With pools closing in many parts of the world at the moment, we take a look at options that can be utilised to maintain your swim outside of the lap pool. We go through options in order of what will be most beneficial to maintain swim specific movement and strength. Whatever your situation I hope you can find the solutions to get what you can done. As we are saying in our group, find solutions, not excuses.
1. Open water swimming: wherever possible to maximise/maintain a level or coordination and strength that is specific to swimming, swimming always comes out on top. The best way to ingrain a specific movement and become proficient at it, is to repeat it many times. For this reason, for those that have access to swimming in open water this is the next best thing to swimming in the pool so long as it is safe to do so. You can swim between points (buoys in the water or other markers) so that you can perform a session as you would in a pool. Another option is to use a timer or tempo trainer to alert you by beeping when your interval is over.
2. Small Pools: If you have access to a backyard or small pool that may be too short to do laps, using a swim bungie/tether is an option to keep you in the water and performing the same swimming movement. Again, a timer/tempo trainer can help you do intervals (eg. instead of 10x100 you can do 10x 1:30mins) to perform longer sessions. Tip when using the swim bungie is to have the waist strap as low over your hips/butt as possible. This stop your hips dropping. Even better is tether to the ankles to allow better body position in the water.
3. Swim Bench/Stretch cords:: If getting in the water is not possible then this is the next best thing as it allows you to be in a horizontal position and for the most part allows you to perform the ‘underwater’ part of the stroke as you would in the water itself. The focus should be on the push or power part of the stroke ensuring the arm is fully extended out the back of the stroke. In the case of stretch cords/Thera band, these can give you some form of simulation to a swim stroke and best done laying front down as on the swim bench.
4. Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP): Whilst we move away from the specific movement of being horizontal in the water I see the benefit if you don’t have access to swimming. The SUP allows you to work you’re your back and arm muscles and you are able to do this over an extended period to give you some aerobic benefit also.