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I've been swimming on my own for about a year and am now training under a coach for about 2 months. Earlier I did not focus on swimming fast but now the coach measures the time taken to swim.

I swim all 7 days a week two days for about 2.5 hours and 1 hour the other days. Sometimes the day after the 2.5 hour swimming day, there is an ache on my shoulder but I still swim for an hour. The ache is not there when swimming but occasionally comes when lifting the arm.

My question is, is it okay to swim all seven days like this or should there be a rest in-between to recover? Will having a rest in-between improve my speed?

  • It will not improve your speed, but your stamina is prolonged if the aching disappears... – Jacob Jan Tuinstra Jan 5 '14 at 15:33
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It is definitely a good idea to take a day in the week to rest. Just like someone who lifts during the week or has a serious workout regiment, a rest day is necessary for the muscles to recover and gain strength.It is a good idea for you to take that day to let your body re cooperate. THis should definitely help you gain strength in your arms and legs for swimming. If you feel like that day is detracting from your speed, then you could certainly run jump rope or something of that sort to help your cardio and endurance. Hope this helps!

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You can swim 14 times a week, like all swimmers have done at many occasions, if you want. "Rest days" in swimming is when you only go once and only 5k instead of 7.

Really, the talk about rest days is probably something they came up with in a bodybuilding gym, and sure, for us swimmers lifting every other day is probably good.

As for the ache in the shoulder, I think you should be diligent in stretching your pectoral muscles. As you know, a typical swimmer's stance is a bit hunched, because the big and strong chest muscles pull the shoulders forward. This increases stress on the small muscles on the back of the shoulder joint and may cause the pain you describe. Stretch your chest to return the shoulder to its proper place and to relieve the stress on the smaller muscles. Stretching in general also helps your swimming, since many of the movements we do are at the full range of motion of certain muscles. Swimming without being able to reach all the way is not what you want.

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