Strength Training with Swimming – Let's Be Outdoorsy

Strength Training with Swimming

40 laps = 1.250 kms swimming in 1 hr 5 mins.

I see a gradual improvement in speed, calmer strokes and foot work. With better overall technique in breathing I think I can manage 60 laps by the end of this month hopefully under 2 hours. As of now it is quite a slow pace of approximately 1 km per hour.

In the mean time Tanvi’s Yoga station is really helping strengthen upper body and core. we have a goal of being able to do the head stand by the end of December, hopefully with regular practice should be able to achieve that goal.

I realised my wrists, especially my right wrist is really weak around the time I started practicing yoga at Tanvi’s Yoga Station where she makes us do a lot of planks. It was painful, to say the leas. Each time we transition in Surya Namaskar to the plank pose (In traditional Ashtanga yoga you don’t normally hold this pose but we do it to help strengthen the upper body) I could hold the pose but the area between the hand and the arm i.e the wrist specially for the right hand was a painful  experience.

I tried to figure out why this was happening and most of it was directed towards the amount of typing we do/ holding the hand phone (mostly pathetic ergonomics and a torture for the thumbs I think) The position we place our hands on the desk/ key board..

So I tried to figure out ways to strengthening it. The first thing I came across was this egg shaped gel ball called an Egg Press. There are a couple of You Tube videos which show you various exercises focusing on movement of the thumb and the fore finger to help strengthen it. I tried it for a while, a series of exercises ranging from squeezing the ball using your fore finger and thumb. I found this particular exercise effective for a while but was not entirely happy with it (maybe because it felt like a forced task, like being forced to have a bitter medicine!20141024_215304-1) I think I needed an outdoorsy solution to this too.

That’s when swimming got me. As part of my cross training cardio workouts I have been working on improving my swimming technique. I have gone from swimming a mere 500-600 meters to a good 1.5 kms, which is approximately 35-40 laps in an 18m length pool in a span of 1.5 hours.

Now since the past, maybe two weeks I have been swimming regularly and I find the pain in my wrist having almost disappeared. I remember a couple a months back it was painful to do any pose which put alot of weight on the arms and wrists and then Tanvi suggested I try doing planks and other such weight bearing poses while using Yoga Paws. Simply put they are mats for your hands; they are gloves that you wear on your palms with a cushioned layer on the side of your palm; works like an added cushion for hands apart from your regular yoga mat. They were really helpful and effective in acting like a buffer.

But it was more like an aid; it only addressed the symptom and was only a temporary solution to the weak wrists. Each time I tried to figure a solution for this, the solution was ever evading me.

And here I am after a couple of weeks of regular and extended (30 plus laps) of swimming and I find my wrists have strengthened drastically. The simple act of a free style stroke while swimming makes your hand move up and down opposing the resistance of the water because of which you are constantly using and moving your wrist muscles and I believe that is what has helped strengthen it. So if I have even done 40 laps in the pool in one lap, there is that swinging motion of the wrist at least 20-30 times; so that multiplied by 40 is quite a lot.

So there you go; if you have weak wrists like I experienced; the Egg press ball is an option. The best solution though is to go for a long swim; at least three times a week, if not that then at least two times a week. And hopefully after two to three weeks of doing this regularly you will see a huge improvement.

Here’s wishing you strong wrists; let’s be outdoorsy!

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