10 Things To Do While Your Pool Is Closed

1. Cold Showers Aubrey Marcus Cold Shower Technique

2. Stretch Cords / Therabands FINIS Resistance Band

3. Improve Mobility Q Swim App

4. Visualise See videos at 11:51

5. Yoga Swim-Specific Yoga routines

6. Try Something New

7. Breath Training

8. Study Feedback Friday Playlist

9. Improve Your Diet

10. Rest


Hey Brenton here, you might notice a change in scenery. And that’s because a lot of things have changed in the past few weeks. I’ve gotten that many emails, that many comments from people whose pool has closed lately. And that means you’re probably stuck without somewhere to swim. So what can you do in the next couple of weeks to not lose too much fitness? Look, it’s going to happen, but how can you minimize the fitness that you lose? And how can you stay sane in this crazy time where you might find that your swimming is the way that you have a lot of stress relief. It’s a way that you keep sane and the way that you keep centered. Let’s have a look at 10 things that you can do to come back better after this whole thing is over.

So the very first thing that you can do, and this is more a mental thing than actually staying fit, is cold showers. So something that I’ve just started doing now that it’s getting a little bit colder here in Australia, is I’ve started cold showers. So in the morning what I’ll do is I’ll turn the tap on hot for a couple of minutes and then what I’ll do is some heavy breathing. So exercises that you may have seen from Wim Hof where you’ll inhale quite forcefully. Then you’ll exhale forcefully and I’ll do 30 of those and then I will hold my breath for as long as I can. And during that time I turned the shower on cold and I do that a couple of times. So in total, it takes four or five minutes and so it ends up being a four or five minute cold shower. Now, what’s the point of this?

Well, when you aren’t able to get into the water and you’re not able to train, one of the ways that I find it helps sort of keeping me a little bit more centered and makes me feel quite refreshed in the morning, is these cold showers combined with some breathing exercises, some heavy breathing exercises or intense breathing exercises and also some breath holds. It’s a way that I find it’s a little bit like having a hard training session in the morning where after a hard training session you might feel like you’re able to think clearly and that you’ve kind of gotten rid of all of that stuff in your mind that might be going through your head when you wake up. So cold showers can be a really good way just to get a little bit of that relaxed feeling and centered feeling after you have a training session.

The second thing is how do you keep your swimming fitness? Well, stretch cords, TheraBands, and just some home workouts can make a big, big difference. So I’m going to run through some really simple stretch cord exercises that you can do. So I’m going to show you how you can use some resistance bands or some stretch cords to keep your swim strength. Now it’s not going to be exactly the same as what you do when you are training at the pool, but it’s going to set you in pretty good stead when it comes to getting back in the water in a couple of weeks’ time. Now, let me go through these. It is about strength, but it’s primarily about improving technique as well. So one of the main things that we would need to focus on here as you go through it is the high elbow position. So when you’re here we want to start off by sucking our tummy in.

Stick your bum out enough so you can get down horizontally like you would when you swim. And then in this position start up at shoulder height and we’re going to drop the hand down while the upper arm and the elbow stays in almost the same position. So in that position there, we want to get the handed forearm vertical to then be able to press back and then we can go past the hip. What a lot of people tend to do is they drop the elbow and they’re pulling back in this direction, but it’s very different than what you want to be when you’re swimming. So we need to practice that position. When we do this with people at clinics and camps, we often find that they take a bit of practice to get that position and sometimes they’ll have their shoulder too far forwards up here.

Just keep it in a fairly comfortable position so that when you do press back, that you’re not hurting your shoulders. Now, this is quite a light resistance band. You don’t want to do it with something too thick. If it’s a really thick band, you’re going to be very hard to set up that catch, so you need to make sure that you’re going with something that’s a bit lighter than what you would probably expect to use so you can help with that position. Now you can either do it singular or double arm. It doesn’t matter too much, so single arms obviously going to replicate the strike a bit more similar to freestyle, but if you’re doing a double arm, that’s fine as well. Now in terms of TheraBand exercises, there’s a lot of really simple ones you can do. We’ve got this five-minute TheraBand warmup that we do before training sessions.

That’s inside our video membership, which I’ll link to below if you are a member. Otherwise, you might be able to find some of them online, just TheraBand exercises to strengthen those smaller muscles through your shoulder that support your shoulder blade. That’s what we want to do. Now the other thing that can help is just some basic core workouts and functional movements or functional exercises that you can find anywhere on YouTube. Again, I’ll provide some links below, but if you can just have some good overall strength and fitness particularly through your core and your hips, if that’s strong, then that’s going to make a big difference when you get back into the pool. And so some things like if you’ve got a kettlebell, kettlebell swings are really good for that core strength and also that connection through the hips. Now number three is mobility. Now that you’ve probably got a lot of time on your hands, I know many of you are in quarantine or you’re not allowed to leave your house.

You probably got a lot of time in your hands, so mobility is probably one of the best things that you can work on. Something that you might not normally get time to do. So what can you do to improve mobility? There’s a lot of things out there. A great app where you can actually test your mobility and has some exercises to improve it. It is the QSwim app. I’ll put the link below that is developed by Tom Barton, who’s a guy here in Australia, works with a lot of the Australian swimming team and that is probably the best way to go. We also have some tests inside our video membership and we also have some ways that you can improve on it, but check out the QSwim app. That is a really good way to start. Now the fourth thing is visualizing, so if you can’t swim for the next three or four weeks, if you visualize how you want to swim five minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, you might find that that could make a big difference down the track.

Now, how would you visualize it? Well, you’ve probably seen some of our videos of some like Dan Smith where a lot of people have seen it and he’s got such great technique that trying to emulate that can certainly help. At the end of this video, I’m going to put a couple of the late swimmers, the triathletes and very high-level swimmers. I’m going to roll some footage of them, so if you’re not sure who to visualize, well you might pick one of these swimmers and choose them to visualize their stroke if it’s similar to how you swim. So check that out at the very end of this video. The next thing is Yoga. Now we’ve talked about mobility. Yoga can certainly help with your mobility, and one of my friends, Jeff Grace, who we’ve had on the podcast before, and we’ve also posted some videos of his before he is the Yoga swimming guru.

He’s actually put some lessons out for free or some Yoga routines that are specific for swimming. He’s put them out for free. So in the comments or description below, I’m going to put a link to those lessons. So Jeff kindly shared those for people who are stuck at home and they can be really good. I think they go for about half an hour and really swim specific routines that he does with his age group athletes and his masters athletes. The next thing you can do is try something else. So one of the things that I’m starting to do a bit more of now that most of our local pools are closed is mountain bike riding, which I haven’t done for a while since I’ve come often had an accident, mountain bike riding, going surfing a lot more because it’s still liable to go down to the beach and surf.

So surfing more and just doing some different things that I usually wouldn’t have the time to do. Things that I find fun. If there’s anything like that, that you’ve been wanting to try for a while that can still keep you fit and can still keep you active even better. So just doing something different that you wouldn’t normally do. That can be a very helpful way to just stay sane in such a crazy time. The next thing you can do is breathing. So you might’ve heard our podcast with Dennis [inaudible 00:07:39] from dynamic breathing, going through a lot of different types of breathing exercises and quite intensive ones. I found a huge difference with my overall fitness when I went back to the pool, with my overall lung capacity and ability to hold a steady heart rate and be effective and efficient with my breathing. Now if you’re not sure what we mean by this type of breathing, I’m going to put a link to the podcast below that I did with Dan and we went through some of the types of breathing that you can do there.

Now, these are things that can take five or 10 minutes at home, can even go for longer than that. And I’ll also put some links that Darren has included in Spotify. So he’s put through some breathing routines on Spotify and I’ll link to those as well. So if you’re not doing any kind of this intensive breathing can be worth trying. I found it really helpful and it’s certainly something that’s starting to crop up a lot and a lot of people are starting to do this and now that you’ve got probably a lot of time on your hands, no better time to try it. The next thing you can do to come back to a better swimmer when you’re able to get back in the pool is study. Now you’ve probably been watching our YouTube videos for a while.

You might’ve seen some of our feedback Friday videos and you’ve already studied them, but studying technique, studying training workouts, all of that sort of stuff can be very helpful. So when you get back in the pool, if you’ve got a solid plan, on what you can do to reach those goals that you’ve probably set for the next six to 12 months, if you’ve got a solid plan with that, then that can really help you going forwards too. So that might look like starting technique and it might look like studying workouts or training plans and might also look at something completely outside the box, like the breathing that we’ve talked about. But just studying something that you love or maybe even looking into some autobiographies like Ian Thorpe’s biography is very good and there is a lot of other great [swing 00:09:26] autobiographies out there or biographies and that sort of stuff might keep you motivated as we’re going through it.

Number nine is trying something different with what you ate. So there’s a good chance that you might not be exercising as much as you normally would and when you are training regularly it’s can feel like you don’t want to play with your diet too much because you don’t want to disrupt how your body feels and how much foods that you’re taking in. So what you could do during this time is to try something different with your diet. You might try and go fairly extreme on something quite healthy or you might just try and mix it up a little bit. So now it’s not a bad time to play around with what you’re eating and just try something that you might’ve put off for a while. And the very last thing that you can do to come back a better swimmer is to rest. I know a lot of my triathlete friends, they train a lot.

They’re training 10, 15, 20 hours a week, instead, they’re just go, go, go and their body. It never really gets time to rest. So that sounds like you if you’re always go, go, go. It could be time to just relax and rest. Now it doesn’t mean stop doing everything. It’s great to get outdoors. It’s great to at least do some walking, maybe some light running, swimming if you still can, but if you are just always going and your body never really gets time to recover, now could be a good time to do it. If you don’t get to spend much time with your family or friends provided that you can do that in this situation, then it can be a great time to just spend a bit more time with those types of people. So just taking the time to almost reset. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it is that with some of the stuff that we’re doing, hopefully not much, too much of it gets sort of canceled, postponed.

Yeah, that’s going to happen. But just taking this as some sort of forced time off to relax, to reset, to plan what’s happening for the next six to 12 months and then going forward from there. So it almost feels a little bit like the holiday period where everyone starts to sort of shutting down and they’re not working that much. While it feels a little bit like that, and this can be a really good time to just stop and take a look at things and see what you want to do going forwards. When things do eventually return back to normal, and things will return to normal, it’s going to happen. We don’t know exactly when, but it will happen. So with that, in the back of mind, I hope these 10 things have helped you going forwards. And I’ll see you in another video. We’ll keep putting videos out, even though I know you can’t swim. And these can be some of those things that you might study over the next couple of weeks so that when you do get back in the pool, you’re ready to go.


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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen