Want to know the cross-train­ing ben­e­fits of swim­ming? Richie Porte and Mark Foster re­veal all.

Triathlon Plus - - Swimming -

Get­ting pool fit is a great way to de­velop strength and im­prove your con­di­tion for other sports. If you shy away from pool train­ing be­cause you don’t like to race in the wa­ter, per­haps it’s time to re­think that ap­proach.

THE BEN­E­FITS In­creased core strength

“The pool nat­u­rally en­cour­ages you to en­gage your core mus­cles, de­vel­op­ing all-round sta­bil­ity,” says Foster. This has a knock-on pos­i­tive ef­fect when it comes to sup­port­ing your torso dur­ing cy­cling and run­ning, as well as im­prov­ing power trans­fer and out­put from the leg mus­cles.


Cy­cling and run­ning, in dif­fer­ent ways, place a sig­nif­i­cant stress on your joints, in­clud­ing the hips, knees and an­kles. Swim­ming in the wa­ter re­lieves these sport-spe­cific stresses, says Porte, be­cause it frees you from the con­fined work­ing ranges posed by the bike and the im­pact of the run.


These days, Porte uses swim­ming to re­lax his mind away from the high-stress en­vi­ron­ment of pro cy­cling. Foster agrees: “I think that even the sights and sounds of the wa­ter can be re­lax­ing, as well as the feel of it as you swim.”

Car­dio­vas­cu­lar ef­fi­ciency

Swim­ming forces you to con­trol your breath­ing while main­tain­ing your stroke tech­nique and ef­fort level. “There’s noth­ing that can keep you as fit as swim­ming does,” claims Porte. “It works ev­ery­thing!” That in­cludes your heart and lungs, which cy­clists of­ten re­fer to as their “engine”.


“Chang­ing strokes, dis­tances and drills when swim­ming is a great way to en­sure an all-round work­out. It also means you can fo­cus on spe­cific goals,” says Porte.

2 Vary your pace

“Changes of pace, from steady to max­i­mum ef­fort, are ideal. They al­low you to train for longer, as well as work to­wards dif­fer­ent goals, such as burn­ing fat, build­ing lung ca­pac­ity and re­cov­ery from tough ses­sions,” says Foster.

3 Bust out some kick

“Grab a kick­board and do some steady kick for low-im­pact ac­tive re­cov­ery af­ter a hard day,” says Porte.

4 Add fins to your work­out

“Us­ing fins al­lows you to move faster, which not only feels good, but can also work the legs harder be­cause of the added re­sis­tance,” rec­om­mends Foster.

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