Tommy Cope how to get back into swimming shape

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Are you ready to get back into swimming shape? Nothing matches that sense of excitement to return to the water.

You might be a little bit nervous, thinking about how out of shape you felt after few days, months, or years of not swimming.

Not to worry, you are not alone in this journey training through Covid-19! Athlete Approved is right there with you, and we’ve got some great tips to help that transition to get back into swimming shape go smoothly.

Our 5 tips to get back into swimming shape by Athlete Approved Ambassador Tommy Cope include:

  1. You need to start somewhere.
  2. Understand it will feel weird and you are not alone in this process.
  3. Take it slowly.
  4. Start forming a new habit.
  5. Incorporate new ideas into workout.
Tommy Cope swimming
Lose that quarantine 15! Get back into swim 🏊‍♂️ shape with these 5️⃣ tips from Athlete Approved Ambassador Tommy Cope. Credit: Michigan Photography

You Need to Start Somewhere

Start by getting in the pool.

It can be 5,000 yards, 1,000 yards or even 100 yards.

It can help to have a workout partner, make an appointment for yourself, or sign up for a race to give purpose to your training. At the end of the day, figure out how to motivate yourself to go to the pool and avoid excuses!

Sometimes you just need to get your suit on, get in the water, and make it happen.

It’s Going to Feel Weird

Under normal circumstances, there’s no way that you would not swim for weeks, not to mention months. During a long lay off, you are going to lose some feel for the water. You are not alone in this process.

You probably lost a little bit of that hard-earned muscle. It’s just natural, and this is nothing to worry about. It’s hard to get past this point, but if you can accept that it’s part of the process, you’ll get back into swimming shape a lot faster.

It may take some longer than others to get back into the rhythm, but eventually you’ll get back. I didn’t swim for nearly five months, and after two weeks it is starting to feel natural again, but I still have some work to do!

Consistency is key, so make sure you don’t get discouraged by that first day back.

Tommy Cope how to get back into swimming shape
Author Tommy Cope
Credit: Michigan Photography

Take it Slowly

You might feel a little anxious and want to get back to your old training level right away. Be careful though, because you’re not as in shape as you used to be. This can easily lead to injuries, especially with your shoulders.

Warming up properly is key to building back into training. To prevent injuries there are a few precautions to take.

Do active stretching and dryland exercises to loosen up before you swim.

After you swim, stretch more and do soft tissue massage. We recommend the Athlete Approved recovery gear like the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller and Tiger Tail Tiger Ball.

When you rebuild your shoulder muscles and your technique, you’ll be able to push the yardage again. 

Athlete Approved Tip: Don’t forget to hydrate! Though you’re surrounded by water, you’re still sweating, and need to replenish fluids and electrolytes.

Tommy Cope Celebration
Author Tommy Cope
Credit: Michigan Photography

Start Something New

We all have something that we’ve been thinking about wanting to try, whether improving one of your strokes or making a good, out-of-the-pool habit. Now is a great time to start that, while you have the time to think about what you want to work on.

It’s been shown that it takes about two months to form an automatic habit, so by starting now, you’ll be ready just in time for the fall season.

Personally, I’ve been working on improving my freestyle catch and maintaining a high elbow. To do this, I try to do at least 100 yards of sculling every practice. The Iso Paddle will help increase your “feel for the water” and work your high elbow pull.

Athlete Approved Tip: A high elbow pull on freestyle not only helps your power, it’s also necessary to prevent injury. Dropping your elbow right before your catch often leads to shoulder problems, which none of us want.

Swim freestyle with a high elbow catch.

Ideas for your Next Swim Practice

If you’re swimming on your own, here are 100 Masters Workouts.

Or if you would rather create your own workout, here are the top 3 things to incorporate:

  • Kicking – it’s important to build a strong base with you legs. The Arena Powerfin Pro fins build strength quicker.
  • Sculling – helpful to give you a feel for the water again. Try sculling with the Finis Iso Paddle.
  • Rate variation – mixing sprints with long swims can get you into shape faster, similar to interval training.

My first workout back, totaling 2,700 yards:

  • Warm Up
    • 400 Freestyle
    • 300 Kick
    • 300 – 75 Back/25 free
    • 100 Scull
  • Preset
    • 6 x 100 Odds kick, evens free
  • Main Set
    • 3 x 300 – 25 Fast/75 easy
  • Cool Down
    • 100 Easy

Work hard, and don’t get discouraged when getting back into swimming shape! See you at the next meet!

1 Comment

  1. It was really helpful to learn more about how to get into shape through swimming exercises. This summer, I would like to construct a swimming pool in my backyard. I might just find a contractor to hire so that the pool will be constructed properly.

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