Swim Workout Hack: Swim with 100 Pushups

Introduction

I started doing Burbathlon as a way to cheat on time, and hybridize two workouts: strength training and running.  The end result has a cardiovascular profile similar to interval work, yet I get a better variety of muscular challenges than I’d get from either the gym or the trail alone. I thought about extending the concept to other triathlon disciplines: thus was born the #WorkoutHack.


Swim Workout Hack

I’ve been using the 100 Push-ups app for Android lately, and I’ve been a lot more consistent about getting the workouts in 3 times a week than when I first wrote about 100 Push-ups.  This past Tuesday, I was running really late and the situation was made worse by the fact that I (temporarily thankfully) lost my wallet.  By the time I got to the pool, I knew a full length workout wasn’t in the cards.  That was OK, because the idea of doing a more high-intensity interval type workout had been kicking around in my brain for a while.  These kinds of workouts are all the range, since they promise great caloric burn and metabolic boosting in little time, as long as you’re willing to put up with some painful intensity.  Before I describe the intervals part, let me just fill you in on how I worked up to it:

  • 250m warm-up
  • 100m set concentrating on good form especially on the follow-through of my stroke.
  • 100m fist swim; swim with fists closed, the idea being that after doing this, you get a better ‘feel’ for the water.
  • 100m with open hands again – the ‘follow-up’


The idea was that I would then do my 100 push-ups workout for the day.  These workouts give you a set of prescribed push-ups reps to do, then either a 60 or 90 second rest, depending on what part of the program you are in.  I wanted to swim an interval during the rest period; if they gave me 60 seconds, I’d do 50m, if they gave me 90 seconds I’d try for 100m – which is a little fast for me.

On Sunday, I had performed the ‘exhaustion test’ for the end of Week 4: you simply perform as many consecutive push-ups as you can.  The test should be performed within 48 hours of the last workout of the week, yet still rested from that workout.  I scored 42 push-ups.  Which, for Week 5, Day 1, put me here:


Set
Reps
Rest
1
36
60 seconds
2
40
60 seconds
3
30
60 seconds
4
24
60 seconds
5
>40
60 seconds

That was… a little tough for me.  What’s worse, is that I had also been playing around with swimming unfueled; I don’t eat breakfast before my swims.  The idea is exercise in a carbohydrate-depleted state might increase the capacity of the muscle cells to burn fuels aerobically.  I only do this on my swims, and so far it’s been OK as long as I eat right after the workout (and a bit of a time saver in the mornings).  It was not a good idea on this day however, and I ended up doing this:


Set
Reps
Rest
1
30
50m swim
2
23
50m swim
3
20
50m swim
4
19
50m swim
5
16
50m swim

That’s still 108 push-ups, so I’m not ashamed, but my advice to you if you try it (or to myself for future attempts):

  1. Pick a workout that you think you can do, don’t try this when you’re at a new horizon in the program

  2. Fuel beforehand.

That`s about a 30 minute, 750m workout that left me tired (the warm-up was omitted from my Garmin tracking by mistake). Workouts where you are tired (but still going) are the bread and butter of the triathlete`s regimen, after all.



2 Replies to “Swim Workout Hack: Swim with 100 Pushups”

  1. What a cool idea for a workout! We'll definitely be trying this one out… especially since it's hard to find ways to make swimming more fun and interesting! And the pushups are a great way to stimulate tired arms when you don't have an hour to do a longer swim… genius!

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