If you’re a novice swimmer, one of your biggest challenges is stamina. Not having the strength to finish more than a couple of laps at a time before taking a break will negatively affect your weight loss goals.
Beginner swimmers lack technique and often waste a lot of energy with their movements, tiring easily. A well-seasoned swimmer will actually use less energy than a beginner because of their perfected technique. But if you’re tiring too easily, then your technique is going to suffer and you’re just going to get frustrated. Spend a couple of days in the gym to build up your stamina and upper body strength to ensure you’re going to get a rewarding workout in the water.
Stamina Building Workout
- Pull-Ups to failure
- Squats/Lateral Raise Combo with lightweight dumbbells (12 reps)
- Squats/Overhead Shoulder Press Combo with lightweight dumbbells (12 reps)
- Preying Mantis Push-Ups to failure – starting position is with your forearms flat on the floor
- Reverse Flyes with lightweight dumbbells to failure
- Cable Woodchoppers to failure each side
- Overhead Triceps Cable Extensions to failure
- Bench Dips to failure
- Biceps Cable Curls to failure
Perform 3 – 4 sets of this circuit, moving straight into the next exercise with little to no rest (less than 30 seconds in between). At the end of the circuit, rest for 120 seconds and repeat. You will want to perform this circuit a minimum of twice a week for the next six weeks to build up strength and stamina.
To improve your stamina, you must also focus on your breathing. Work on a three-stroke breath with your front crawl. This means that you will be alternating sides when breathing. This is known as bilateral breathing. What this does is forces you to get more out of your breath and ensures you’re more relaxed in the water so you’re not wasting energy. Compared to a two-stroke breath where you tend to gasp for air too quickly, bilateral breathing makes you more aware of your breath and you’ll relax into your stroke with more ease.
You will also want to focus on lengthening your strokes, making each one count from entry to exit. Reach as far forward as you can, using the full length of your stroke and bringing your arm back as far as you can.
For each lap, switch up your stroke so that you avoid using your legs too much. Swimming is mostly all upper body strength with the legs and torso acting as stabilizers. By switching up your stroke each time you push off the back wall and change directions, you’re giving your legs time to rest and ultimately, you’ll have more energy to finish your targeted number of lengths.