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Looking for lap swim advice

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Greetings all,

I've recently started adding lap swims to my weekly fitness routine. However, I'm only doing backstroke (longest swim so far was 1300 meters). I can do a forward crawl, but I seem to fatigue very fast (50-100m). Haven't started to learn any other strokes yet.

My question. I'm I hurting myself (over use of one set of muscles) by only working with the one stroke? If my current goal is long slow distance for aerobic fitness.
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Replies

  • jmt08c
    jmt08c Posts: 343 Member
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    Swimming is a full body aerobic exercise, no matter what stroke you swim. If all you can do is front crawl (freestyle) then that's fine until you strengthen your muscles to be able to do the other strokes.
  • NoelFigart1
    NoelFigart1 Posts: 1,276 Member
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    I'm a swimmer and a bit slow. (2:39/100yd free. Yes, slow)

    For what it's worth, few swimmers do a single stroke for a particularly long period of time without mixing it up. Even marathon swimmers tend to do intervals for pool training. While plenty of competitive swimmers have a stroke specialty, it really is better to mix it up.

    So a 1300m workout could look like:

    1x100 back warmup
    3X100 free (with a ten second break between 100s for all interval sets)
    3x100 back
    3X100 breast
    2X100 free
    1x100 back cooldown

    (This is close to my own workout this morning, though my pool is yards instead of meters. I'm training to get into open water swimming)

    Hoo buddy yes, you will improve aerobic fitness with this.

  • luluinca
    luluinca Posts: 2,899 Member
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    Hi delicious, I'm a backstroker as well. I got back in the pool about 14 months ago and haven't looked back. I started out swimming only back stroke about 5 morning a week and worked my way up to a mile a day. Now I only swim about 2 mornings a week because I'm lifting weights and doing other things at the gym besides swimming. It didn't hurt me one bit doing only backstroke.

    I have added in freestyle recently just because I was getting bored doing only one stroke, but back is still my best stroke.

    Enjoy it.............you're moving and swimming is great exercise!
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,276 Member
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    Another new lap swimmer with a question (embarrassed to ask this, but heck...) What am I looking at swimming on my back?? I'm fine swimming freestyle (in terms of a straight line) but terrified that I'll swim right into my lane partner if I turn over. For now, I alternate between freestyle and kickboarding. The kickboarding is an effort to get my hips/bum/legs up so I'm more efficient. It's much easier to "tuck your tail" on your back, but I'm not brave enough to roll over and give it a go.

    Advice? Thanks :smile:
  • FitOldMomma
    FitOldMomma Posts: 790 Member
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    Another new lap swimmer with a question (embarrassed to ask this, but heck...) What am I looking at swimming on my back?? I'm fine swimming freestyle (in terms of a straight line) but terrified that I'll swim right into my lane partner if I turn over. For now, I alternate between freestyle and kickboarding. The kickboarding is an effort to get my hips/bum/legs up so I'm more efficient. It's much easier to "tuck your tail" on your back, but I'm not brave enough to roll over and give it a go.

    Advice? Thanks :smile:

    Lol, I know what you mean. I counted the number of arm strokes doing backstroke for one pool length. I was always afraid the last few meters I was going to knock my head on the wall. As for staying in a straight swim line- I focus on a spot on the ceiling and line myself up with that.
  • jmt08c
    jmt08c Posts: 343 Member
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    Another new lap swimmer with a question (embarrassed to ask this, but heck...) What am I looking at swimming on my back?? I'm fine swimming freestyle (in terms of a straight line) but terrified that I'll swim right into my lane partner if I turn over. For now, I alternate between freestyle and kickboarding. The kickboarding is an effort to get my hips/bum/legs up so I'm more efficient. It's much easier to "tuck your tail" on your back, but I'm not brave enough to roll over and give it a go.

    Advice? Thanks :smile:

    Hmm...tough answer. The only "markers" you have while doing backstroke are the lane rope to your left and flags above you 5 meters before the wall. I really can't remember at this point how I became accustomed to swimming backstroke without any fear (been swimming 20 years now) but just like anything else it will take lots of practice and time. Maybe try swimming backstroke when you're the only one in your lane to start until you feel comfortable. Or possibly every few strokes reach for the lane rape just to make sure you haven't drifted off.
  • FitOldMomma
    FitOldMomma Posts: 790 Member
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    Greetings all,

    I've recently started adding lap swims to my weekly fitness routine. However, I'm only doing backstroke (longest swim so far was 1300 meters). I can do a forward crawl, but I seem to fatigue very fast (50-100m). Haven't started to learn any other strokes yet.

    My question. I'm I hurting myself (over use of one set of muscles) by only working with the one stroke? If my current goal is long slow distance for aerobic fitness.

    Many of the swimmer's at my pool only do front crawl. One elderly woman only does back stroke. How about you do two lengths back stroke, one length front crawl and repeat.

    My routine is 4 lengths front crawl, 1 breast stroke, 1 back stroke and then I repeat this 6 times.

  • sofaking6
    sofaking6 Posts: 4,589 Member
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    As a racer (backstroke and butterfly), I would mark the 5-meter flags, make two strokes, glide then turn. Do they have lane dividers at your pool? If not, ask if they could put them out for just one or two lanes. That way you'll run into the divider before the neighbor :) Over time you'll just learn the feel of going straight.

    As far as adding in strokes, I would switch it up if you're only doing backstroke because I found it can be straining on your neck to hold that position for a long time. So take a switch up every few laps or so. Even grab a kickboard and do that, kicking is the best cardio of all in swimming!!

    And don't forget about butterfly :) It's the best stroke IMO, I wish I could still swim (bad shoulder).
  • delicioustorment
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    Another new lap swimmer with a question (embarrassed to ask this, but heck...) What am I looking at swimming on my back?? I'm fine swimming freestyle (in terms of a straight line) but terrified that I'll swim right into my lane partner if I turn over. For now, I alternate between freestyle and kickboarding. The kickboarding is an effort to get my hips/bum/legs up so I'm more efficient. It's much easier to "tuck your tail" on your back, but I'm not brave enough to roll over and give it a go.

    Advice? Thanks :smile:

    Well for me...I currently swim, indoors at the gym pool, and use the ceiling elements to keep me in my lane and know when I'm close to the end of the pool. Skylight edge, fire sprinkler heads, and the like. The pool, at least when I'm there, has never been busy enough that I'd have to share the lane with another. Not sure how I'd handle that.
  • NoelFigart1
    NoelFigart1 Posts: 1,276 Member
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    Another new lap swimmer with a question (embarrassed to ask this, but heck...) What am I looking at swimming on my back?? I'm fine swimming freestyle (in terms of a straight line) but terrified that I'll swim right into my lane partner if I turn over. For now, I alternate between freestyle and kickboarding. The kickboarding is an effort to get my hips/bum/legs up so I'm more efficient. It's much easier to "tuck your tail" on your back, but I'm not brave enough to roll over and give it a go.

    Advice? Thanks :smile:

    I'm embarrassed to admit I just eschew backstroke when sharing a lane...
  • delicioustorment
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    Thank you all for the advice. So what I've gathered so far, it doesn't appear that I'll hurt myself physically by only doing backstroke. However, I really should add at least a crawl, and other strokes when I learn them, even if it's only a small amount.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    edited October 2014
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    I hate sharing lanes. I always went at off times so I wouldn't have to share. And swimming in circles sucks.

    I use backstroke as a break when I'm getting out of breath.

    Flip over. Get off your back and do some front crawl. You'll improve as you go. Practice makes perfect! :)
  • terar21
    terar21 Posts: 523 Member
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    You're definitely not hurting anything but you should try to work in new strokes. It's ok to be less than awesome at a stroke. I've swam competitively since I was very young and I'm still significantly slower with breaststroke (mainly because I've refused to get better at it lol). Break up your swim by inserting other strokes. Even if it's just 1 lap, that lap will help you improve and before you know it, you'll be able to do 2 laps and so on.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,276 Member
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    I swear, swimmers are the most helpful people on this forum... ;)
  • Juliarosemary66
    Juliarosemary66 Posts: 64 Member
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    Hi! I do a lot of swimming and had a swimming lesson with the pt at my gym for techniques for swimming front crawl- it has a lot to do with core strength so I've worked on that and my legs are now higher in the water. When I was working on improving my kicking I was told to really splash as i learnt how to do it properly. I also did lengths with a board between my thighs to practise the arm movement and breathing! If I say so myself I am now fab at frontcrawl and can do a mile; when I started I could barely do one length! I cannot do backstoke though! Happy splashing!!
  • ucabucca
    ucabucca Posts: 606 Member
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    you can change your leg muscles up by using a kickboard do 200 on front then 200 on back Tis changes from quads to hamstrings. Breast stroke will help your breathing. On freestyle exhale before you turn your head to breath will help.
    Use fins or hand paddles will also change it up some too.
    Good Luck
  • NoelFigart1
    NoelFigart1 Posts: 1,276 Member
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    I swear, swimmers are the most helpful people on this forum... ;)

    That's because swimmers are better than everyone else ;)

    Seriously, I think the highly technical nature of swimming simply attracts nerds who like to explain things.
  • sofaking6
    sofaking6 Posts: 4,589 Member
    edited October 2014
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    ^^^ Rofl that could well be true.

    But WHYYY nobody wants to do the fly??? I challenge someone to try it out <g>

    ETA: http://www.wikihow.com/Swim-Butterfly-Stroke
  • NoelFigart1
    NoelFigart1 Posts: 1,276 Member
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    LOL. I haven't tried to swim butterfly in nearly 30 years. But just for you, I'll try a lap in the morning. It's your fault if everyone in the pool laughs at me. Just sayin'.
  • sofaking6
    sofaking6 Posts: 4,589 Member
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    I will live vicariously through you then :) It's such a fun stroke - you're awesome!!!!