This time of year can be particularly tough for swimmers as they ramp up for the fall season. Meets are coming up, but not quite soon enough, and the daily grind of training can be taxing. What better way to stay motivated than by setting smaller goals for you to focus on? Let’s take a look at the 5 goals every swimmer can put their mind to this season, and how they’ll put you on the fast track to great summer performances.
1. Complete ____ Consecutive Pull-ups
Pull-ups are a great strength builder and an excellent test of your strength to bodyweight ratio. Anyone can learn how to do a pull-up. With proper technique and steady progression from assisted pull-ups to regular ones, swimmers can build upper body and core strength that translates well to every stroke. Set whatever goal number of pull-ups you want to complete now, and include pull-ups in your strength training a couple times a week to reach your goal by the end of summer.
2. Add 1 Hour of Sleep
Whether it’s in the form of a nap, two naps, or more nighttime shut-eye, an extra hour of rest can make a huge difference in your energy levels. No matter your sleep habits, all swimmers need to make up the sleep debt they accrue from early morning practices. Start small with an extra 30-minutes somewhere in your day or night, and steadily incorporate more rest into your training regimen. Your perceived exertion will decrease while your alertness, speed, and power reach new highs in practices and meets!
3. Pick an Area to Become More Flexible In
All too often, athletes are told to work on their flexibility and take ownership of their stretching. With busy training schedules, this total body bending lasts for a week or two before athletes invariably drop off their stretching routines. Instead, pick one target area you’d like to become more flexible in and focus on improving it every day. It’s easier to take one part of the flexibility challenge at a time. If you’re particularly tight somewhere, such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, or glutes, use this season to improve range of motion in that space. Focus your stretching on that body area and establish a baseline so you can compare your stretches from week to week. With greater range of motion come greater athleticism and a reduced risk of injury.
4. Add a New Vegetable to Your Diet
Along the same vein as the flexibility issue, athletes already have heard how balanced their nutrition needs to be. If you already eat lots of fruits and veggies, here’s to you. If you struggle with good nutrition mid-season, try adding a new vegetable to your diet that you normally don’t eat. Chances are you’ll have a lot of new vegetables to choose from, but by focusing on adding just one (or two), you can increase your veggie intake in a habit-forming way. Nutrient and fiber-rich veggies can help fill you up in place of less healthy options, and let’s be honest—it’s easier to add a healthy habit than take a bad one away, so hopefully those extra veggies really will make you too full for your sweet tooth to take hold. A progressive increase in your veggie intake from now until August can alter large factors in your performance such as your mood, energy levels (perceived and real), metabolism, strength to bodyweight ratio, and more.
5. Log Your Training
Swimmers are goal-oriented and disciplined, and they put in the training hours to prove it. In fact, they put in so many hours of practice that it’s easy to forget the details of their progress. Log your training in a small book so you can keep track of the performance gains you make in practice. You can include anything you like, but a great place to start is by writing down any best times on repeated sets or in-practice races. Include new standards accomplished such as making a faster interval, perfecting a new technique on a dive, or adding an extra kick underwater. These moments contribute to your total training effort this season, and they help you stay detail-oriented in the midst of tough practices.
Use these smaller tasks in your training this season to stay on point with your larger goals. More importantly, have fun with the challenges you set for yourself and you will be on your way to a very successful summer of racing.
For more training and performance tips, check out recent posts on our blog at BridgeAthletic!
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.
ABOUT NICK FOLKER
Nick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s roster of athletes includes 35 Olympians winning 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology. The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.
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