Best Swimming Workouts for Speed and Power Development for Elite Swimmers

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Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2012 20:54

     Being a top level swimmer takes dedication, hard work, and efficient training.  Getting in the weight room and adding resistance training to your workout programs is absolutely crucial to advance speed and power development and creating what is the best workout to excel in the water.  We sit down with Bucky Buchanan to go over what goes into an elite swimmer's workout program.  Buchanan will explain speed and power development and how to incorporate it into your strength and conditioning workout program.  Buchanan also breaks down the phases of physical development as swimmers train for their upcoming seasons.  Resistance training, both in and out of the water, is essential for developing better times.

     Buchanan was the captain of his college swim team from 2006 to 2008, he earned the coaches award in 2006 and in 2007, he was on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, and he was a Coleman-Lew Award recipient in 2007. Bucky Buchanan was a scholarship division one swimmer in college, where he graduated with a BS in health and human performance.  While in college, Buchanan led the Men’s Swim team to its first CCSA conference championship in 2008. Buchanan has spent a lot of time as a mentor, teacher, and coach of children, teens, and young adults.




      Swimming Video Transcription: In the weight room I’d said that it is about half of half of what you are doing. You get a warm up in, a dynamic warm up, we did a lot of foam rolling, swimming beats you up a bit. And then we workout, we do a lot of Lat pull downs, pull-ups, we even did a lot of power cleans which helped work on power development you know, you are getting off the blocks and off the wall, that's power and strength so you have to do it. So I mean you go through the different phases of training, between the hypertrophy phase, which is where you are increasing your actual muscle size, and then you add strength to that and then once you reach there you can add some power. So, you sort of follow that pattern, in the weight room, and then in the water itself, part of the fifty freestyle or the hundred freestyle is strength in the water. We have bands that you tied to a block or a person holds it and you either do resistance swimming or assistance swimming.


      Resistance swimming is where you're swimming against the resistance of the band so you are swimming away from the band. Assistance swimming is where somebody may be pulling the band towards themselves while you are swimming in the direction of the band or you are just letting the band pull you. Each of them have their own means of program design. If you are resistance training, you are developing a lot of strength and your stroke length. While with the assistance swimming training you are developing frequency, so your turnover rate, how fast you can move your arms. Part of that is also getting used to the feeling of moving fast in the water. When you are moving slow, you float one way, when you float fast, you float another way.


     A lot of coaches, and swimmers, tend to over focus on abdominal strength. It is absolutely true that you should definitely focus on your abdominal strength, your core is the big chunk of your swimming between rotation, and stability,and buoyancy. But also, I think that coaches get away from just because a swimmer can do 500 situps doesn't mean that he is getting stronger. So, for us, something that we would do is we would add resistance to it, maybe a person would be holding her legs down as you raise them up keeping your legs straight, or maybe we would do it with weights that you're keeping over your head as you do it over and over. So, you are not reinventing the wheel, so to speak, but simply making sure that you are applying specificity to your weight workouts. Doing 500 sit-ups and 1000 sit-ups, which I'm sure that everybody has done at some point in their life especially because of what the coach said to do, but as you learn things and as you grow, you learn that that this is not exactly developing strength in your muscular system.





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