When it comes to improvement in swimming our mind tend to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s the big change, the big moment that leads us to crush the best time. Let’s have a look at some Swimming Science of Warm-up.
The swimming Science Behind an Awesome Warm-Up
While you probably know that warming up is a good idea (it’s been drilled into you since your first organized swim practice, after all), do you know why it’s actually done?
Warming up gets your body to swim fast in a few different ways:
- Core and body temperature.
- nervous system.
- Warms up your lungs.
- Increases oxygen.
- It raises core and body temperature. Heightened body temperature decreases the viscous resistance of muscles and joints, making your arms and legs more pliable and increase the range of motion.
- Fires up your nervous system. This is where you regain your feel for the water, and also primes the fast twitch stuff (hence why the coach has you do a couple sprints towards the end of your meet warm-up). Warming up has been shown to improve nerve conduction rate and also speeds up metabolic reactions (phosphate degradation in particular).
- Warms up your lungs. Ever noticed that when you first get in the water you can barely hold your breath long enough to do more than a couple dolphin kicks off each wall? And that by the end of warm-up you can destroy your walls no problem? Your warm-up also acts as a respiratory warm-up, helping you avoid gasping for breath like an amateur during your races later in the session.
- Increases oxygen delivery. Oxygen is the fuel of our swimming . We can only go so long without oxygen before our performance declines and us eventually, like, die and stuff. A nice little warm-up has been shown to increase oxygen delivery to muscles.
How Long Should Swimmers Warm-Up For?
We all have that warm-up that we lean on (or at least we should) when we go to competition. We know that no matter how we are feeling, or what is going on outside the pool, that we can do our template warm-up and be ready to race.
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A study done with a group of group of NCAA swimmers had them do three different warm-ups:
- No warm-up.
- A warm-up consisting of a 50-yard swim at 40% intensity.
- A typical pre-race warm-up.
44% of the swimmers performed best after a regular warm-up, 19% after the 50-yard swim at 40% intensity, and most interestingly, 37% after no warm-up.
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