i've always been a runner but lately i've taken up swimming and i realize i don't have a clue about it fitness-wise. is swimming a cardio workout or resistance training (feels like a bit of both actually)? what muscle groups am i predominately working? and if i sprint a lap and then take a breather would that qualify as HIIT? sorry for the silly questions, basically all i know is that it does wonders for my tan so i'd really like to stick with it any insight would be appreciated. thanks.
Is swimming a cardio workout or resistance training?
What muscle groups am i predominately working?
Pretty much all of them.
If i sprint a lap and then take a breather would that qualify as HIIT?
Only if you're going anaerobic i.e. Getting your heart rate up to around 90% of your max rate. I'm not much of a swimmer, but I'd say it's pretty hard to do that when swimming. Maybe a swimmer can tell you better though.
I swim a lot and to push your heart rate up to 90% takes some doing. Most people just piddle up and down and I wonder what the point is.
Crawl is harder so it will get your heart up quicker. Breaststroke is the easy option, you can use beaststroke but you really need to push it. You must get your face in the water otherwise you'll hurt your neck.
My workout is 1500 meters (60 lengths of a 25 meter pool) in 30 mins, then 15 mins interval training 3 x week.
The 30 mins is for weight maintenance @ 65% max heart rate.
The interval training consists of 100 meters as fast as poss with as few strokes as poss, 2 mins rest x 10.
If you're a runner, swimming will probably be an easy option for you since it's non weight bearing. Make sure you are very disciplined in your workouts.
I use the gym aswell for weight bearing exercises because the body is amazingly adept becoming used to the same exercise.
It's taken me about a year to be able to do that, but really that's nothing for a competitive swimmer. Those guys do that just as a warm up a couple of times a day.
It's a major workout for me.
I went onto a swimmer's forum for advice and was told that most serious swimmers do 2000 meters per 30 mins. Now that is impressive.
I crawl 25 meters then breaststroke the other and alternate like that for 60 lengths.
It's all about technique, if your technique is good you'll be faster and will have better endurance.
Get some lessons if poss.
Swim at least 2 x week, set yourself goals. Use a clock and time yourself. Gradually you will improve but I cannot stress enough that technique is king.
Personally, I'm self taught but I have read books so there is an element of teaching. It's just taken me longer to be where I want to be and I'm still not that good.
It's not that hard really.
Note of warning though, it is pretty boring ploughing up and down. If you learn how to tumbleturn, it gives you more to think about....like trying not to drown!!!!
Also there are swimming aids like floats and paddles which, if used correctly can improve technique.
Swimming is like anything, to be good you have to practice.