Swimming and pull-ups
- ... and will getting good at one mean you get better at the OTHER?

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Today I’m going to talk about swimming again – and it’s relationship (a love hate one sometimes!!) with PULL-ups – – an exercise MOST people – – men and women both – – want to get good, real good at.

And while swimming is usually looked upon as a “fun activity” (and it is, don’t get me wrong) and “a way to lose weight” and little else – the truth is this – done correctly (see my last email on this!) – it provided you with a FANTASTIC overall body workout.

But as I’ve written about before, swimming is by far NOT the only thing you can do – – or (yes, yes, I know!) even the BEST exercise out there despite what a lot of pundits tell you.

Yes, I know. I know. But hear me out.

As I’ve said in the past, water based workouts are great for overweight folks – – as well as for those that aren’t strong enough to do bodyweight exercises such as pushups, for instance – – if just because water reduces the force of gravity.

That said, everything has a downside – – and the downside to THIS is this – – that BONE density is negatively impacted over time. They’ve done studies on bone density for folks that did swimming alone – folks that lifted weights – folks that did bodyweight exercises ALONE – and folks that did a combo of all of the above, or swimming and a combo of the latter two.

And in all the studies guess what they found.

It ain’t rocket science to me, but bone densities have been found to be (over time!) significantly LOWER in those that employ swimming as their ONLY workout.

Now and again, don’t get me wrong. There were many other factors they did score HIGH on … but the bottom line is this – to get better at swimming … do weight training on LAND – – and even better – – bodyweight exercises!

And ‘tis true, my friend. It isn’t just about 0 Excuses Fitness either. Look at any champion swimmer from Phelps to Ian Thorpe, and you’ll see that running and PUSHUPS – – and PULL-ups form a major, major part of their LAND routine which is INDISPENSABLE to their swimming prowress and overall FITNESS.

I know this from personal experience too. When I’d swim long hours in the pool, even with correct technique, I’d often get “sore” (and crampy) in certain parts of the body – the calves and shins being one prime area.

This has never been an issue with me in terms of land based workouts though (for the long term), and I think I know why!

Swimming also taxes the “pulling” muscles a lot more than the pushing muscles, which sometimes creates imbalances, and that’s another reason it should NOT be your primary workout.

And as for the symbiosis (I know, I finally got to it!) – – well – – it’s the same as with PUSHUPS – and PULL-ups!

If your pull-ups SUCK, get better at pushups first. This is a nigh important FACT – and TIP – most people blithely ignore – to their own detriment – despite me having put together an entire SECTION of supplementary pushing exercises that you need to get good at – VERY GOOD at – if you’re serious about your pull-ups!

And if you want to improve your swimming – – at least the strength and stamina part – get damn good at pull-ups!

Now, what about the other way around, you ask? Can I get great at swimming FIRST and then better at pull-ups?

Unfortunately NOT, my friend.

It doesn’t work that way.

You can lose weight by swimming YES, which WILL help you to an extent in pull-ups … but the bottom line is what I mentioned above.

GRAVITY – BONE density – and MUSCLE MASS. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats pulling your entire body up through space for reps (and the variations therein) – – and that, my friend, is the message for today.

The two exercises are indeed symbiotic – – but you get better at pull-ups FIRST – – or along with – – swimming, but not the other way around!

Chew on that a while, and let me know your thoughts!


Rahul Mookerjee

P.S. – I’m thinking about putting out a series on “Symbiotic workouts”. There are plenty that spring to mind, all usually ignored – – and I might just do up a series of emails on this. Stay tuned!

P.S #2 – And in terms of pull-ups, if you want to get good at ‘em – real good – well – grab the MOST COMPREHENSIVE course there is on pull-ups – right here – – https://0excusesfitness.com/pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-to-super-stud-within-weeks/

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