Training Tip 1 – Swim Strength

For 2011 we’ve prepared a training tip for each week of the year – ok, we are running a little late with tip 1 (thanks to the season planning) but therefore you’re getting 2 tips this week.

Each tip is designed to make you a faster, stronger and less injured athlete in 2011 and in the long run.


Training Tip 1 – Swim Strength (with the help of an old bicycle tube)
Strength & Endurance are a ‘must have’ when training for a triathlon. You want to be able to swim the fastest you can with the least level fatigue and you wanna be able to keep this pace up for the entire swim. To do so, you need to train your arms, core, chest, shoulders and back.

A very popular tool to gain this strength is training with paddles (the yellow things in the picture above) – we recommend the flat TYR ones. An added benefit comes with the use of a pull buoy. By using the pull buoy you are using your legs less while maintaining a streamline position in the water. This will not only allow you to focus more on your arms but it also forces your arms, shoulders, back and chest to work harder to keep you from sinking.

For us the ultimate strength endurance improves by adding a rubber band around your feet when using paddles and pull buoy. You will be surprised to see how much you are still using your feet to balance the body in the water and to help the forward movement, when using paddles and pull buoy alone. Add a tight rubber band around your feet and we are talking about a whole new ball game. Now you are asking the most of your upper body and you will gain the most with each session.

We are using an old bicycle tube, cut it short, tie the ends together and sling it around our feet. It works best if you are twisting it once in the middle so it looks like an 8 before putting it around your feet. This way it will really keep the feet together! (see picture below)


Now there is a gazillion different ideas as to what the ideal amount of paddle training is. Some say train as much as you can, others say no more than 10% of the overall session. In order to get used to paddles try to do no more than the 10 % – once you are used to them you can increase up to 20 – 25% but we would recommend not do go beyond 800 meters overall in a swim session.

If you have questions or would like to add your own ideas and experience to this session – feel free to comment on this article. We are happy to answer all your questions.

Rock on!

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