Tip #1: Never Underestimate the Band Pull Apart
Regardless of if our swimmers are just doing a short warm-up, like our Champion Complex, or a more lengthy workout, I always encourage our athletes to do at least a handful of band pull aparts. For athletes that I’m fortunate enough to work with throughout the year, the amount of pull aparts is undulated throughout the season; perhaps from 150x / wk during the start of the regular swim season to 300x / wk by the end of the season.
The Band Pull Apart provides a great deal of upside to most populations, but for a group like swimmers who rely so heavily on the trapezius muscle group, this exercise is perfect. When you combine a stroke like freestyle, which has so much lat recruitment, amplified by poor resting posture, the likelihood of sports injury and stroke inefficiency is amplified.
What I like most about the Band Pull Apart is its stimulation of the Trap 2 (or the middle innervation of the traps). This helps bring about a healthier shoulder posture while increasing scapular control–and therefore stroke economy. Adding this as a warm-up exercise is even more efficacious because then the traps are already engaged as soon as the swimmer hits the water.
A good total to work towards on this is around 250x / wk, which averages to around 50x per day. Though this is significantly lower than some of our athletes who can do up to 250x during the course of a single workout. For resistance bands, I either recommend EliteFTS or Westside Barbell bands.
Most of the programs that we design and implement at Ruthless Performance have some meticulously detailed cool-down for an athlete to do following their last exercises of the day. And in most cases these are some combination of mobility drills, breathing techniques, or myofascial release strategies.
Past all of the very significant reasons that a proper cool down in crucial for athlete development, there’s a handful of additional benefits an athlete will receive by doing their prescribed combination of mobility drills at this particular time. When an athlete does these drills early on in the workout, likely in their warm-up or as an accessory drill between main sets, more mobility (active use of ROM) is required of the articulations themselves–like in the spine or at the hip.
But after a workout, while there is more blood circulating in the muscles, the mobility drills will more specifically target these areas–even if it is the same exercise that is done pre-workout.
There also seems to be more lasting changes in range-of-motion when these exercises are completed post-workout. Whereas in the warm-up, these drills serve to enhance proper movement and function during the workout, but the lasting effects seem to be negated by the workouts themselves.
This is why we recommend including high-priority mobility drills in the pre and post-workout time period.
Registered Dietitians are licensed nutritional professionals with an undergraduate degree and supervised practice hours. Among completion, a national exam must be taken to be officially licensed and practice as a professional. Registered dietitians are recognized by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with mandatory completion of CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to maintain registration.
The term “Nutritionist” does not require extensive school and professional training. Essentially, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist because they read a few books. That is not to say nutritionist don’t know what they’re talking about but nutritionists can’t assess, diagnosis, or treat nutritional-related problems where as a Registered Dietitian can.
At Ruthless performance, we offer nutritional services by a Licensed Registered Dietitian.
It’s simple: All Dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are Dietitians.
By Jesse Rodriguez, RD, CSCS