StrechCordz vs. Weight Training
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 time.
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.