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Thread: swimming

  1. #1
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    swimming

    Is swimming free style beneficial cross training for cycling and what are the benefits.

  2. #2
    LMN
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    Swimming is as beneficial for cycling as cycling is for swimming.

    There is one main benifit; the increased muscle in the shoulders help keep them in place when you hit the ground. Other then that the benefits for cycling are very minimal.

    That being said you are better off going for a swim then doing nothing at all.

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    As a former collegiate swimmer (for UGA), I would say you'll benefit most from increasing your VO2 max. If you ever get winded on long, steep climbs, that could definitely help.

    Also, you'd be better prepared for an Xterra race, and they're just plain fun!
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    everybody's forgetting about the hip flexors...

    I've been swimming and training for xc for over a year now and since I started it I have noticeda drop in fatigue in my hip flexors on long rides. This could be to do with the training on the bike, but swimming definately helps strengthen the hip flexors. Aswell as core strenth and most of the same muscles as you use when you are pulling on the handlebars to control the bike. On top of that it can increase your VO2 max and lactate threshold, but that is dependant on the type of swimming you do.

    Bottom line is the best way to train for cycling is to cycle, but for cross training purposes yes biking is very beneficial

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    Trev,

    Out of curiosity, what did it feel like when you experienced "fatigue in your hip flexors"? I don't think I've ever felt this on long rides (e.g. centuries, 6 & 12 hour endurance races). Is this common amongst fit cyclists?
    Tire Design & Development Engineer. The opinions expressed in this forum are solely my own.

  6. #6
    BDT
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    A great low-impact workout imo. The more I swim the better my back/arms/shoulders feel on 4+ hr rides.

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    You know what kind of training is good for cycling? Cycling.

    but doing other things is always a good idea if you want to be a well rounded athlete/person.

  8. #8
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    A good workout with a kickboard would help you more than swimming freestyle. Of course swimming is an all around workout, and will help you in general. You'll be more fit swimming than not swimming - it's an excellent core exercise.

    Unfortunately you don't use your core muscles all that much for cycling. Freestyle itself uses primarily upper body muscles. It works the triceps and traps more than anything else, as well as the biceps, forearms and abs to a lesser extent. If you ever experience back pain or arm fatigue on rides, swimming is your ticket.

    You'll probably find that your legs don't get much out of swimming because cycling is obviously a much more intense leg workout. As stated, the benefits are geared towards your cardio fitness. As a competitive swimmer who did a lot of interval training geared towards endurance swims, I've found I have a faster recovery time (useful during team races) and I have very good endurance on extremely long rides.

    ....my $.02

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    I think swimming is a great way of strengthening the core, stretching out the back muscles, and resting the legs. But I have to swim anyway (for Xterra training) and have decent form from a few years of doing workouts with a masters swim club. I wouldn't recommend it as cycling training for someone who doesn't already swim. But if you already have access to a pool, it can be a great relaxing, unwinding half-hour. Use a pull buoy.

  10. #10
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    Swimming is great for your pipes.

    And, as banging from one wall to the next and back again ad nauseum is mind numbingly boring, it builds that long wavelength endurance in the mind which really comes in handy. Sure beats riding a trainer facing a brick wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    And, as banging from one wall to the next and back again ad nauseum is mind numbingly boring,
    Speak for yourself. I find it relaxing, not boring. In fact, since I usually swim during my lunch hour, I'd often prefer to stay in the water longer.

  12. #12
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    Swimming will do amazing things for your breathing.

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    i picked up swimming two years ago when I started doing tris. I attribute the significant increase in my mountain bike performance to the cardio workout Swimming provided me. I won the TT series and third in point series. Swimming is the MAJOR reason for that improvement from the year before.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bholwell
    Trev,

    Out of curiosity, what did it feel like when you experienced "fatigue in your hip flexors"? I don't think I've ever felt this on long rides (e.g. centuries, 6 & 12 hour endurance races). Is this common amongst fit cyclists?
    It is a burning/sore sensation on the upper area of your hips, depending on how you pedal your bike you may not ever tire out your hip flexors. Power cranks can help you use you hip flexors more and increase the efficiency of your pedal stroke. I havent used them but swimming definately helped me have a more efficient pedal stroke by strenghtening my hip flexors

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    A more constant pedal stroke isn't necessarily more efficient.

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