Saturday, December 18, 2010
It's very simple: skills transfer. The skill of swimming fast largely depends on being able to fire your core muscles in a carefully choreographed series in order to propel your arm outwards from your body and into the glide. Then you need to use the core muscles in your back to haul your arm back toward you, carrying all of that water with it. These are the same muscles and almost the same sequence it takes to throw a really good punch.
You throw a punch from your hips, not from your biceps. Likewise, you swim from your hips, not on the strength of your arm muscles. People who say "I did a hard swim workout today, my arms are really sore" are missing the larger part of the swimming stroke. All of that punching I've been doing has made my stroke stronger, because I'm learning how to fire my core muscles harder, faster, and longer. Likewise, all of the conditioning I've been doing to make my karate better has helped not only my punching and kicking but my swimming.
So you want to swim faster? Go punch a bag! Learn how to throw and retract a hard punch, and see how much that tranfers to your stroke. Not only that, I guarantee that it's terrific stress relief!