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How To Swim Without Getting Tired

If you’re getting tired when you swim, most triathletes think the key to solving the problem is more work and harder work.


Let me show you why.

Now, training harder absolutely works on land.

The key to running or cycling without getting exhausted is going to be more work.

That’s because you train your body to be able to create a lot of energy.

Even if you’re not a very efficient runner or cyclist, you’re still not going to waste much energy during those activities.

Swimming is completely different.

Many triathletes are VERY inefficient in the water.

They’re wasting energy left and right.

Ever see a really fit non-swimmer try to swim?

They get tired after 30 seconds or a minute.

Clearly, they can produce a lot of energy, but because they’re so inefficient in the water, trying to swim uses ALL of their energy.

Maybe you’re strong really strong on the bike and during the run, but the swim is just HARD.

That’s because not getting tired in the water is all about SKILL.

Of course, you have to do some work.

But if you’re not moving through the water efficiently, you’ll waste all of that energy you can produce as a result of training.

It’s like driving a car with a hole in the gas tank.

When you’re swimming inefficiently, it burns SO much energy, you can’t possibly develop enough fitness to overcome that inefficiency.

It’s impossible!

You’re not getting tired because you’re not fit enough.

You’re getting tired because you’re using WAY too much energy to swim.

THAT is the problem that needs to get solved.

Rather than training to be able to produce more energy, starting training to USE less energy.

That comes from improving your swimming skills.

So, what skills matter more than any others if you want to stop getting tired?

If you’re struggling with your pull, that might slow you down because you’re not creating propulsion.

However, that won’t necessarily make you tired, just slower:).

But if you’re body position is a problem, that WILL have a major impact on your swimming.

Swimming with poor body position is like riding a bike uphill.

A LOT harder.

Ever swim with a wetsuit?

It’s easier because it improves your body position.

If you improve your SKILLS, you can create the same effect every time you swim.

I was working with a triathlete who was really struggling with his endurance, particularly because he felt the need to really drive his kick.

We spent 5 minutes working on some of the exercises I’m about to show you.

His only response was a big smile and ‘It’s so easy!’

Of course, how fast you improve is dependent on a lot of factors.

But when you do improve your body position, it makes a HUGE difference.

The Simple Solution

Admittedly, I harp on these ideas and these exercises in my writing.

I do so because they are SO important, yet everyone tends to dismiss them.

They don’t look like work, and they don’t look like swimming.

They don’t feel like work, and they don’t feel like swimming.

Yet they’re the foundation of effective swimming.

Without great body position, you’ll be forever doomed to be swimming slow and tired.

Hopefully that’s motivation to make some change.

It’s worth the investment and it’s worth the effort.

Best of all, they’re not that hard.

You just have to do it!

Step #1 Learn to Float

The first stage is learning to feel what total relaxation, support, and comfort is in the water.

The best part is that this is a skill that ANYONE can do, and you do NOT need a coach to do it.

Grab a big breath, grab your knees, and float.

No matter who you are, you’ll find a settling point in the water, likely at the surface.

It might take a few seconds to get there, but you should.

Zero effort, total relaxation, floating- exactly what you want.

Now, let’s turn it up.

Grab a partner and have them PUSH you underwater.

The harder they push, the deeper you go.

Now this is the important part.

The more they push you, the more the water pushes back.

It’s like a rubber ball- the harder you throw it, the harder it bounce back.

That’s a key lesson- the more you push into the lungs, the more the push back.

If you don’t have a partner, do this-

When you’re in the water jump up into the air a little bit, grab you knees, and then crash back into the water.

You’ll sink deeper in the water, and then you’ll shoot back up.

Same idea.

For more on getting comfortable in the water, check out this article from Better Triathlete.

Step #2 Learn to Press

We just learned two important lessons-

1. The water holds you up.

2. The water pushes BACK when you push the lungs.

It’s time to take advantage of #2.

This is the Active Jellyfish.

The goal is to keep the hips at the surface, without using your arms and legs.

How do you do that?

You push into the water with your head and chest.

Remember how the water pushes back?

It happens because the lungs are trying to stay at the surface of the water.

When you push down from the front with the head and the chest, the lungs get pressed down.

They want to get to the surface, and they’re going to find a way.

Because you’re not pressing down from the back, up come the hips, exactly what you want!

This exercise shows you how you can use your lungs to help you keep your hips up, EASILY.

Step #3 Learn to Pull Your Legs Up

This is final step in this process.

If you have muscular legs or legs that seem to really sink, this is probably the key step for you.

I showed you how you can push into the water with your chest and head to get the hips up with the previous drill.

Now, it’s time to learn to pull your legs up.

Once you have stability from the ball position, it’s simply a matter of learning to create tension in the hips and the legs to keep the legs up at the surface.

Moving from the ball position to the X position allows you to find stability first, THEN learn to create leverage.

You have to press with the chest AND lift with the legs.

It’s the KEY to great body position.

Once you get gain some comfort with this exercise, you can take it to the next level by performing the X float without the ball float.

Can you get right into the position?

If so, that’s a great sign that you’re locking in your skills.

You can also make the exercise more difficult by bringing your hands together, your feet together or both.

It makes is more difficult to hold the position, and you’ll have to create more tension to do so.

Once you get a feel for the exercises, it’s just a matter of maintaining those same sensations when you swim.

This article shows you how using these same exercises can reduce the need to kick.

Putting It Into Practice

How do you integrate these exercises into practice?


Just perform them between repetitions of your regular swimming.

You can do it before every repetition, you can do it before every other repetition, or you can do it between every several repetitions.

The key is to practice the exercises AND practice swimming freestyle, back-to-back.

Why does this work?

This strategy is effective because you learn to FEEL the key skills and then you immediately practice them.

There’s no delay.

If you just practice the skills, you’ll never learn to apply it.

If you just swim freestyle, you’ll never have the insight to make a change.

You need BOTH, and the more you pair them, the more effective it is.

It doesn’t really matter HOW you do so, you just have to do it.

So Just Do It!

If you’re constantly getting exhausted when you swim, give these exercises a shot.

They may seem a little odd, but they’re just what it takes to swim long and swim strong.

Keep it simple...



When you're ready to accelerate your progress, check out Fix Your Freestyle FAST .

Take your swimming to the next level with world class insight into exactly what you need to do to improve your freestyle, and everything you need to make it happen.

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