The purpose of this article is to discuss the benefits of strength training and the factors that need to be considered when designing a program for a competitive swimmer. We will also discuss a functional approach to strength training and show you how it can be incorporated with a more traditional approach. IHPSWIM’s philosophy is that each style of training has its benefits and therefore should be integrated together. This article will conclude with an example of one our daily strength programs.
Strength training provides far too many benefits to simply just throw together a program full of random exercises with no rhyme or reason. Just as swim coaches plan, periodize, and vary intensity and volume, the same should be done for their strength program. With a well designed strength program athletes will see great improvements in strength, power, an increase in muscle mass (if desired), core strength, and most importantly you will see less overuse injuries. Overuse injuries tend to happen because of muscle imbalances. A good strength program will include exercises that address these imbalances as well.
For the purpose of this article, let’s first start by defining what traditional lifts are. These are your standard barbell squats, bench press, lat pull down and machine exercises (ie. Nautilus) that are more oriented towards muscle isolation, a fixed range of motion and single plane movement. These types of exercises are great for developing growth in lean muscle tissue and increasing strength and power. What they lack is the ability to increase core strength and are restrictive when it comes to performing exercises that include multi-limb and multi-directional movement. Exercises that are multi-limb and multi directional in nature and movement oriented have been labeled “functional training” by some of the leaders in the fitness industry. This type of training is based on the idea of training movements (multiple muscle groups working together as a unit) and not isolated muscle groups. Integrating traditional and functional exercises into a strength program provides the benefits from each approach. The obstacle that coaches may face is getting all of this in with only a limited amount of time set aside for training done out of the water. The sample workout in this article will demonstrate a very easy way to make this work.
Shown below is an example of an upper body power phase workout when training in the weight room 2 days a week. Day # 1 focuses on upper body power and Day #2 focuses on the lower body power (not shown). Every workout contains a traditional, functional, core and rotational exercises.
The power phase typically lasts 4 weeks but can vary depending on other variables. Please note that the power phase is only done after a general conditioning/hypertrophy phase (high volume, low to moderate intensity) and a strength phase (low volume, high intensity) are performed at some point in almost all cases.
The first circuit on Tuesday starts off with the Lat pulldown. Perform 5 reps and then take a 45 second rest period followed by 5 medicine ball slams. This combination is a version of complex training, a type of strength training that is used to develop power. Every circuit will start with a variation of this combination which is a traditional lift followed by an explosive movement (after a 45 second rest) that is similar to the movements and muscle groups performed in the traditional lift. The 3rd exercise is the diagonal cable chop (Figure 1) which is a great exercise for the strengthening rotation in the core. The 3rd exercise represents a functional or core exercise. This circuit will be repeated 3 times.
The 2nd circuit of the day starts with a traditional machine row followed by an explosive recline rope pull (Figure 2). We use a very thick rope that is looped over monkey bars. This movement needs to be fast and should result in there being slack in the rope at the top of the exercise. This is followed by a 1 legged squat which is great for developing leg strength, hip stability and requires no equipment. Progress this exercise by increasing the range of motion, as long as control and proper technique can be maintained throughout. Never perform exercises that are out of control and sloppy.
The 3rd and final circuit of the day begins with a 1 arm Dumbbell Row. After the 45 second rest period an explosive pull – up is performed. The objective here is to perform a fast pull – up and slightly catch air. The regular pull up MUST be mastered before doing this. This is a very advanced exercise and should only be performed by athletes that have above average pulling strength and no shoulder problems. The 3rd exercise is the T – stabilization push – up which can be performed on an incline if to difficult to perform properly on the ground. This exercise is a great core and shoulder stabilization exercise.
At the end of all 3 circuits we usually do 3 fast rope climbs for time. Depending on the level of strength, we can perform this with the assistance of the legs, no legs, and finally the hardest version, which is starting from the seated position off of the floor.
There is no one style of training that is the end all be all. Limiting yourself to only doing traditional exercises or only doing functional exercises is limiting the potential of you and your athletes. These circuits make it easy to integrate everything together and get the best of the different training methods out there. Our goal at IHPSWIM is to help swimmers and coaches organize and implement a solid strength and dryland program.
For more information on our training philosophy check out our DVD titled LAPS:Functional Dryland Training for Swimmers or email Grif at Grif@ihpfit.com. I hope this article will help you meet your goals and get you the results you want!
In most situations coaches/boards/programs get bogged down with the organization of the project. I.e., “How will we do this? Who will take care of that? What’s our timeline on this?”
While these are all necessary considerations, in general, people need to spend significantly less time with the organization of a project.
Instead, they need to think more about the purpose, galvanize more the vision of how cool the outcome might really people, create and collect more potentially useful ideas and perspectives, and decide and distribute accountabilities for specific next actions more consistently.
Do we know why we are doing this? Have we fully opened our brains to consider what the end result should look like? Have we thought outside the box, stretching appropriately into a wild vision of success? As we move to thinking about how we are going to do things, have we surfaced all the potentially relevant details and perspectives?
Only after factoring in these considerations can we effectively organize into structures, major components, sequences and priorities. Purpose, vision, brainstorm, next actions – If those additional four levels of thinking are sufficient, you’ll have the right organization when you get to it and the appropriate moving parts actually in motion as well.
Remember, don’t mistake activity for productivity.
There is still time to sign up for ASCA Schools! AND…There are still spots available for COACHES and SWIMMERS at the CENTRAL STATES SWIM CLINIC!
Don’t delay – REGISTRATIONS can still be mailed at the pre-registration rate until May 6!!! Door registrations will be accepted on site.
Additionally, the hotel has extended the special clinic rate until Friday as well. Rooms are still available, but they are going quickly. Be sure to call soon to guarantee yours – rooms can be booked as available until Friday May 6 at the special clinic rate by calling (630) 573-8555.
The Central States Swim Clinic on May 14-15, 2011 will be held at the Oak Brook Marriott, in Oak Brook, IL.
If you wish to register for these additional courses, please note in the appropriate space on the clinic registration form and include payment payable to Central States Swim Clinic. These courses may be attended separately or in conjunction with the clinic.
Click below to register
Listed below is a list of ASCA Schools
*Age Group Sports Psychology
(May 12th: 1-5pm) $50.00
This course is designed to give coaches a clear and concise approach to developing their own mental training program for age group athletes. Areas covered are: organizing a program for your team and teaching methods; developing peak performance skills (relaxation, mental rehearsal, concentration) and how to practice these skills; and the teaching of life skills. (15 education credits)
*Working Successfully with Swimming Parents
(May 12th: 6-9pm) $50.00
This course is designed to provide you with “instant experience” and successful options in working with parents. Offers over 20 actual case studies and seven chapters of immediately useful, practical suggestions on how to be effective with your swim team parents. (15 education credits)
*The Physiology School
(May 13th: 9am-5pm) $60.00
The course is designed to give coaches a broad understanding of physiological principles and a working knowledge of season and workout design. Presented is the physiological basis for performance of the cardiovascular system, energy metabolism, swimming economy, type of training, fatigue mechanisms, and nutrition. Specific applications are presented including periodization of work and rest, workout design, taper, over training, strength and flexibility training. The school is conducted in simple, coach-oriented language that concentrates on conceptual understanding of the processes that lead to faster swimming and more effective training. (20 education credits)
*Creating Team Leadership
(May 13th: 6-8pm) $65.00/person
Previously ASCA has taught a class for just athletes. This course is for both coaches and athletes. Concepts to be covered will be what leadership is all about, how it applies in swimming, teaching the tools of being a leader & when to apply those tools. We will both teach the coach and teach the swimmer about leadership. This course is applicable to both real life and a swim team. It is designed so the coach & athlete can go home and educate their team about the skills of leadership.
The 2011 Clinic proudly offers the following prestigious line-up of speakers and Olympians:
- Dave Salo: ’08, ’04 & ‘00 Olympic Coach, Author, Head Coach USC Men & Women
- Brett Hawke: 2 time Olympian, Head Coach Auburn Men & Women, Coach of Cielo
- Rick DeMont: Assistant Coach to the South African Men’s Swim Team at three recent Olympic Games
- Dave Durden: ‘04 Olympic & ’03 Pan Pac Coach, Head Coach UC Berkeley men
- Jackie Berning Ph.D: Nutrition Consultant, Author and Educator
- Brendan Hansen: Olympic Gold Medalist ’04, Bronze Medalist ’00 & World Recordholder
- Kristy Kowal: Olympic Silver Medalist ’00, 8 time American Record holder & 1 World Recordholder
- Lindsay Mintenko: 2 time Olympian, American Recordholder & USA Swimming National Team Managing Director
Our clinic offers you a special opportunity to be with top age group & university coaches as well as ASCA, USA Swimming Facilities Planning and USA Swimming club certification courses.
You can find more information about the clinic, here: http://www.swimclinic.com/central_details.html
Registration forms are available here: http://www.swimclinic.com/central_registration-form.html
Swimming Psyche Outs: How to be in control, confident and composed when faced with psyche outs (and how to use them to your advantage!).
by John Leonard
Coach Peter Daland frequently reminds me that swim coaches evolved from the old days of “bath attendants,” who spent all day at the (overheated) pool, in their bathrobes, providing towels to patrons. Naturally, since these gentlemen (no ladies to our knowledge) spent all day observing the motion of humans through water, they became a source of information on how various people succeeded or failed in doing so. Hence, the birth of swim coaching.
Not very glorious.
This humble beginning, combined with a recent conversation with an ASCA member, led me to consider the concept of a “profession.” I know, intuitively, that swim coaching is a profession. And, we know, intuitively, that we are professional coaches. But, under objective standards, is coaching a profession?
Here’s what I found:
The word profession comes from the Latin professio, meaning “public declaration.” Historically, when a person made a commitment to a profession, they were automatically branded a member of a religious community, by openly declaring a faith or an opinion. Sound familiar?
Nowadays, various things have been tacked on to that original concept. Today’s common understanding of a professional are individuals vocations requiring a highly specialized body of knowledge and experiences. Another factor in the definition of a profession today is its universality. Coaching swimming is indeed a global profession, with people practicing it on most of the continents. Additionally, the idea of a profession is imbued with the concepts of a “discipline” and an “order” to the vocation.
How do we measure up against this standard? What has ASCA provided that helps us meet those expectations from the public we serve?
First, is there a common philosophy?
I would say yes, there is. Quite simply, we are in place to assist those who wish to swim in a more satisfactory fashion. This can range from learning to swim, to setting world records. We exist to serve our clients. Within that context, multiple philosophies of “how to” exist, largely to the benefit of the public we serve. Diversity provides a learning process and improvement process for everyone we can touch with our collective efforts.
Second, is there a common body of knowledge?
Yes, we’re improving. Within ASCA’s five required Certification Levels and 14 additional Enrichment Schools, ASCA has created and continually improves and evaluates and expands, the skills and abilities of its members. Globally, we are moving towards agreement on the foundational concepts of swimming and forming the basics of a common body of knowledge. Already, with international clinics, and the communication and learning possibilities of our digital age, information and education is increasingly accessible to any individual who really wants to be a swimming coach.
Third, is there a formal Education Process? Yes and no.
In the USA, thanks to our partners at USA Swimming, we have “required” education for our newest coaches before they get a coaching license. Above Level 1, education is required only for certification by the ASCA. The good news is that 12,000 (and growing daily) coaches have committed themselves to certification and the required education process it includes. This VOLUNTARY association clearly is superior to any forced mechanism we can create. The market for our profession – our clubs and employers – have a way to require and demand continuing education from our profession.
Fourth, are their standards of entry?
Yes. All new coaches, within one year of starting to coach, must complete the Level 1 Coaching School through ASCA and USA Swimming. Unfortunately, no such standard exists for NCAA coaching assistants or high school coaching (though individual states have some requirements for HS coaches).
Fifth, are their guidelines for behavior?
Yes. In 1991, the ASCA passed the first ever Code of Ethics in Olympic Sports coaching. (Since that time, twelve other sports have followed suit.) And, USAS requires coaches to pass a background screen, which is a key protection for those whom we serve.
Sixth, does the profession have consistent communication mechanisms in place?
Yes! With the American Swimming Magazine, the ASCA Newsletter, and the Journal of Swimming Research, we provide information from the anecdotal to the rigorously scientific, on a monthly basis, in addition to 18-20 live clinics a year. USAS conducts regional clinics, sends regular email communications and engages in on-site visits with coaches and teams. Both the ASCA website and the USAS website are forums for thought leadership and fast communications of ideas.
Seventh, do we have leaders who serve as mentors and role models and are they active in leadership roles both formal and informal?
Yes, the ASCA Board, and more recently the ASCA Fellows Program, provides a set of mechanisms to evaluate past efforts, think about and plan for the future of the profession and then pass on accumulated wisdom to future generations of leaders. Our leadership role and individuals are highly active, highly visible, and provide key links from our past into the bright future.
The work of creating, maintaining and improving a profession is never done. But daily, the collective coaching community is committed to doing what we do, and believing in what we say, and envisioning what will come. So, hold this close: As a coach, you are part of a profession…The Swimming Coach.
(evaluated from Crain’s Chicago Business Journal, “What defines a profession?”)
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick? Or maybe some better advice…”Working Successfully with Swim Parents”
And, some related parent education:
Ten Ways for the Swim Parent to Sabotage Their Child’s Swimming Career (written with tongue firmly in cheek) — From John Leonard, American Swimming Coaches Association
A Few Suggestions on How to Be a Better Swimming Parent — From Michael Brooks, York YMCA Swimming