I love all the different things I’ve been able to do in my CrossFit training. From day one the only thing I’ve missed from my old exercise lifestyle was mixing in some swimming.
Back in the day, when I spent a couple of years training for sprint triathlons I would spend several days a week in the pool. There’s just something about the combination of isolation and total body fatigue that makes training in a pool special.
I read in a book about ultra-marathoners (those crazy individuals who will run 50- or 100-mile races) that if you have any issues in your life that you can’t work out over the course of a 20-hour road race, they aren’t getting worked out.
I think of swimming as very similar in some regards. The reality is that you’re going to be doing a lot of laps, and it’s extremely unlikely that you would be listening to music or talking to others while you train, so most of the time its just you in the pool with your thoughts. Kind of peaceful and exhausting at the same time.
With very few CrossFit affiliates having pool access, it’s very uncommon for a CrossFit athlete to see the word “swim” scribbled up on the whiteboard at their box. But the question is, “Should you even be training the swim?”
If we’re really being constantly varied, we should also be swimming. It’s a great full-body movement that develops coordination and stamina and builds aerobic conditioning as well (if you’re doing sprint workouts as opposed to a leisurely pace around the pool). Also, the past three CrossFit Games have featured the swim. Whether it was the swim, run, pull-up, air squat, push-ups grinder from three years ago, the first leg of the triathlon two years ago or last year’s swim and bar muscle up couplet, the Games has had swimming. Using that information, if you’re a Games athlete you should be rotating swimming into your regular training cycle (and I’m sure they are).
Where does that leave the rest of us? I have started to see a few competitions at the local level get creative and include a swimming element. The main issues would revolve around cost (we can’t afford to include a pool at our facility) and temperature (especially in the Midwest where I live and it dips to 40 below in winter).
I would assume that more and more CrossFit boxes would include the swimming component in their training, especially in the southern areas of the U.S. and in other more favorable year-round climates.
I know if I had the chance, I’d dust off the goggles and hit a nice 400 meters in the pool, if that was programmed as part of a workout on the main site.
Do you or the athletes at your box use swimming as part of your CrossFit training? Leave your swim experiences in the comments on our Facebook page.
Stay on the Grind.
Jamie Toland (JTol)