Swimming Upstream, or What Endless Pools and Salmon have in Common
When my husband and I first bought our Performance Endless Pool a little over three years ago we couldn’t stop talking about it. The comment I heard from all of my swimmer friends was a resounding, "Ugh, no walls?" To which - I hate to say - I had the same sentiment, just hidden deep down.
Competitive swimmers practice in standard 25 yard or meter pools and some of us just live for those walls. Why? Because - even though we’re not supposed to admit it - they give us a teensy, tiny, little break from the otherwise cardiovascular onslaught we put ourselves through to train for the sport we love so much.
But despite my initial trepidation about losing my crutch, I can’t tell you how much my swimming endurance has changed over these past three years. And it’s not only because of the lack of walls and being able to swim hinderance-free until my everpresent thoughts of pizza bring me out of the water to feed.
Every Workout a Resistance Workout
The one thing people rarely think about when they're ooing and ahhing over the fact that they can practice for open water races, without walls, and without being in the open water? Every workout you do in an Endless Pool is a resistance workout, making that much harder than a standard pool than first meets the eye. I say again, why? Because you're swimming against a current for the entirety of your workout.
Take a second to think about that.
What other sport/workout can you think of where you're constantly getting 360-degree resistance? Where you’re always fighting against something (other than yourself) that’s working against you from every angle? Nothing. And this constant fighting that you’re having to do, no matter what speed you’re swimming at, is making you stronger than that same workout in any standard pool.
Non-Stop Technique Feedback
Swimming in an Endless Pool is not difficult only because you're swimming against a current. The current is specific and directed just at you, so it shows you issues in your technique.
The current will find any little piece of drag that you offer it; it exaggerates and points out your postural flaws. This forces you to think 'on your feet' (so to speak) and adapt to a better body position.
Swimming in a standard pool will never give you any of the feedback you get from swimming against the current in an Endless Pool, no matter which model you have.
The current is almost like having a coach with you at all times, except it can't yell at you or make you do extra drill sets just because they feel like it. Just a quiet, helpful coach who gives you that little nudge when your streamline is off, or you’re not catching properly with your right arm (guilty of this every time I get tired, oops).