Swimming is a useful and, in my opinion, necessary component of general physical fitness. We all know the basic benefits of swimming, which you hear anytime somebody talks about it: no impact, works all muscle groups, etc. But I’m going to tell you why it’s a good addition to CrossFit.
Lalanne Fitness demonstrating an awesome WOD in the Bay.
1. It helps improve shoulder mobility. Every stroke, you really need to concentrate on lengthening your body and reaching with your arms. You’ll do this a couple hundred times during a swimming workout, but without the stress of a barbell or your bodyweight.
2. It develops midline stamina - particularly in the hollow position. CrossFit has a large focus on the posterior chain, but I’ve seen plenty of people who are weak in the hollow position. Having a strong hollow body position is useful for many gymnastics skills, as well as for maintaining proper muscular balance. Swimming lets you work the hollow position for a considerable amount of time, at a lower resistance level than out of the water.
3. It teaches you how to breathe. Everybody knows how to breathe, obviously, but controlling your breathing during a CrossFit workout allows you keep your heart rate lower and not feel like you’re an inch from dying. When you swim, no matter how tired you are, you simply cannot take rapid gasping breaths, you have to focus on taking regular, deep breaths. If your training includes underwater swimming, your body will learn to make better use of oxygen.
4. It is excellent for recovery. Most people don’t like ice baths, despite the amazing anti-inflammatory effects. If you’re swimming in cool water (doesn’t have to be ice cold), you can get a similar effect.
5. CrossFit is supposed to help you develop the athletic ability to do just about anything well. One of the main ideas of the CrossFit philosophy is to be ready for whatever life throws at you. Well, 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, so if you want to be ready for life, there’s no excuse to not know how to swim.
So, why am I writing a post on swimming so early in the year? Well, it just so happens that we are doing a swimming class as part of our Tough Mudder Training Course. Even if you have no plans to do Tough Mudder, you should still come to this class because we’re teaching things that are so useful and beneficial to your overall fitness. Also, it’s fun!
If you’re interested, sign up on the Tough Mudder Training registration form in the gym. Or you can meet us at the YMCA pool this Saturday (03/24). Class starts at 6:00 PM, and costs $40.00.
See you in the gym– or at the pool.