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TRAINING


STRENGTH


Both runners and swimmers sometimes use parachutes to add strength-building resistance to their training


BODYWEIGHT AND RESISTANCE TRAINING CONS While convenient, body-weight training can also be challenging. You may fi nd that at the beginning, some of the exercises are diffi cult to carry out because you lack the necessary strength. For instance, you may not be able to do a triceps dip at fi rst, and will fi rst have to build upper-body strength through weight training exercises such as tricep extensions (featured in an earlier article), and bench presses, in order to build strength in the back of the arms, shoulders and chest. Another drawback with bodyweight training is that –


unlike weights – it is very diffi cult to take these exercises to the next level, other than by increasing the number of repetitions carried out. Over time, this can become quite time consuming.


KEEP OFF THE MACHINES When we talk about weight training for swimmers, we are talking about training with free weights rather than fi xed weights. Fixed weights involve interacting with those mechanical weight machines you always see in gyms and health clubs. While such equipment is great for beginners, fi xed weights deliver limited benefi ts for core strength. This is because these exercises usually involve sit ing or lying down, meaning key muscle groups are not called upon to provide stability while weights are pushed or liſt ed.


WEIGHT TRAINING PROS Free weights – ket lebells, dumbbells and barbells, for example – all improve strength, power, endurance and help with injury prevention. This is because free-weight exercises recruit a wide range of muscles to provide stability while exercising. Free weights also allow you to closely mimic a wide variety of joint movements associated with swimming, so building strength in exactly the right way to improve swimming performance. In contrast to bodyweight training, training with weights allows you to progress through increasing the load rather than (or as well as) the number of repetitions.


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THE AIM OF ALL STRENGTH TRAINING IS TO STRESS THE BODYTO CAUSE IT TO ADAPT TO A HIGHER WORKLOAD


WEIGHT TRAINING CONS Because it is so equipment heavy, there is a cost involved to weight training, either in terms of gym membership or buying home equipment. However, in past issues we have looked at ways you can build a home gym on a tight budget.


BEST IS BOTH Ideally you should use both types of training in your programme because body-weight exercises will take you only so far; there are only so many repetitions that can be carried out before you run the risk of injury through joint over-use. So, instead of 100 bodyweight squats, for example, it is more benefi cial to do 10 squats while holding a 50kg barbell. Also, the body adapts very quickly to a particular training programme, and constant change is needed to maintain progress and to avoid boredom; incorporating both weights and resistance into your training regimen helps with this. Weights off er more variety of exercise and greater strength progression, while body-weight training is convenient and cheap (usually free). If you have access to a gym and the time to strength- train, you should be using both approaches. ○


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