Welcome to The Race Club secret tip of the week. This week we’re going to talk about oxygen, the most important nutrient and one that we often overlook. The fact is, without oxygen, we can’t live for more than 7 or 8 minutes. And with oxygen, it helps us to produce one of the most vital fuels for the muscles called ATP. We can produce ATP in our bodies without oxygen. But we don’t produce it nearly as efficiently. When we have oxygen vs. not having oxygen, we produce 15 times more ATP. And we don’t produce a by-product which is called lactic acid which slows us down. So the point is we need as much oxygen as we can get. The problem is the active getting oxygen or breathing is problematic for freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly. So we have to learn to breathe in a way that we reduce the consequences which are increasing drag and slowing our stroke rate. If we can learn to breathe effectively and fast and quickly, we can get more oxygen and improve our swimming performance. Here are some examples of different types of breathing patterns now. The first thing that I’m gonna show you is the wrong way to breathe, which is to hold the head up-high, breathe forward and turn the head too much. And here you can see that I’m way turning the head, way too far up rotating the body, and the hand underneath the body creating a lot of drag And look at the amount the drag that is created by the head being too high. You see the bow-wave coming off my head and the head being held up. And all that contributes to an increased amount of drag. In this case I’m dropping my head. And you can see the bow-wave go right over the top of my head. So by pulling the head down, you not only elevate the hips, but you get that energy of that bow-wave going over the top your head, which doesn’t slow you down reducing drag. When you watch that lower head position from the side, this is what you see. Bow-wave goes over the top. You notice I’m breathing back and I’m not turning my head very much. And this is an example of breathing every third stroke or alternate breathing. And the problem with this type of breathing is you just don’t get very much oxygen. If I’m turning over with the stroke rate about 65 or 70 strokes per minute and I’m only getting one breath every third stroke, that means I’m only getting about 20 to 23 breaths per minute. If I’m running or biking, I’m gonna take 50 or 60. That’s not very much oxygen. So, if you alternate breathe or breathe every third stroke, you’re gonna probably have to be extremely fit, or you’re going to get very tired. This is a new type of breathing pattern that I’m kind of adapted to, which is called the 2-3 pattern. And what I do here, though it’s not used very commonly, is I breathe first to the left then to the
right and then I hold the stroke, then I begin on the right, back to the left hold a stroke start on the left breathe to the right, hold a stroke. This way, I get 2 breaths out of every 3 strokes, which increases the amount of oxygen by 50 percent over what I would have gotten if I took a breath every 3rd stroke. And for old guys like me, or for anybody else that needs energy, it’s a nice way to get more oxygen. The only time it’s really important that you don’t breathe is on a 50 or a sprint. Because, in that time you don’t really have enough time to build up lactic acid except maybe the last few yards or meters of the sprint. So the best thing is to not breathe at all, or take 1 or at most 2 breaths. And that way you can achieve your fastest time.