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Tag Archives: endurance

Swimming paddles… whats the point?!

A bugbear of mine whilst swimming at my pool is people who use hand or finger paddles! Personally I just don’t see the point of them, and the use of them by swimmers on a Sunday morning lane swimming session really annoys me…!

I understand what they are used for, swimmers can increase their (stroke) strength by using them. However I strongly feel that they are counter productive (especially for a Sunday morning swimmer, who judging by their body-type does not undertake any other form of strength or conditioning training!).

  • Firstly, you will never be able to use them during any event or race
  • The sudden added resistance could potentially cause an injury in the very complex shoulder joint
  • Your technique changes when wearing/using them, but will that really benefit your stroke when you don’t have them on? (I can see people just slipping back to their usual technique when not using them!)
  • It could mask (and even promote) a poor technique because your times are good due to the extra force they create…

Personally I feel that casual swimmers simply use them as an ego boost at the pool, and it really bugs me when lane swimming in a busy pools’ fast lane that those users don’t space themselves, insisting on banging into my feet for the few lengths (at a time) they wear these things for. It doesn’t prove anything, and for the rest of the swim I simply adjust my stroke or starting space accordingly so as not to impact on their swim (as generally I am faster than them over a sustained swimming distance).

For me it is far more important and sensible to work on several stroke techniques, one for powerful strokes to sprint or create extra lift when you need to, and one for endurance and efficiency, keeping energy in the arms whilst maintaining a decent pace over distance. To enable me to develop my power I have been supplementing my swimming with a varied strength and flexibility training program, which is seeing real positive gains in the pool/lake/sea whilst greatly restricting any injury issues…

I’m no expert, but I’m starting to dread my pool sessions because of these people… I hope they aren’t out in force tomorrow morning!

Rant over… 😉

Paul.

P.S. I would love to hear what swimmers reading this think, please leave a comment… do you use paddles? 🙂

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Posted by on 31 August, 2013 in Injury, Swimming, Triathlon

 

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Beetroot – Athletic Performance Enhancer?!

One of channel 4’s ‘Food Hospital’ episodes got us much more interested in Beetroot recently. We always enjoyed eating it in salads or roasted with other vegetables, but after seeing that it could actually enhance performance, we thought it warranted more research and maybe some ‘testing’ of our own!

Beetroot is a great source of antioxidants and nutrients (including; magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, iron & vitamin C). It is also rich in nitrates which the body uses to dilate the blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure. So during exercise it can effectively increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles! Long term it can help prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, as well as being a very healthy food to consume as it contains very little fat and is carbohydrate rich.

I found details of a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter, England, which compared the effects of acute use of beetroot juice (one serving taken 2.5 hours before exercise) and chronic beetroot juice consumption (5 and 15 days) on blood pressure, the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and performance in an incremental exercise test.
They found that a single dose of beetroot juice was as effective in lowering blood pressure, reducing the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, and boosting peak power in an incremental exercise test as 15 days of beetroot juice consumption!
I also found that past studies have shown it can reduce blood pressure in as little as 24 hours. Astonishing findings, effectively meaning that consuming beetroot regularly, or at least during the days leading up to a major event or training session can improve your body’s athletic performance!

We conducted our own mini-trial… Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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