustrating for an athlete than having a regular workout routine feel harder than it should. But this is exactly what happens when we skimp on eating breakfast in the morning. Rate of perceived exertion and increased heart rate are consistent outcomes for athletes whom skip on eating breakfast in the morning.

Even your PM workout will suffer. A study done at the University of Loughborough found that even after eating a big lunch, athletes who skipped breakfast still performed 4.5% on a stationary bike time trial compared to those who ate in the morning. This goes to show that performance in the gym goes beyond just what we ate at our last meal, but how we have been treating our bodies from the time we woke up. The researchers hypothesized this was because the body hadn’t yet recovered from being in “idle” over the first half of the day.

You will over-eat like crazy at night time. When we start the day off with a big workout and not eating we put ourselves into a massive calorie deficit right off the bat. As the day goes on, and we struggle to catch up to refuel ourselves, we are able to avoid over-eating due to work and school. It’s at night-time, when we are idle, that the calorie deficit we created earlier in the day comes home to roost. Athletes who skimp on breakfast tend to turbo-load on carbs late in the evening.

Cognitive function is harder too. One of the sneaky reasons that students have a hard time focusing and concentrating in the classroom is because they have skipped breakfast. Study after study, from elementary to university-aged students has found a significant correlation between eating breakfast and academic performance. Which makes sense, if you think about it—if your energy levels are running on fumes, and your brain is not exempt from requiring glucose to run effectively, performance is going to suffer.

 

Source: Why Athletes Should Not Skip Eating Breakfast, YourWorkoutBook.com

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