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  1. #1
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Swimming in addition to Cycling

    I was wondering if anyone crossed trained by adding swimming to their training?

    I've recently started swimming laps at one of the local indoor pools once a week. The first time I could only do 20 laps. But the last two weeks I've done 36 laps (1/2 mile). I'm hoping to get up to a mile.

    But in just these 3 weeks I've actually noticed a marked improvement to my cardio. I'm not getting nearly as winded on hills. My cadence is much higher without being so winded. I still don't go super high with my cadence because I still have a hard time keeping it under control if I go above 95 rpm.

    Yesterday, I was on a long not-so-steep hill (maybe 4 or 5% grade) and I noticed that I was in that zone... the 85 RPM and just cranking along... not getting winded at all and none of the "I hope this ends soon" burn in my thighs. It was a great feeling. Plus, my spinning faster in the same gear, I was going much faster up the hills than I normally do. My AVG mph was much higher.


    I'm definitely going to keep the swimming going... and I'm thinking I might even do this when the weather is REALLY bad and I don't want to ride my bike to work.

    Anyone else cross train by swimming?

    PBW

  2. #2
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    That's a really interesting idea...I've never learned to swim properly, so it's agony for me to do more than a few laps. Another neglected cross-trainig tool is, believe it or not, jump roping! If you haven't tried it for a while, it's a lot more difficult than it looks...as well as being a superb cardio workout. Best of all, it can be done anywhere and anytime with the cheapest of equipment.

  3. #3
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    yes, a good idea poppa. I've never been big on jumping rope. I'm definitely a clydesdale, so jumping and running really hurt my knees. I am hoping to lose a lot of weight and start doing triathlons. But until I get down to a proper weight, I'm not going to even try running. But the rope jumping is definitely a great idea when I do get to that weight.

    I grew up on the swim team, so swimming is like second nature to me. Not to mention, I lived on a lake during the summers when my parents would send me and my sis off to live with the grandparents (LOL... who ever said parents were stupid?). So, I've always loved swimming and it's a great activity that is also easy on the knees and joints. I had just forgotten how great it is for the cardio.

    PBW

  4. #4
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    I would love to but don't have access to a pool...I think swimming is one of the better ways to do cardio. It is tough to do, great cardio, low impact (much needed after a season of mtb)...


  5. #5
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    I would love to but don't have access to a pool...I think swimming is one of the better ways to do cardio. It is tough to do, great cardio, low impact (much needed after a season of mtb)...

    I was lucky. I didn't want to join a spa or health club just to swim once a week. But I found these RECenters around here that are run by the county I think. It's $5.50 US each time. Or you can get a membership (monthly - $56) or just a 25 visit pass ($120). It's a tad pricey, but cheaper than paying $50/month for a health club membership when I'm only going to be going 4 or 5 times a month. I'm probably going to get their 25 visit pass here in a bit.

    A cool link I found that will help you find a pool in your area (supposed to be multi-national):

    http://www.swimmersguide.com/


    Good luck.

    PBW

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    i work at a pool. Without a doubt, swimming is the most boring exercise on the face of the planet. To me, I could jog across a completely empty room back and forth for an hour and be more stimulated.

    I'm a lifeguard, so I get to watch old people (young people have no time to swim except on swim team, and theres no need to guard them) swim back and forth, again and again.

    However, I have to swim to stay in shape for the inevitable lifeguard re-certification (200yds in 3:45, 25yds in 20 sec, grab 10lb. brick off deep end, hold it out of the water for a minute, drop it, then tread for another minute with hands out of water)

  7. #7
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    I'm impressed. That listing had all the pools actually listed in Whistler......I knew about them but like you the price for the sports centre here is steep and soooo not worth it

  8. #8
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    I'm impressed. That listing had all the pools actually listed in Whistler......I knew about them but like you the price for the sports centre here is steep and soooo not worth it

    Yeah totally not worth it. If I had not found these centers that let you pay per visit I would not have even started swimming. I can work out at the gym at work for free. If I did not have that option, then I would consider getting a membership to this place... but I see no reason to pay for something I already get for free.

    PBW

  9. #9
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    What about building upper body muscle that you don't need? Does swimming purely aerobic effect this do so? I'm actually thinking about joining the Y, but I really don't want alot of upper body muscle.
    Booyah!!

  10. #10
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fubar5
    What about building upper body muscle that you don't need? Does swimming purely aerobic effect this do so? I'm actually thinking about joining the Y, but I really don't want alot of upper body muscle.
    Upper body strength is very useful to mountain bikers...probably not roadies though...Swimming can put a lot of muscle in the back and arms...check out a lot of swimmers and they have massive backs compared to 'most' athletes...so swimming may not be your ticket...

  11. #11
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by fubar5
    What about building upper body muscle that you don't need? Does swimming purely aerobic effect this do so? I'm actually thinking about joining the Y, but I really don't want alot of upper body muscle.

    Well, it surely isn't like lifting weights. Yes you will have some muscle development. You'll definitely tone up and get leaner muscle in your upper body. Not to mention having a stronger back is going to benefit you in the long run. They say long distance cyclists need a stronger trunks and backs in order to last all those hours. Stronger, leaner arms are also going to help you in a sprint and when you stand and pull up hills. And as Maelstorm mentioned, it is definitely key for Mountain bikers.

    So overall, I think it's all good. Lance Armstrong did triathlons when he was younger. For me, my goal is to do a triathlon. Plus, I use to row crew and play football and weight lift 5 days a week, so my upper body is already big. At one point, I had 18 inch biceps. The muscles have shrunk significantly since then however. I'm hoping the swimming will help me trim down and make my muscles more lean.

    Swimming probably isn't for everyone, but it's good for most I would think. I was really just amazed at the cardio improvement I had in a meer 3 weeks.

    PBW "Swim, bike, couch potato... ahhhh"

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    Glad I found this thread. I have been thinking about getting in to the pool as well, we have an excellent pool at the high school where I teach, so I could swim every day if I wanted.
    Improved cardio and better muscle tone seem like the perfect combo to me.

  13. #13
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    Swimming is good cardio, but a lousy method if you think to lose weight.. it seems the cold water causes a ravenous appetite.
    ..........

    http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com...ch/swimming.htm


    Swimming weight loss

    Competitive swimmers typically burn many calories during a regular training session. However, their body fat levels are often higher than those of runners or cyclists who expend a similar amount of energy when they train.

    Some female swimmers, for example, find it extremely difficult to keep their body fat under control. Some of them have to add extra training (such as cycling or running) to their routine to avoid gaining excess weight.

    What's more, research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine shows that in the absence of a controlled diet, swimming has little or no effect on weight loss.

    Professor Grant Gwinup compared three exercise programs for three months. Each program began with up to 10 minutes of daily exercise. The length of each workout was increased by five minutes every week.

    Test subjects following the walking program lost 17 pounds of weight during the three-month study.

    Those following the cycling program lost 19 pounds of weight.

    However, subjects following the swimming program actually gained 5 pounds.

    It's also worth pointing out that the walkers and cyclists didn't lose much weight until they reached 30 minutes of exercise daily.

    Appetite

    Unfortunately, Professor Gwinup offers little explanation for the lack of weight loss in the swimmers. Previous studies show that ethnic groups spending a lot of time in water have the most body fat. The same holds true for Japanese female pearl divers, who are very fit but also very fat despite swimming for several hours each day.

    Assuming that all three groups burned a similar number of calories, the swimmers must have compensated by eating more.

    "Presumably," speculates Professor Gwinup, "swimming in cold water stimulates the appetite to increase caloric consumption."

    Indeed, there are suggestions that swimming doesn't cause the same drop in appetite that accompanies heavy running and cycling training. Many people feel extremely hungry after training in the pool, and may simply replace all the calories they've burned with a large post-exercise meal.

    Although there's no definitive explanation as to what's causing this increase in appetite, it could be due to the cool temperatures in which swimmers train. Most other forms of exercise, such as weight training, running, or cycling, leads to a rise in body temperature, which can suppress your appetite at least in the short term.

    Of course, this study isn't meant to put you off swimming. Any form of exercise, provided you expend a sufficient number of calories doing it, will help you lose weight. However, if you do want to use swimming as part of your weight loss program, make sure to guard against the tendency to eat more.
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  14. #14
    Breaker of Spokes P. B. Walker's Avatar
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    That makes sense. I was on a swim team when I was growing and nobody ever really lost alot of weight. I will say, that the pool I swim at is not cold at all. It's actually pretty hot in my opinion. I walk back into the lockerroom just about freeze to death. They keep the pool temp around 85.

    I also don't plan to swim alot, just once a week. It's mostly to supplement my cycling and to replace cycling on the days that the weather doesn't permit cycling.

    I'll keep that in mind though after I swim, the appetite thing I mean.

    Thanks for the info.

    PBW

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    In addition I want to mention that I had been doing cardio in the morning without breakfast for a couple of weeks..

    Didn't work! My cardio was longish most the time (starting with a 45 min bike ride to the gym) and also started about 1 hr after getting up... waaaaay to catabolic! (eating muscles etc.).
    The last time I went to the swimming pool and did cardio there it wasn't extremely early anymore... and though I did only a very mild cardio plus had had breakfast before, I hadn't eaten enough... or rather, breakfast had been too long ago and I should have had my 2nd meal right before leaving.

    I was nearly fainting at the end of my swimming session...bonking in the swimming pool indeed!

    So, I would recommend eating something right before swimming and control portion size after swimming..
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

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    Originally posted by Phatman
    i work at a pool. Without a doubt, swimming is the most boring exercise on the face of the planet. To me, I could jog across a completely empty room back and forth for an hour and be more stimulated.
    I swim and bike, but not because I am trying to cross train or something. I just like to swim (3 years of swimming in high school and actually liking it will do that). It's also nice to be able to exercise my upper body too... although neither will do anything about my gut, unless I want to do the Butterfly and annoy all the other lap swimmers.

    I have no idea if swimming helps my cycling... I just can say it didn't hurt to my knowledge.

    As for boring, it's just what frame of mind you want to be in. When I swim, the last thing I want is to be "stimulated". I like to kick my mind into neutral and get into a meditative state. I can get much thinking done doing laps too. Time goes by real quick when you get into an "alpha state". I guess cycling is when I get the "stimulation" I want from exercise.

    And lets face it, unless you are part of a club or group of friends, cycling can be awfully solitary. I've had great conversations at times resting in the corners of the pool.

  17. #17
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    lance armstrong swam 6 miles a day when he was 12 years old, and he's not a bad cyclist now, from what I hear...

    swimming is good for you in so many ways - as well as the other stuff people have said, it doesnt strain your heart anwhere near as much as other sports, bc the blood has only to flow horizontally

    re eating more, this is possibly true. I read in a great book on swimming (I'll dig it out if anyone's interested in the name) that it is a kind of blubber reaction - ie your body retains fat to protect itself from the cold-ish water

    anyway, lance armstrong is all I'll say again (fantastic book his autobiog, by the way)
    "Everybody knows that you love me baby; everybody knows that you really do; everybody knows that you've been faithful, give or take a night or two; and everybody knows that you've been discreet, but there were so many people you just had to meet; without your clothes; everybody knows." Leonard Cohen

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    Well, they say he ONLY became an excellent cyclist after his disease as he had been carrying around too much muscle mass on his upper body. Hence too heavy to be a good climber & racer,but perfect as a triathlete which he was.

    Cynical isn't it? Becoming a better cyclist because of wasted muscle mass?
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by fietser_ivana
    Well, they say he ONLY became an excellent cyclist after his disease as he had been carrying around too much muscle mass on his upper body. Hence too heavy to be a good climber & racer,but perfect as a triathlete which he was.

    Cynical isn't it? Becoming a better cyclist because of wasted muscle mass?
    I think that is only half the story, since he also loss mass (and therefore strength) from his legs. I can't remember the source, but I think it was some TV profile of Lance during the Tour de France credited Lance's supposedly freakish aerobic capacity allows him to pedal at much higher RPM in lower gears for longer times. If true, I'm sure the swimming helped.

    Of course, I'm probably horribly wrong since this is some dim memory of a TV show years ago.

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    he really does acknowledge that the cancer/chemo, having taken off all that weight, made him a much better long distance rider, and climber; rather than the one day racer he was. he feels that without it, he would not have won the TdF - I dont think I'm misquoting him here

    but the swimming made him strong as a youngster, which must've helped

    oh and anyway, we're not talking here about 6 miles a day, just a few lengths a week to keep in shape
    "Everybody knows that you love me baby; everybody knows that you really do; everybody knows that you've been faithful, give or take a night or two; and everybody knows that you've been discreet, but there were so many people you just had to meet; without your clothes; everybody knows." Leonard Cohen

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    Yesterday I did my first swim with new goggles and didn't concentrate on style or anything, just in trying to keep my head under water for longer periods of time..

    Though I didn't feel that I swam fast or anything.. it really really exhausted me... and appetite was indeed increased a lot!

    However, I think it is a wonderful tool for increasing lung capacity as I already notice that I'm breathing deeper than before...

    A miracle tool!!!
    vehicular cyclist : commuter - tourist - randonneur

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