Last week the North Shore Winter Club’s resident fitness guru Steph St. Laurent was tasked with answering a couple important questions for me.
The most important of which being “seriously, what do tennis players work on in the spring?”
After all, they’re hard at work all winter, does anything really change? For Steph, the answer is always the same.
Things change if you want them to change. For the better, that is.
Well, this week we’re back digging into another important sport at the club, one I know even less about.
Steph: Well, the cool thing about tennis is that you can come up against an opponent that really pushes you. When it comes to swimming, it’s the same thing, only this time that opponent is you.
Kelvin: Oh snap! Philosophical!
(Laughs) I know! The mental aspect can be spliced a million ways in any given sport. There’s always a few core common denominators. The physical demand will always have an impact on the mental capacity. No matter what sport, there’s an emotional side and a demand on both systems.
Specific to swimming, on the physical side, you use your shoulders a lot. That’s always a focus, and area of concern. even at 12 and below the volume is high. The repetitive strain situation is significant. The athletes who compete over time consistently spend a lot of time behind the scenes maintaining mobility and countering the effects of repetitive movements in the water. Depending on your specialty, but you’re going to do a lot of work on opposing movements to keep your body balanced and healthy.
The crazy thing is that when it comes to counter-acting, that’s such a common thing across sports and just physical fitness in general.
It works for all these young athletes. The counter-balance illustrates that the posterior chain is the most significant part of maintaining the overall athletic mechanism. We tend to be very internally motivated - now I’m talking on a physical sense here, but mentally it works too - but it’s tight chest, tight biceps, we’re hunched over, we’re tight, short and tight hamstrings. A lot of these athletes spend most of the day in a desk at school. There’s gaming and homework at a computer too. So the actual amount of time spent trying to correct the imbalances of every day life is enough, but then you throw competitive swimming into the mix.
You either spend the time on it or you don’t. And we spend the time on it with these young swimmers.
You should be writing research papers.
I don’t know, I think that’s beyond both our pay scales.
Hey, fake it till you make it! Anyways, the days are getting sunny and it’s getting warm, so what are the benefits to training in that gym in there with the doors open while it’s not snowing or raining?
Well, we all know the impact the winter season, especially this one we just had, can have. Even the most optimistic person will feel the effects about two thirds through. So when the summer hits you get that injection of vitamin D, the sun rises earlier, you have an extra spring in your step. When the doors open up, there’s people in the pool, on the tiki deck, and you’re just more motivated. Your workouts typically reflect that too.
So get your workouts in!
Sun’s out gun’s out!