Reply To: Thoughts on wt. trng
A couple thoughts:
“General” weight training will never be beneficial to an athlete above the “recreational” status. If you swim 3 days a week and lift 3 days a week you’re probably busy with other things in life, which is fine. Equating this WT routine to an advanced athlete in the pool 6 days a week is a non-starter. Saying “core” “legs” “upper body” is the real issue. I need to design the workout to: improve endurance of the abdominis rectus using concentric contractions from slight hip hyperextension to 30 degrees of flexion; improve power and lengthen the myofibrils of the biceps femoris using eccentric contractions from full hip flexion to full hip extension; improve the endurance of the brachioradialis in a neutral grip position to facilitate a more vertical forearm during the initiation phase. Way easier to say “do core, legs, arms”.
I’ve read maybe all the WT research with swimmers. They mostly involve bench pressing and squatting because those exercises are easy to measure performance parameters (“to parallel”) and are common in other sports research. They also need to contend with swim coaches who won’t A|B test their pool training. Isolation WT can be beneficial for some swimming movements and irrelevant for others. Researchers aren’t there yet.
Maybe the most important exercise is the hip hinge (hamstrings) swing using a kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball, or plate (they all are weights so this doesn’t imply 4 “exercise variations”, just equipment available). This is your main power movement off the walls and blocks. Squats (quadriceps) are not really the main driver of this motion because squats produce most of their force from the low parallel position. Here’s the reasoning WT is more beneficial for this motion: you cannot fatigue this movement in the water because you cannot perform 3-4 repetitions in 6-8 seconds. If you push off the wall and streamline (you should) it might take 15 seconds to get back in position. As we know from USRPT articles, you need a good amount of proper reps without a lot of rest. One push every 15-20 seconds isn’t going to fatigue the muscle group in advanced athletes. In isolation, this movement will improve in the weight room.
Olympic lifts, overhead lifts, are the worst because college CSCSs say they improve “power”. Ya, power for the defensive lineman bull rushing the offensive tackle. These movements are almost completely opposite of swimming power needs. Also, everything is a “power” exercise or movement if you are trying to increase the speed of the repetition #physics. No reps should be purposely slow, that is a bodybuilding training style (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy).
Last note: CSCSs are tested in the “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning”. This is a 752-page book with a single line devoted to swimming. CSCSs have absolutely no formal training in swimming needs.