Warm-up in Swimming • Warming up before competition is important because it prepares the body for greater effort and reduces the risk of muscle and joint injury. • All swimmers, whether they are involved in a 1500 m race or a 50 m race, need a warm-up. It can last from 20 minutes to an hour. • Most swimmers and coaches choose the intensity and duration of warm-up intuitively or based on what has been successful in the past. • Understanding the reasons why warming up is helpful in development of a warm-up protocol.
Benefits of Warm-up • Good warm-up provides rehearsal effect. Swimmers rehearse swimming technique, starts, turns, and intensity prior to race. It familiarizes the swimmer with the pool conditions. • Joints and muscles increase flexibility and thus improve stroke efficiency. • Muscles can contract faster and relax more completely. That reduces the chance for injuries. • Economy of physiological systems increases 20%-30% after warm-up. Swimmer can swim longer before fatigue during the race if warm up was executed properly.
Benefits of Warm-up • The resultant increase in body temperature and heart rate takes physiological systems closer to the “competition state”. • The rate of blood flow increase. This helps to deliver oxygen and glucose to the muscles. • Blood and muscle lactate accumulation decreases after warm-up.
Types of Warm-up • There are two types of warm-up: general and specific. • The purpose of general warm-up is to increase the functional potential of the body as the whole. • Specific warm-up is related to swimming activity prior to race. • A general warm-up usually consists of stretching and flexibility exercises. • A specific warm-up consists of swimming exercises.
General Warm-up • Increases functional potential of the body. • Consists of stretching and flexibility, including most important joints: • Shoulders • Lower back • Knees • Ankles • Usually about 10 minutes
Specific Warm-Up • Increases specific working capacity prior to racing. • Usually swimming last 20 to 60 minutes depending on individual experience and distance orientation. • Theoretically, the shorter competitive distance, the longer and more intense the warm-up should be: 50 meter swimmers should swim longer and faster during warm-up than 1500 m swimmers. • Moderate effort to encourage blood flow and heating of the body. • Some intense swimming is required to mimic race pace and technique.
Stages of Specific Warm-Up • Easy swimming for 10-20 minutes. Swimming, pulling, kicking, and stroke drills are included. • Repeats of different distances at race pace. That increases “feeling” of race swimming technique and warms physiological systems. Usually, sprinters swim shorter distance with long rest interval and higher number of repetition. Distance swimmers swim longer distances with short rest interval and low number of repetitions. • Starts and turns. Practicing starts and turns at the competition swimming pool is recommended. The swimmer should check the wall of the pool in his/her race lane. Some walls may be slippery. It may effect swimming performance. The backstrokers should count the number of strokes it takes to go from the overhead flags to the turn. • Easy swimming for 5 minutes. That helps in recovery after starts and turns.
Specific Warm-Up • Specific warm-up should finish 15-20 minutes before race. • If the delay between warm-up and the race is greater than 20 minutes, the physiological effects of warm-up can be lost. • Therefore some stretching exercises during this time are recommended. This will maintain muscle heating and higher heart rate. • By doing this, the swimmer’s body will settle more quickly into the race. This will lead to longer swim without fatigue.
Example of a Warm-Up for a Sprinter (50m) • Stretching of shoulders, lower back, knees, and ankles for 5-10 minutes. • 400 easy swim to “feel” the water. • 600 stroke, pull and kick drills. • 6 x 25 on a comfortable interval at race pace. • 400 stroke drills. • 4 x 25 on a comfortable interval at race pace with turns. • 200 recovery swim. • 3-4 starts. • 100 recovery swim
Example of Warm-Up for a Distance Swimmer (1500m) - Stretching of shoulders, lower back, knees, and ankles for 5-10 minutes. • 600 easy swim to “feel” the water. • 400 stroke, pull and kick drills. • 100 race pace. • 200 stroke drills. • 4 x 50 on 20 sec. interval at race pace with turns. • 200 recovery swim • 1-2 starts • 400 recovery swim