Op de website van Finis verschijnen regelmatig artikelen die zwemmers helpen om hun techniek te verbeteren. De artikelen staan bol van trainingstips en recensies. Finis Nederland zet regelmatig nieuwe blogs op de website.

Training at different energy level for maximum endurance

Over-training and a resulting injury or illness is something most of us will experience at some point in our swimming careers.  Even if you do not find yourself ill or injured, you may find yourself unusually fatigued and performing at a lower level than you are usually capable of.  So how can one prevent this from happening?  By planning workouts to work different energy levels, you can maximize the benefits to your endurance while avoiding over-training.  In short, train smarter, not harder.

Energy levels are something that many of you may be at least mildly familiar with.  There are a lot of terms thrown around and they can become very confusing, but here is a basic outline of energy levels as adapted from Ernest W. Maglischo’s book, Swimming Fastest.

En-1: Basic

Basic endurance training involves swimming at a slow and steady pace for long distances.  At this level, the body uses more fat than glycogen for energy, and the athlete can perform for long periods without damaging muscle tissue. This is the energy level for active recovery. There are many ways to determine whether or not an athlete is performing in En-1, including perceived exertion (60-70% effort) and heart rate (30-60 beats below maximum).


En-2: Threshold

Threshold endurance training involves swimming at a speed that overloads the aerobic metabolism, but does not lead to the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles.  En-2 is the optimum level for building endurance, as it develops the capacity of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers and VO2 Max.  However, En-2 relies more heavily on muscle glycogen for energy, which requires 24-36 hours to replace.  Threshold pace is equivalent to a perceived effort of 75-80% and a heart rate of 10-20 beats below maximum.


En-3: Overload:

Overload Endurance training involves swimming at maximal speeds, allowing the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles.  En-3 is best for training fast-twitch muscles and improves the body’s ability to remove lactic acid from the muscle.  En-3 level training causes muscle damage and should only be done 1-2 times per week, with plenty of allowance for recovery in between.  Overload pace results in a perceived effort of 90-100% and maximum heart ratelevels.


Knowing the three levels and understanding the importance of using En-1, EN-2 and EN-3 during training puts a whole new perspective on the traditional “no pain, no gain” philosophy.  Use your AquaPulse to monitor your heart rate and stay in the designated energy level. Keep your competitive spirit in check to insure you don’t find yourself exhausted or injured due to over-training.


-Mallory Mead
Open Water Marathon Swimmer
Indianapolis, Indiana


Resistance training gives a swimmer the unique ability to focus specifically on producing power during their training. When used correctly resistance cords and swim parachutes produce a swimming specific workout very similar to weight training. Let’s discuss the cord products produced by FINIS and each of their specific purposes in training.

Stationary Cords Hip Belt

These are the most basic and elementary resistance cords designed for general resistance training. Attached at the hip and secured to a fixed point on the pool deck or gutter, these cords are designed to stretch 7-10 yards. Swimmers will encounter increased resistance as they stretch the cords farther. For turn training, try turning and pushing straight off the wall while wearing the cords. Extend your streamlining underwater before starting to swim.

Stationary Cords Ankle Strap

A variation of the Hip Belt, these cords attach to the ankles, allowing the swimmer to train with a full and unimpeded kick while using the cords.

Stationary Cords Lane Belt

Perfect for the crowded team environment, these unique cords attach to parallel lane lines allowing several swimmers to be setup in a single lane. They are also perfect for working on increasing core strength. Take 4-5 powerful strokes against the resistance before proceeding into a fast mid-pool flip turn. After turning, swim in the opposite direction until you hit significant resistance and perform another turn. Work on faster turns by repeating this pattern on a rest interval.

Swim Parachute

Swim parachutes are unique in this group of resistance training tools because the parachute resistance is directly related to the velocity of the swimmer. Further the resistance will stay relatively constant throughout a lap or interval if the swimmer’s speed is maintained. Many swimmers use parachutes in lower intensity training sets like pulling sets, where you can combine resistance with paddles to work on upper body development. I would also recommend trying swim parachutes in sprint workouts. During high intensity 10-20 second bursts, the higher sprinting velocity will create a tremendous resistance workload for the swimmer. Try swimming 2×25 all out with the swim parachute with a good deal of rest to allow for muscle recovery. Focus on maintaining good technique even if it means a loss of power.  Then take off the parachute and swim 2×25 at max effort.


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