additional thoughts on weight training for swimming
June 25, 2017 at 12:53 am #3233
Let’s say you followed Dr. Bompa’s model outlined in “Periodization of Strength” or “Theory and Methodology of Training” or Dr. Yuri Verkhoshanky’s “Program and Organization of Training” and you had 2-4 weeks of Anatomical Adaptation (AA), basically just get fit. Then you went into Maximum Strength (MxS) cycle for say 6-8 weeks, where the goal is to get just as strong as you can with little to no increase in mass. Now what? Dr. Bompa, et.al, would have you now convert that MxS on land to event specific power (pwr), muscle endurance short (ME-S), muscle endurance medium (ME-M) or muscle endurance long (ME-L). My questions are: 1.How are we going to get that done in swimming? and 2.Is there a placebo effect with wts and swimming? I get the research doesn’t support it. But it is something to think about. The mind is a terrible thing to waste 🙂
? All that is not shared... is lost.June 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm #3234MarlinParticipant
It’s possible that weight lifting is a placebo when it comes to swimming faster. Weight lifting might make swimmers faster not from some physiological effect but simply from the belief that they will go faster because of the weights. But if weights make you faster, does it matter if it’s all in your head?
The placebo effect is very strong in sports. Athletes can lift more, run faster, or have more energy, instantly upon receiving a placebo. If the athletes believes that they will improve, then they will.
This is a very interesting study done with national level power http://fitnessforlife.org/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/1907.pdf They took 11 power lifers and told them that they were receiving a fast acting steroid and then measured 1 rep max on bench, deadlift, and squat. All 11 hit lifetime best in every lift. A lot of them had significant gains up to 15 kg. That’s tough to do when you are already at a high level. One week later there was a second trail. They told 5 of the participants, guess what? you got a placebo and the increase in your max, you did all by yourself with no aid. The other 6, they gave the placebo pills again and all 6 were able to maintain the high level of increase in their 1rm. The 5 that knew that they got the placebo before were back to their original or slightly above their original 1rm. Although belief that you will improve absolutely makes a difference, it is such an abstract thing. The 5 powerlifters that knew that they got the placebo, lifted heavier on their own, so why couldn’t they do it again? There is no better way to believe something than seeing or doing it yourself. These lifters had proof that they could lift heavier because they actually did it. But when it came time to do it again, they couldn’t do it.
This is another placebo study done with runners. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25412293 The runners performed a 3km race and were given an injection that they were told was “OxyRXB” but it was really just saline water. They improved by 1.2% which is pretty significant. That could improve your placing quite a bit in a 10 or 15 minute race.
There’s no doubt that the placebo can improve performance. When it comes to something unproven like the effects of weights and swimming, if there are improvements from the weight room to the water, it’s hard to measure if they are physical, mental, or a little bit of both. Instead of designing a study that measures swimmers times in the water after going through a weight program, maybe a better study would be having swimmers who have been lifting for a while totally drop the weights and then see what happens to their times in the pool. Would they slow down or stay the same? Even then, it could be psychological if the swimmer thinks they have to lift to be fast. They may slow down if they have that mind set.
But to answer the question of “what now” after going through a strength program. I guess the best thing to do is motivate the swimmer into believing that they will improve because of the increase in their strength. Keep doing the race pace sets and tell the swimmer that they are going to start to improving their race pace sets now and hopefully they actually do.June 26, 2017 at 10:41 pm #3235
I know of the studies and that’s part of why I’m ready to give in and have them lift. Just for nothing else to get them to shut up about lifting. Granted not the best reason for doing it. It’s so ingrained in them that no logic or data you produce has any impact. But it has become so tiresome trying to convince them they will actual swim faster and have better practices because they aren’t expending energy for something that has little to no impact on their performance (use the time for recovery). The interesting thing is the best kid we have has NEVER lifted NEVER and won 3 events and set 3 conference records and would have been seeded in the top 8 at NCAA’s in their event. (We weren’t eligible last year). He just says “I swim fast in practice”. What’s funny (not really) is that we had an 92.65% season best at conference and 84.73% LTB and some of these kids haven’t swum a best time in 2-3 years. I had a 500/1000 swimmer female swim faster every 500/1000, she swam last season. Which has over 10 times and she even went faster at the conference meet and still holds on to “I need to swim longer”. It just blows my mind.
I have the data of lifting vs.not lifting that spans over 20 years (nope, not a typo) 20 years. I did my teams’ rate of improvement when we did 9-11 workouts (traditional mind set back in the 80s) a week which including lifting that was a 10 year project. I then had an occasion to stop lifting because the college was redoing the wt. room and we never went back (figured it was as good a time as any to try). Plus I had a built in excuse :). I then charted the results of not lifting. Because we all know lifting helps with performance 🙂 and low and behold. We actually had greater rates of improvements when we did lift/run/dryland. We just swam fast in practice.
The paradigm of the incoming college athlete is just mind boggling. If I hear one more time I can’t swim that fast in practice or I only swim fast twice a year (maybe) or I need at least 3 weeks taper to be ready. It’s just crazy! Maybe I’m just getting to old to fight this battle.
Just an old guy with a stopwatch
? All that is not shared... is lost.June 26, 2017 at 10:53 pm #3236
I had to think about this. It is a life’s work and please respect it. But I decided to post.
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Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.October 5, 2017 at 10:00 pm #3275
I’m for “weight lifting”. However, Rushall loves specificity, I’ve learned to obsess about specificity, the “Essentials of Strength and Conditioning” promotes specificity that CSCSs immediately forget when they begin creating a training plan for sports other than football. If we could adjust the density of water in practices we wouldn’t need weight training at all.
With all that said, very specific exercises will improve “isolated biomechanical power specificity” (a single joint movement) with the goal of improving “complex biomechanical power specificity” (the full stroke).
The most important weighted exercise swimmers and water polo can do is the hip hinge swing: https://youtu.be/Mj5Hn9EwSxE This is because it’s hard to improve this motion during practice in the water. Starts and turns.
Research that attempts to link weight training to swim performance succumbs to one fatal error: researchers allow swim coaches to create the swim programs and these coaches have been programming training incorrectly.
Here is a beautiful example: http://www.emsbodypower.dk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Girold2012JStrCondRes.pdf
The results indicate strength training improves swim performance. However, if we look at the control group we should be asking “How can a coach have athletes swim 250K yards and show no improvement?” Since a 50m sprint relies completely on stored energy (including oxygen already in the bloodstream) we can look at the result a couple ways. 1) general weight training increased the availability of stored peripheral energy in specific muscles, some of which were used to swim the 50m and 2) the 250K of swim training did NOT increase the availability of stored peripheral energy in the specific muscles used to swim freestyle.
Note, the weight program was probably too short to induce myofibrillar hypertrophy so the weight group probably induced mostly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. But, you could easily say that the swim program, which was longer, did NOT promote myofibrillar hypertrophy. A case could be made for improved neuromuscular activation but, again, how do you induce swim-specific neuromuscular activation performing weighted, isolated-joint motions in the gym?
I’m off to coach!October 5, 2017 at 10:04 pm #3276
I like the results. The IM events are just ripe for massive improvements. Find the weakest stroke, improve, reassess, repeat. When I see collegiate swimmers fail to improve in the IM after a full season of training my head explodes.October 11, 2017 at 11:06 pm #3279
I would agree. I can also defend it to a certain extent. Our best two female 4IMers only swam that race 4 times each last year. All at invitational formats which allowed them to space out their primary events; distance free and 100/200 backstrokes a little better. In a dual meet format that’s a little rough at times, especially when they have relays added in.
The agreement part. It is “mind-blowing” that coaches don’t figure out the weak stroke or don’t know how and then have no plan to address that other than swim n x 200/400IMs in practice thinking that pure volume will somehow magically drive them over the weakness.
Any IM recruit coming here we’ll present a detailed plan of how they swim the race, plus any stroke they swim (use the top 3 women at NCAAs as race model) It’s based on their average % of each split compared to total time (Aussies’ give me the idea). So, say we have a recruit in and they spend 30.44% of their 4IM swimming breaststroke we know that’s the weak stroke and we will structure their training with that in mind. The funny part is all I need is their time (love SWIMS database) and EXCEL will do the rest. One time and it gives me paces for all training sets we do. You should see the look on their face when I present this. The tricky part is making sure that you give them enough expose to each set to create improvement. That ain’t easy. But can be done.
The % is done for each stroke men and women as there are some differences. I’ve used this for about 15+ years now and just updated it last year. Truthfully, there was very little change in the race model. I probably could have gone another 15+ and been just fine.
Just food for thought or now you’re really confused 🙂
? All that is not shared... is lost.October 12, 2017 at 8:19 pm #3280
Got it. Here are standard deviations for the top 27 women at ACCs last year. I can put in a time and it will predict splits. Then input the actual splits and see the deviation. Got the R-square and coefficients on other sheets. Currently in the yellow box: Swimmer is 1.4 SD faster than mean in the free leg and .78 slower in back. She was at trials in the 800 free. The ACC champion, row 2, has a tight SD in all strokes.
Percentages are great but linear. I like SD because it can guide the level of emphasis. For example, row 15, 1.72 back, -1.76 breast. Probably a breaststroker but man does she need to work on backstroke. She’s in the bottom 10% of the group for that stroke.
RyanOctober 13, 2017 at 11:21 pm #3281
Not trying to upset you. Your data on using stdev. is great and I like it. But I tend to think of the audience. Truthfully, most coaches aren’t going to take the time to learn and understand standard deviations and what it can tell them. i.e. technical skill or level of fitness, etc. or how to get EXCEL to do it for them. I can’t tell you the number of coaches I receive data from that can’t or don’t know how to format time in EXCEL or even use EXCEL (hint: YouTube). They’re busy, many with other jobs that actual pay the bills and coach for the love of the sport. I try and think how can I make it easier? help them be better and their swimmers. 1. Use the information they already have (i.e. splits or total time) without adding more than they are doing. 2. Understand what they have and 3. Maybe some ideas/thoughts on how to utilize it. The whole idea of the evolution of the system was “1 coach and 24 swimmers”
Enjoy the conversation. It makes me think and thanks for sharing.
? All that is not shared... is lost.October 14, 2017 at 8:10 pm #3282
Attached is a copy of % worksheet. This is for women and based off data of the top 3 in each event from 2016 NCAAs. I do have the 1650, it’s just it won’t fit on one page 🙂
I just load best time in the BOLDED outlined cell and it will generate splits and training paces for me. With the kids that have been in the program I’ll load mid-season goal speed in and we start to work.
The .985 is the “slack” so to speak. I give them off original/goal speed (they like to have some cushion) and with “unloading” we can cover that base. I went down that “rabbit hole” years ago with training pace was goal speed. If you can tolerate very low numbers made and spissed off swimmers have at it. I figured “discretion is the better part of valor” 🙂
In the past 2 years I gave them .97 and this year I cut it in half. So far the results are promising. It did take about 2 weeks longer for them to adjust to not having that “just little bit” extra. But have now settled in well.
Just throwing stuff out there. If anyone uses it fine, if not you won’t hurt my feelings.
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Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.October 17, 2017 at 7:59 pm #3284
You won’t upset me. Totally agree with the audience comment. My players don’t see any of this stuff.
Do you take into account that the open turn on the touchpad creates a split earlier in the turn than the flip turn does?
RyanOctober 28, 2017 at 12:42 am #3292
No. I just use total time divided by % of split. It gets me in the ballpark and I’ll make adjustments as we go throughout the season.
I track 33 athletes and write workouts for 3 groups. I try and keep it simple.
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