The sheer amount of misinformation out there on the Internet when it comes to fitness and working out – or just about any topic out there – boggles the mind.
And one of the misconceptions that a lot of people have is that water based workouts can be, and are a lot better overall than land based workouts.
Specifically, the claims being made out “swimming being the best exercise you can do” and (and my daughter sent this to me the other day – copied from a notebook of hers) – – “swimming is the very best exercise there is for building MUSCLE”.
The second claim is downright retarded, and the first? Let me just say that there is no real “best exercise” out there. It all depends upon your goals -overall fitness levels you’re looking to achieve – as well as your current levels of strength and conditioning.
If someone were to make the claim “bodyweight exercise in general” are the best – I’d wholeheartedly agree – but unfortunately what is TRUE is usually “pooh poohed” at by the vast majority of folks out there.
Anyway, back to swimming.
First off, please don’t get me wrong. Swimming is an excellent exercise – and DOES help a LOT in terms of improving your cardiovascular capabilities, but only if you can swim the strokes correctly – and if you can swim non-stop for laps – and the average person generally can’t do either one of, or both these things.
It’s far easier to work up to pounding the pavement, for instance, in terms of technique, than getting the 4 strokes down pat in swimming. Not to mention the breathing – which is actually OPPOSITE of what occurs on land.
In the 0 Excuses Fitness System I give you a “secret” tip that allows you to recover in record time from a set of sprints – or a set of tough pushups – and be raring to go almost shortly thereafter.
No extended panting, no prolonged “being out of breath”, and so forth.
You’ll have to crack open the System to find out what it is – but rest assured it has something to do with DEEP BREATHING – done RIGHT (an entire section of the book is devoted to this) – and swimming throws this entire “rule book” out of the window.
Which is fine as certain changes have to be made for water based workouts, but it’s still not the BEST by far in terms of a cardio exercise .
ANd as for strength – and muscle??
Well, I’ve often said and still say that it isn’t so much the “external look” or “how big the peak of your biceps is” that matters when it comes to REAL strength and muscle- not to mention lasting fitness and HEALTH.
Some of the strongest folks I’ve seen out there (pound for pound) have barely a ripple in their biceps, and yet you’d struggle to match their grip, for instance (just one example).
And any sort of real strength – or muscle – means your tendons, ligaments and BONES should be strong too.
The last being the most important – and swimming does next to nothing to improve bone strength, my friend.
One of the (valid in many ways) arguments being made FOR swimming is that it may be an easier activity for grossly overweight or obese folks to “ease into” because of the lack of weight being placed on the body in general.
It is a well known fact that fat people “float better” – and while this may sound good to the average “Tubbo” out there (Yay! Easier workouts!) – it don’t do much at all to improve bone strength which comes only from placing ADDED stress on the bones and musculature in general.
Elite swimmers all incorporate land based work in their routines – and there is a darn good reason behind it.
Second, I’ve often mentioned that working the legs and back heavily – specifically, the legs is KEY to overall health, strength, muscle and fitness.
Case in point being the daily hill climbs I refer to – those alone will give you a better shaped/developed chest than on someone with “pelican legs” – someone that does a ton of benching, for instance, but little or no leg/back work.
Now, some stroke such as the breaststroke and butterfly do work the legs to an extent – but NOTHING like land based, weight bearing workouts do, my friend – NOTHING like that – and that is why elite swimmers all incorporate land based workouts into their routine.
Believe me, you’ll build far more muscle doing a set of 10 pull-ups in LETTER perfect form than swimming a few laps in the pool – and that is a FACT.
Now, none of this means I’m railing against swimming and water based workouts (such as water aerobics, for instance). It remains an excellent exercise, and by all means DO work it into your routine if you can – but use it in ADDITION to your regular routine, and not in place of it.
And that, my friend, is that for today. I’ll be back again later!
P.S. – Swimming is a great activity to relax – and feel RELAXED – and energized from head to toe. Ever notice that feeling you get after a great swim, my friend? I bet you have – but here’s the kicker – the BEST darn exercise ever (metamorphically speaking, hehe) – will give you that feeling and THEN some in a fraction of the time or less. Find out what that is right HERE – – https://0excusesfitness.com/products/pushups-reverse-pushups-the-best-darn-exercise/