Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Okay, I'm about to get All the Hate, but I gotta say it.

Swimming doesn't make you very strong.

*covers head and waits for storm*

I'd promised myself that I would start doing some dryland work this fall/winter training season for a lot of reasons.

  • I'm middle-aged and need to think in terms of bone density.  Swimming does bugger all for that.  You want weight bearing exercises and I can't think of anything much more weight bearing than a barbell squat. (I'm nuts.  It's my favorite lift)
  • I had been advised to get some weight training in by a swim coach.
  • Honestly?  For all my cracks about the awfulness of dryland training, I rather like pumping iron.
I did my workout upstairs in the weight room this morning and holy crap, I am much, much weaker than I thought I would be.  I mean, benchpress only the bar, and squatting less than a hundred pounds?  For me, that's weak.

I do meet one of my real-life strength benchmarks* -- can I easily change a five gallon water bottle in the office?  Yes.  It only weighs forty pounds.  (If one of my male co-workers offers, I thank 'em and say yes with a bright smile, but I grew up in the South.  You tend to do that).

Did swimming take me from where that was hard to where that was easy?  Yeppers.

But that's as far as it could take me in a year.  When I was lifting a lot, I was much, much stronger.

I know there's some debate on how much good strength training does for swim speed.  And goodness knows I cannot afford to lose speed!

I'm training anyway for a few months just to see where it goes.  I figure there's no real downside to getting a bit stronger, and if it screws up my swimming, well, I pay the same price at the gym to be in the pool as well as the weight room and can go back to pool only training.

I have a feeling that in my case, though, I'm going to see some speed improvements.

* I wrote it several years ago. 

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