Hello Dr. Arata,
Why would stretch cords be more beneficial than weight
training for swimming? Is there a noticeable advantage? And how
many stretch cord pulls should be done in place of weight training
if it is more beneficial? Finally, would using stretch cords over
weights be more beneficial for water polo? Thanks for your
Thanks for your questions.
Why would stretch cords be more beneficial than weight training
for swimming? In all exercises, there is a principle called
Specificity. In simple terms, this means that swimming is the best
exercise to get better at swimming. If you had to choose between
swimming and weight training to get better at swimming, you would
choose swimming. The closer an exercise mimics your actual task,
the more effective it will be. Strechcordz can mimic swimming far
better than typical weight machines can. Free weights cannot mimic
swimming very well in part because of the gravity factor. So,
swimmers should get significantly better at swimming training with
Strechcordz rather than training all the same muscles using a
set-up at a local gym.
Is there a noticeable advantage?
Yes. And not just in the amount of swimming strength gained from
Strechcordz training, but from several factors. 1) Cost.
Strechcordz are far less expensive than weight training machines
and gym memberships. 2) Time. With Strechcordz, there is no need to
travel to do a dryland workout. You can do them in your room, in
your garage, in your basement. 3) Travel. You can take Strechcordz
wherever you go. No need to miss a day of training just because you
can't get to a pool or a gym. In general, exercise equipment that
is easy to use and readily accessible, gets used more often.
And how many stretch cord pulls should be done in place
of weight training if it is more beneficial?
This is based on the individual and the color of Strechcordz one
uses. If an athlete is looking to gain endurance, they should use
lighter Strechcordz and perform more exercises each day, perhaps as
many as 600 (at about 1 second per pull, that is 10 minutes of
actual exercise). This can be broken down into sets, such as 10 x
60 pulls with a minute rest between. To build up strength for
sprint swimming, one uses the stiffer Strechcordz, red or blue. I
recommend sets that last the duration of a race. If you are
training for a 100 freestyle (butterfly, backstroke or even
breaststroke) and want to go 49 seconds, do sets of 49 seconds. Try
to get as many good (full length) pull cycles in during that 49
seconds as possible. It may require 4 to 5 minutes of rest between
sets in order to perform at this intensity. How many sets you do is
up to you, probably not more than 5.
Finally, would using stretch cords over weights be more
beneficial for water polo?
For the swimming part of water polo, yes for all the reasons
already talked about. Strechcordz can also be beneficial for the
shoot/pass part of water polo. Players can use Strechcordz to build
strong/quick throwing arms. Again, because of the flexibility of
Strechcordz, the dynamic action of the water polo throwing motion
can be mimicked significantly better with Strechcordz than with any
traditional kind of weight training device.