So I have been swimming every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. From 5-6 laps at the beginning of my regime last week, I am now at 14 laps. This is my 3rd time swimming and I have to admit I can already feel the difference in my arms. And on my legs.
There are only two strokes I use when swimming. Mainly because those are the only ones I know how to do. Namely: Breast Stroke and Freestyle (which I just learned recently). Today lets just focus on Breast Stroke shall we?
I was researching on both strokes and this is what I got.
To move through one complete breaststroke cycle, you begin with your body in a horizontal position just below the water’s surface with your arms fully extended in front of you, your legs straight and your hips raised slightly higher. As you draw your knees in toward your body, you drive your arms back toward your sides in a large arc through the water. To finish the stroke, your elbows are bent as you draw your arms under your body and forward until they are extended in front of you once again while the legs push back in a froglike motion. This combination of motions helps to propel you through the water.
Lower Body Muscles
The powerful breaststroke kick, also referred to as the frog kick, contributes mightily toward your body being propelled through the water. During the first part of the frog kick, when the knees bend and are drawn up toward the torso, the hip flexors and hamstring muscles at the back of the thighs work together to support the movement. When your legs are extended and pushed back to finish the frog kick, the powerful muscles of the gluteus maximus work with the quadriceps muscles on the fronts of the thighs to push your body forward.
Upper Body Muscles
The biceps and triceps muscles of the front and back of the arms help move them through the water, along with the shoulder muscles, or deltoids. But the upper-body muscles that contribute most to propelling the body forward are the chest muscles, or pectorals, and the muscles of the back. These muscles, the latissimus dorsi, are located in the upper back area and are often referred to as the “lats.” Throughout the entire breaststroke arm movement, the small shoulder muscle, or rotator cuff, keeps the shoulder joint stable as the arms go through continual rotating movements.
Swimming with the breaststroke is an effective core muscle group exercise. The core muscles are those around the midsection of your body and include the muscles of the lower back, or spinal erectors, the abdominal muscles and the oblique muscles, which are located along the sides of your torso. The core muscles help keep the body stabilized as you move your arms and legs through the motion of the breaststroke.
This is a question most people will really want to know specially those who are always couting calories and log in to myfitnesspal.
The calories you burn performing the breaststroke will depend on how vigorously you swim and your size. If you weigh 150 lbs. and swim for 30 minutes, you will burn an average of 340 calories, according to the MyFitnessPal website. If you weigh 100 lbs., you will burn 227 calories, while a 200 lb. person will burn 454 calories.
Benefits of the Breast Stroke:
GOOD FOR BEGINNERS
Most swimming instructors teach the breaststroke first to students, since during the stroke the swimmer’s face remains above the surface of the water. As a result, the swimmer always knows his location in the pool, making it less stressful to learn how to swim. Many beginners do not like their head going under the water while swimming, as they lose their whereabouts quickly and panic. The recreational style of the breaststroke allows swimmers to learn at a leisurely pace, without having to swim too quickly.
Swimmers use the breaststroke over long distances because it does not use as much energy as other strokes. During the breaststroke, you have an in-sweep, out-sweep and recovery phase for your arms. The recovery phase lasts longer than with other strokes, giving you the ability to rest your body for longer. Your leg kicks also use a longer recovery time, as you extend them after propelling yourself. Strokes using a flutter kick force you to stay in constant motion throughout the swim, but the breaststroke provides an extended period where you allow your previous movements to send you through the water.
The breaststroke uses many different parts of your body, allowing you to build strength, power and endurance. The arm motion builds your shoulders and back, since it includes both an in-sweep and an out-sweep motion. The kicking motion has similarities to that of a frog, which builds your gluteal muscles and quads. After you propel yourself through the water, you begin the recovery phase, which allows your body to stretch out in preparation for the next movement.
Those with previous knee injuries should not participate in the traditional breaststroke, since the kicking motion puts strain on the knees. If you wish to continue using the breaststroke arm motion and protect your knees, switch to the butterfly stroke’s dolphin-style kick. When using this kick, keep your legs together while bending your hips and knees slightly to propel your body through the water. Slow the dolphin kicking motion down to synch up with your arm movements, since the breaststroke’s arm movements remain much slower than those of the butterfly.
So need I say more? I can manage swimming lap after la[ after lap of using just this stroke because it is so gentle and it helps me with my breathing and I can really feel it working my triceps which is a BIG problem spot for me. It doesn’t leave me too breathless after doing it so its a good way to keep moving without over fatigue. Try it!