So learn: The swimming training for beginners and advanced "complete beginners" Freestyle Swimming. Plus: How do you hold at least 1,000 meters on or build on old bests

To swim yourself slim & sexy

In no other sport calories tumble as fast as when swimming while you still protect your joints. Reason enough for a tough self-test in which 10 Men's-Health colleagues hone their swimming technique for 8 weeks. Learn from their experiences and swim fit and slim.

8 weeks swimming training

Five meters there are still. January struggling through the water, gets long. Only four meters. Now hurts everyone kicking. Three. With every breath he tears his mouth wide - lack of oxygen! Two more. Come January, ziiieh! The last meter - long arm stop. In a daze, he pulls his glasses off his head. Eyes wide, the look empty. He hardly hear out when someone tells him the time: 1:27 minutes over 100 meters front crawl. 1:27! Incredulous shakes his head in January - then laughs suddenly. He has really made it: 30 seconds he was in the final test faster than 8 weeks ago, at the beginning of the Men's-Health-Life Challenge. A super power!

Swimming makes you slim

The idea: A die-hard self-test that shows you that we will try much of what we are writing, his own body. But why just swim? First, because in no other sport as fast as many calories tumble. In the water, the body burns fat particularly effective -the reason is that the thermal conductivity of water is about 25 times greater than that of air, her body so rapidly cools and permanently tries to compensate for the heat loss through increased metabolism.

The challenges of swimming training for beginners

Moreover, swimming is technically very demanding and is for beginners a major challenge. After all, many find it difficult to coordinate arms, legs and breathing in the water. Is there any justification at last for the fight with the cool water: swimming is extremely complex, it trains the whole body and protects the joints, is one of the healthiest sports at all. You see, there are many convincing arguments for as a floating self-test. Nine men from our editorial team and a colleague from the running magazine "Runner's World" were persuaded and participated.

The participants:
The Challenger had different schwimmerische previous experience. Beginners such as graphic designer Thomas ( "If I'm super in shape, I can do 25 meters at a time - in the dog paddling") and fitness director Oliver ( "I'd rather run a marathon than I even a train through the water torture myself" ) also went to the start as the longtime club swimmers Arndt (sports editor) and Markus (deputy editor). In order to design a workout that takes into account the different starting positions and sets appropriate thematic priorities, we picked up our two coach-class on board.

The Coaches:

  • Dirk Lange is one of the most successful swimming coach. Of supervised him Athletes numerous world and European records set on, brought medals at World and European Championships. Since the end of 2008, he coached the national team German. For the Men's-Health Challenge he gave the following goal: "The participants should be improved depending on previous experience in technology, Waterfront and water sense and feel what is swimming for a complete and truly fascinating sport."
  • Homayun Gharavi - called: Home - was our man for dry training. The Regensburger physician and sports scientists should make our boys fit with a floating specific stretching and strengthening program. "To swim training it belongs to force- ashore and lay motionless technical principles," said Gharavi. "The exercises are designed to be responsive, all muscles of the body, make the athletes stronger, more flexible and faster." That means for you: not only swimming, but also in all other sports, take advantage of this strength program - and bend with his help, by the way also widespread from everyday problems, such as back pain and poor posture.

So swim training looks

In eight weeks to get the most out of each - that was the goal of self-tests. "Since you can not learn any swimming style in this limited period of time, we have focused on the fastest of the four layers, the Front Crawl," said Dirk Lange. The participants were in the first four weeks each twice, then three times a week in the water, 45 minutes during the lunch break. Coach Gharavi: "Longer units would be for beginners who quickly lose a lot of power in the unusual movements in the water, counterproductive. In addition, the training should also be parallel feasible for everyday work. "

Dry runs and weight training for swimmers

On the anhydrous days 30 minutes of jogging or cycling were also once per week so-as 45 minutes of strength training. Added to this was the key for the floating specific mobility Stretching: 10 minutes daily, each evening before bedtime. The coaches were three groups, depending on individual goals. For all treatment groups were the basic training elements, but different priorities were set.

6 sports, fittest men want to learn Freestyle Swimming
The first group of Men's-Health-Life Challenge: These men want to learn Freestyle Swimming

© Timmo Schreiber

Objective: To learn to swim properly

Our six volunteers went about learning Freestyle Swimming. Intermediate steps along the way: "Develop a good water feeling minimize water resistance and in the right position in the water coming," said Dirk Lange. This requires proper breathing: it determines whether one is quietly or frantically in the water, for lateral rotation of the head initiates the rotational movement of the body.

The swimming training for beginners

To learn how to breathe properly, as the following exercises were at.

  1. With outstretched arms on the pool deck hold, head under water, breathe in the water, turn head to the side, breathe above water. Important: Do not squeeze out quickly breath but exhale throughout the underwater phase of time.
  2. put an arm on kickboard, pull with the other, breathe to this page. Waist not unscrew it too far (the further you rotate breathing, the more restless the water situation is). "It is sufficient if the mouth about two-thirds coming from the water," said coach Long. The members of the group also learned how to minimize water resistance. "You have to provide the water as little as possible attack surface to swim quickly and efficiently," explains sports scientist Gharavi. For this, a stable body position is important. The legs must not sag (use at the start of a pull buoy to keep them above). judge looking down, put his chin on his chest. Lange: ". Imagine you wanted to swim down, then hold the head flat" up and driving aids such as fins help beginners to keep close to the water upper surface the body horizontally.

The progress after 8 weeks of training

"The guys have refined their technique from week to week, proving that every swim within 8 weeks can learn," says Lange. "All have worked hard and worked very well to improve." Jan and Marco Demuth as kraulten the 100 meters after 30 or 25 seconds faster than before, Thomas improved even by a full 50 seconds!

the conclusion

First, it was hard. "I was a couple of times just about to chuck it all," admits Marco Krahl. "For example, whenever I have instead of air sucked in breathing water, or I felt like the scattered Doktorfisch Dory from Finding Nemo ': As soon as I was in the water, I had forgotten all the tips for the team again." Björn says "After each unit I was totally exhausted. I have learned about to go beyond my threshold of pain "Secondly. It was all great fun. "From one train to another, from workout to workout, it was better. Now I feel comfortable in the water, "said Marco Demuth. Jan: "Swimming trains strength, coordination and endurance. The moment I easily slipped through the water the first time, I will probably never forget. "

Perfect start: The Men's-Health-Redakteure verbessern ihre Technik
The participants of the group should be as far to improve their technique that you can swim more efficient power-saving

© Timmo Schreiber

Goal: to swim at least 1,000 meters on a roll

Rufus, our nutrition and health editor, was still a child a real water baby and had recently learned 10 years ago under the guidance Freestyle Swimming. He already held earlier this Swimming Challenge by 500 meters at a time. but after it was over, too restless, the technique is too high, the force required to move forward on. In addition to Rufus in the water: marathon runner and triathlete Urs, editor colleague from the magazine "Runner's World". As part of the triathlon swimming was always his weak point, be uneconomical style often made him wilt quickly. Urs was immediately hooked when he heard of the challenge.

The goal: The participants of the group should improve their technique to the point where you can swim more efficient power saving and hold at least 1,000 meters at a stretch.

The swimming advanced training

The Armzug Urs trained and Rufus with numerous technical exercises, which should improve the feeling for the proper exercise execution, about one-arm front crawl, tee Swimming, Swimming with clenched fists or splayed fingers, alternating each 2 trains left, 2 right or swimming with a high elbow. "In one arm stroke it's generally a matter far forward as possible to dip extension of the body axis," said national coach Lange. Tip: Imagine, they would grab your arm over a 300-liter barrel before him - that guides the movement of a well. Then pull vigorously under water, push the rear dynamic leg.

At the kicking Urs learned and Rufus, that the move comes mainly from the hips, knees slightly bent, but the legs are stretched - all as a large fin, with the flexible part begins at the pelvis and reverberates the rest. Simple exercise: Hold with outstretched arms on the pool deck move only the legs - as if you wanted to push away the wall.

The training progress after 8 weeks

Both swam at the end cleaner, power-saving, holding units of 2000 meters and longer loose. And they improved their 100-meter times significantly. "In addition, Rufus and Urs have risen to power, both have become much more flexible," says fitness trainer Gharavi.

the conclusion

Urs: "I know now what I have always done wrong, about to take the head was too far from the water. I've become stronger, longer think through, and my shoulders have also become wider and a nice side effect. "Rufus" The coaches have set the right stimuli. My arm work is now running much rounder, and my legs I sit now a lot better. "

Swim Training: Right swim for beginners and advanced
"Long arm, shoulder far up!" The former club swimmers Arndt (left) and Markus listen to the instructions of the national coach

© Timmo Schreiber

Professional goal: Faster float and build on old bests

Markus Arndt and have long been active in swimming clubs, both took in their schooling part in competitions. However, they had not exercised for more than 10 years.

The goal: can approach to regain the form of time, test, how to close after the long break from training at the old best times (by 58 seconds over 100 meters front crawl Arndt: about 55 seconds, Markus).

The swimming training for professionals

"Because Mark and Arndt were technically quickly at a good level, the focus was on an intense, interval training kräfteraubendem"Says Gharavi. to come in the short units in the upper performance range: the idea behind it. The coach: "The training in the high intensity range should give them a kick, bring them to their limits - so that they can pump iron until the end and not wilt in the final meters, about the 100-meter final test." An example of series for this purpose: 8 times 100 meters, 30 seconds rest, each of the last train full speed. Or 6 times 150 meters, 1 minute break, the 1./3./5. Railway loose, the other fully. But also in terms of technology, there were still improvements to both Mark and for Arndt. Technical exercises are part of every swimming training. Swimming technique is continually optimized by fine tuning, technically almost perfect swimmer like Michael Groß, there are rarely"Says Lange. An example of this fine tuning: after the turn under water two dolphin kicks (strong short strokes with both legs from the hips) run to come up with more steam from the turn. Or at the end of Armzugs aware scoop water up to improve the printing phase.

The training progress after 8 weeks

Both found their rhythm quickly, attacked quickly back to choreographed movement patterns. And their times? In the end, Markus Arndt and were faster than at the beginning of the challenge, to their personal best times from the past but did not came up. Long: "For this, the time was too short. But both have given everything, and with a little more time, they would certainly approached closer to her old best."

the conclusion

"Thanks to the coaches is my technique is now on a modern state - I've really got the desire to swim again"Says Arndt. And Markus: "It was great to note that you have not forgotten anything. I now remember why I 6 times a week have previously trained - swimming is just a fascinating, a great sport that everyone really should try it." Okay, men, then so all into the water!

Men's Health says thank you: our coaches Dirk Lange and Homayun Gharavi for the motivation and great tips, Holmes Place Hamburg-Bahrenfeld for the top training location ( and outfitters arena for the perfect equipment.