Swimming: The Best Form of Recovery After Workouts

Swimming: The Best Form of Recovery After Workouts by Lily McCann

In order to be a competitive swimmer, it is essential to maintain strong arm, leg, shoulder, upper back and chest muscles. Otherwise you might find that you struggle. The problem is that overdoing it during a workout can often affect an individual’s performance. What is the best way of recovering as quickly as possible after a vigorous workout so that you aren’t out of action for too long? Research carried out by the University of Western Australia suggests that it might be to swim.

The Study

Participants were asked to perform interval runs on two separate occasions made up of 8 x 3 minutes at eighty-five to ninety percent VO2 peak velocity. Ten hours after the runs had taken place, those who took part either lied down or swam two thousand metres. Fourteen hours later, the participants took part in a high-intensity run and the recovery of their running performance from the previous interval sessions was measured. The subjects were capable of running for thirteen minutes and fifty seconds after swimming compared to only twelve minutes and eight seconds after lying down, which is a difference of fourteen percent.

Lower Levels of C-Reactive Protein

The researchers at the university also observed that those who swam had significantly lower levels of c-reactive protein a day after the interval run, c-reactive protein being a biomarker of inflammation. The findings of the study suggest that swimming is an effective form of post workout recovery, as it enhances performances in physical activities that take place after a workout by attenuating muscle tissue inflammation that occurs as a result of it. This means that swimming can help the muscles to recover after exercise and enable a sportsman or sportswoman to engage in physical activity again. According to a recent article published in Men’s Health magazine, one of the reasons that swimming is so good at reducing muscle pains after a workout is that it stimulates blood flow to the muscles. It is an enjoyable way of decreasing the aches and pains that you will suffer from after a vigorous session at the gym.

Achieve Great Results and Feel Better

Sporting strength expert Shelton Stevens suggests that people who are using swimming as a means of recovery after a workout should swim at a steady pace for between half an hour and three quarters of an hour. He says that people who use swimming for this purpose feel better after doing it as well as achieving great results. The fact that swimming can be utilised as a form of post workout recovery could not be more convenient for competitive swimmers who are working out in order to build muscle strength for swimming. It means that they need not miss out upon time in the water due to the time that they have spent at the gym.

Don’t Perform Recovery Swims at Maximum Effort

Stevens advises that post workout recovery swims should not be performed at maximum effort, as they are intended for recovery only and are not supposed to be a workout in their own right. He states that you should swim at a steady pace and suggests doing five laps of freestyle, five laps of backstroke and five laps of breaststroke. Strength can be as essential a characteristic for a professional swimmer to posses as the ability to swim using the best technique. Workouts are therefore important for those who wish to swim competitively. Ensuring that these workouts do not leave you out of action for an extended period of time and negatively impact upon the amount of time that you are able to spend in the water will optimise the extent to which your capabilities develop. It will mean that you are able to strike a balance between developing your strength and honing your swimming technique, consequently placing you in the best possible position to do as well as you possibly can in competitions. Although recovery swims should not be as vigorous as your regular swimming sessions, every little bit of practice counts and they can still be beneficial to you. Ultimately swimming as much as possible is going to enable you to perfect the way you move through the water and pave the way to success.