How to Swim Freestyle Without Getting Tired
Swimming freestyle is a great low impact exercise that does wonders for strengthening the cardiovascular system. Swimming freestyle strengthens the upper and lower body as well as the core. However, swimming freestyle can be difficult. In fact, for someone who has never swum freestyle before, it can be fairly daunting. Heck, just keeping your face down in the water is enough to freak some people out – it was for me. 🙂
When I started swimming freestyle, I had a tough time swimming over 25 yards. It took quite a while before I could make 50 yards without needing to rest or catch my breath. With time and patience, I learned techniques that helped me to increase my distance. Below are my 5 tips on how to swim freestyle without getting tired.
Tip 1. Learn How to Breathe
When learning how to swim freestyle without getting tired, the very first thing you need to learn is how to breathe properly. Your muscles need tons of oxygen when swimming and exerting themselves. The basics of breathing while swimming freestyle are:
Face in the Water
When swimming freestyle, you need to learn to keep your face down in the water. I know, it can be freaky if you aren’t used to it. But just take it slow – it gets easier the more you do it. You have to get this part right to keep your hips and legs from dragging down in the water. If that happens, it will be virtually impossible to swim freestyle without getting tired. It will be like trying to swim with bricks tied to you!
Exhale Under Water
This is kind of embarrassing to admit… This is something I didn’t understand when I started swimming freestyle. I thought I had to exhale and quickly inhale when I brought my head to the side. I just couldn’t get enough oxygen in that short amount of time. Actually, this is the number one mistake of new freestyle swimmers.
The correct way is to exhale fully through your nose while your face is underwater. Then when you turn your head, inhale through the mouth. Once I realized that and got used to it, the breathing process became so much easier! Also, my body and muscles were getting more oxygen, which they liked.
Breathe on Both Sides
There is much debate on whether breathing to one side or both sides is better for swimming freestyle. The argument is that since competitive swimmers breathe on one side, shouldn’t we be doing the same? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t qualified for the olympics lately… Even competitive swimmers regularly train by breathing bilaterally.
Since you want to learn how to swim freestyle without getting tired (and not qualify for the olympics), I would learn to breathe bilaterally. As mentioned above your muscles need lots of oxygen when swimming freestyle. Breathing on both sides will give your body the chance to get that much needed oxygen. In addition, by breathing bilaterally, you will have a more balanced and symmetrical stroke.
Tip 2. Take Long Strokes
An important point when learning how to swim freestyle without getting tired is to not shorten your stroke. What that means is to take nice long extended strokes – not wimpy short ones. When taking a stroke, envision reaching far ahead in the water and then pulling your body through the water with your hands.
The first step is to check your position in the water. Your body should be flat and horizontal throughout the freestyle stroke as this helps to decrease drag.
Now, reach as far forward as possible with your hand as it enters the water. As your hand enters the water, pull back with as much force as you can while reaching as far forward with your other arm. You should feel a good stretch in your lats with each stroke. Long arm strokes will help to give you maximum thrust in the water with less energy consumption.
Tip 3. Swim More Frequently
With any endurance activity, you can’t expect to train once or twice a week and become proficient in it. The same holds true with swimming freestyle. An important part of learning how to swim freestyle without getting tired is to increase your training frequency.
While I can’t tell you how often you should train, I can say you will probably not see any gains with swimming once or twice a week. By increasing your training to at least 3-4 times a week, your body will become more used to being in the water. Your entire cardiovascular system will become stronger. Your breathing will become easier. Your muscles will become stronger and your strokes will seem easier. Swimming will feel natural and you will relax the more time you spend in the water.
Tip 4. Cross-train
Knowing how to swim freestyle without getting tired relies so much on the strength of your cardiovascular system. The days you don’t swim, do a form of cross training. That could involve running or biking. By cross training, you will get additional cardiovascular benefits that will help you in the pool. Also, it will be a pleasant change from your swimming training.
Tip 5. Fuel Your Body
Proper nutrition is vital when learning how to swim freestyle without getting tired. You need to fuel your body before and during swim workouts. Be sure to eat plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods throughout the day. Swimming freestyle eats up calories like the cookie monster!
Just as important as eating is making sure you are consuming enough fluids. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout each day to stay hydrated. While you might not realize it, your body sweats lots of fluid while swimming. You need to make sure you replenish lost fluids.
During long swimming sessions, make it a habit to bring a water bottle and a couple snack bars with you for brief breaks. This will help to keep you hydrated and keep your energy level up during your training. Just this will go a long way in helping to keep you from getting tired!
Swimming freestyle can be tough, especially for beginner swimmers. But, knowing how to swim freestyle without getting tired isn’t too difficult if you follow the above five tips. They are key to being able to swim freestyle longer without getting tired. Remember that it will take time and to be patient. Every workout you spend in the water, you are getting closer to your goal!