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Planning to try lap swimming tomorrow. Any tips for a novice?

(22 Posts)
IlanaK Fri 05-Aug-11 20:54:47

I have joined a Virgin Active club for one month and will have the opportunity to swim tomorrow while my husband swims with the kids. I would really like to try swimming laps to help tone my stomach and arms. I have lost over 5 and a half stone and have lots of flab! I run three times a week which has been great for my legs and general fitness but I thought a month of swimming would be good for me.

I do know how to swim but I am not great. I had some re-fresher lessons a couple of years ago but did nothing with it since then. Backstroke is my best stroke, but I can also do do front crawl to some degree. I can do breastroke, but my technique is terrible.

So, do I just jump in and start swimming until I can't go any further? Or is it better to do a lap at a time and rest in between so I end up doing more laps?

Any tips gratefully received!

IlanaK Fri 05-Aug-11 21:45:33

Hopeful bump!

beanlet Fri 05-Aug-11 21:48:53

Start really slowly and gently, don't do very many laps at first and build up a couple more each day. I tend to do alternate breaststroke with kicking to exercise both arms and legs. And if you are going faster than everyone else in the slow lane cos you're doing backstroke, PLEASE change lanes.

Earlybird Fri 05-Aug-11 21:48:59

I am not an experienced (or regular) lap swimmer, but find it works best to alternate strokes as some are more tiring than others. Maybe try one length each of front crawl-breastroke-backstroke, and then begin the rotation again.

Earlybird Fri 05-Aug-11 21:49:42

And congratulations on the weight loss - that is brilliant!

IlanaK Fri 05-Aug-11 21:54:16

Thank you both! When you say alternate breastroke with kicking, do you mean just kicking across the pool not using arms? Or holding a float?


LakeFlyPie Fri 05-Aug-11 21:55:13

I'm not sure about lap swimming, is it more complicated than doing lots of lengths?
I usually do about 30 lengths mostly breaststroke with a few of backstroke thrown in.
I love swimming, find the rhythm of it really relaxing in a meditative way.

I've found The Art of Swimming site helpful for improving my breaststroke technique

dunkindonut Fri 05-Aug-11 22:08:28

I used to swim loads. Wasn't great to start with but built up to swimming quite long distances.

I started swimming for 30 minutes at a time. I would swim a couple of lengths then rest then swim a few more lengths then rest. I used to swim a combination of breast stroke and crawl. Before long you will find that you can swim continuously. Just take it easy and go at your own pace.

I'm using the same technique for running. (Still not very good at the moment though!)

beanlet Fri 05-Aug-11 22:10:41

Kicking with a float.

IlanaK Fri 05-Aug-11 22:10:46

Thanks everyone. I think I will do a length or two and ee how I feel. Then maybe rest at one end stretching a it. Then swim some more. I really want to be able to swim well! We will be in Florida for four weeks from mid December and I will have access to a private pool everyday so it seems good for me to build this up now.

beanlet Fri 05-Aug-11 22:12:21

Lake fly, lengths = laps. Different Anglophone countries use different words, but it's the same thing.

IlanaK Fri 05-Aug-11 22:13:55

Oops, sorry about the length/lap thing. I grew up in the US so am I using an Americanism?

beanlet Fri 05-Aug-11 23:38:24

Don't apologise!

bruffin Sat 06-Aug-11 00:19:16

I do an advanced swimming lesson a week. We always start with 4 lengths each of front crawl, back stroke and breaststroke warmuo. You shouldn't really start on breaststroke and is the stroke that may injure you if you haven't warmed up properly. We do lots of drills which make it a bit more interesting

ie backstroke, do 3 strokes left arm, then 3 strokes right arm, 2 left, 2 right, 1 left , 1 right then back to 3 stroke on each arm,

We also do something called catch up which you can do on both front crawl and back stroke. [[ catch up]] Also pracitise breathing on 3 or 5 strokes

For breaststroke the glide is really important so try and do the minimum amount of strokes to get across the pool, then try to reduce it.
You can also do 2 arm strokes to 1 leg pull or 1 arm stroke to 2 leg pulls.
Also swim on your back doing just breast stroke legs

bruffin Sat 06-Aug-11 00:20:06

sorry link to catch up

IlanaK Sat 06-Aug-11 12:39:31

Thanks everyone for the tips. I swam this morning. I ma nagged front crawl and back stroke well. I think I will give up on breastroke as I just couldn't get it right. I did about 20 lengths with rests in between. I am quite pleased with myself! Will try some more on Monday.

ivykaty44 Sun 07-Aug-11 10:30:44

try this

Ifancyashandy Wed 24-Aug-11 20:25:50

Great thread! I swim lengths regularly - I do 45 lengths in 35 mins, always breast stroke with goggles.

Bruffin, one thing I always wonder is how to warm up for swimming? I know I sometimes injure my shoulder tendons from over use but I'm rubbish at front crawl (it would be antisocial of me!). Any tips?

Wiifitmama Wed 24-Aug-11 20:33:41

So pleased to see this is still running. I had a name change since I started the thread but it is still me!

I have been building up the swimming and today managed 1 km. The pool is 250 metres and I swam 40 laps broken up into 4 sets of 10. I do 2 front crawl then 2 back stroke etc. I do a whole load of stomach crunches in the water between sets. It took me 50 minutes to do this today so I know I am slow.

I got home and order some swim gloves to try to improve my workout.

Ifancyashandy Wed 24-Aug-11 21:47:14

Wow! Good for you! 250 meter pool is massive too!

Wiifitmama Wed 24-Aug-11 21:50:38

Sorry! That's a typo! 25 meter pool! 25 x 40 is 1 km I think. 250 meter pool would be ridiculous!

Ifancyashandy Wed 24-Aug-11 23:10:53

Haha! I did wonder grin!

Still bloody good going though!'

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