If I want to swim faster or for longer I need swimming endurance! But what is endurance and how can I build it?
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Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. It is one of the components of muscular fitness, along with muscular strength and power.
There are different types of endurance. So first we need to focus on your goal. Do you want to swim a 50 or a 100 freestyle very fast holding a sprint velocity or do you want to swim a marathon? These two require different types of endurance. In fact they require different types of muscle fibers. The type one or slow twitch fibers are more for long distance, type 2a or fast twitch oxydative are for middle distance and Type 2b or fast twitch glycolytic are for short sprints. We all naturally have a pre-disposition to have more of one type of fibers than others, the good news is that there is overwhelming evidence that some muscle fibers can change from one type to another with training.
For the most part and in general terms if you want to build endurance for long distances you need to swim longer distances without stopping. The intensity doesn’t need to be very high. Increasing the distance or the intensity over time is one way to increase your long distance endurance.
If you want to build endurance for short distances it is recommended to train in short intense intervals with rest periods in between. To increase sprint endurance sometimes swimmers increase the resistance with bands, weights or parachutes in short but intense distances like 10 or 25 meters. It is a good idea to compliment this type of training with dry land training such as plyometrics and/or olympic lifts. Olympic lifts are highly technical and should only be done with professional supervision.
Swimming endurance is not the only thing that will make you swim faster and longer. There are other factors like VO2 max, lactate threshold, pain tolerance but the most important factor, specially for a beginner is the swimming technique. In fact that is why 90 percent of the content of this channel focuses on swimming technique. So if you want to learn more consider subscribing.
If you are looking for swimming workouts that combine swimming technique with endurance, we offer just that. We have three levels of difficulty you can choose from.
Go to skillswimming.com/swimming-workouts/
to find out more.
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