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Should You Add Swimming to Your Training as an Everyday CrossFit Athlete? Chase Ingraham Weighs In
A plunge into a cold, chlorinated pool or open body of water isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. CrossFit athletes at the competitive level have seen swim events come up (outside of the Games) more and more, and its prevalence has begged the question of whether or not an everyday CrossFitter should be adding swimming to their training regime.
The everyday athlete is exposed to a multitude of movements and equipment daily within the confines of a CrossFit gym. But athletes are often told to run outside or get on a non-stationary bike once in a while, so why not jump into a pool and do some laps?
Remind me: Elite athletes, along with hundreds of others, recently competed at the 2024 TYR Wodapalooza. The fitness festival is known to have a swim event every year at the Bayside Stage and this year was no different. The Legends Championship introduced a swim event for the masters-only competition for the first time this year.
Chase Ingraham, podcast host and one of the lead voices of the CrossFit Games for many years, was a collegiate swimmer at Southern Methodist University. He shares his insights on the intersection of CrossFit and swimming and how it can be beneficial, even if you’re not actively training for a competition.
“It takes a long time to be a good swimmer off the bat and I look at swimming as a very highly skilled sport,” Ingraham said in an interview with the Morning Chalk Up.
“Swimming is not something people normally do on an everyday basis. All we do is walk and run. Now whether we do that at the level of which you would see an Olympic athlete, there’s a huge gap there, but everybody can do it. Not everybody can hop into a pool and be comfortable, let alone tread water. And the unique part about swimming is that you have to learn how to do it,” he continued.
Ingraham stressed the difference between being able to “survive” in the water and getting through an event, versus being a trained swimmer (comparing it to being able to do Olympic lifts, versus being trained and proficient at them):“From a fitness standpoint.You can do your best to go down and back multiple times for whatever distance, but unless you learn the technique, I think it’s akin to learning the Olympic lifts specifically.”
Aside from TYR Wodapalooza, most other competitions that non-elite athletes are more likely to compete at haven’t added swimming to the workout list, likely due to logistical challenges and climate. But that’s not a reason to ignore it in your training regime.
A place to start is on an active recovery day, said Ingraham.
A swim workout doesn’t need to be as high intensity as a CrossFit workout to show results and is low impact enough to do if you’re feeling sore but still want to get some movement in.
“I think people look at swimming as a competition event. If they don’t compete, well then why do we need to swim, and you couldn’t be more off base on the power and benefit that somebody can have,” Ingraham stressed.
“The bang for your buck that you can get from a recovery perspective is one. But as far as the training benefits, it’s unmatched as far as cardiovascular endurance and stamina,” he continued.
“When you think about what most people’s limitations are in a CrossFit workout a lot of it centers around local muscle failure or local muscle fatigue. And I can’t think of another movement in just a casual setting that elicits that same type of local muscle failure.”
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PRVN Fitness New Coaches: With the announcement of their latest 1:1 program, PRVN Fitness also announced three new coaches on its staff: Tim Paulson, David Charbonneau, and Joey Tortora.
✍️ Quick Survey to Help PhD Student: CrossFitter Priscilla Fleming is a PhD student at Walden University, and she needs your help. She needs volunteers who have been doing CrossFit for the past three months to complete a short survey that examines the connection between the effectiveness of mental health treatment and CrossFit.
The Fall of California at the CrossFit Games: Why Size Doesn’t Matter
For the first few years of the CrossFit Games, athletes from Southern California dominated the top of the leaderboard, which isn’t surprising considering the inaugural Games took place in Aromas, then Carson, CA.
From 2007-2014 many athletes from California like Josh Everett, Nichole Dehart, Jason Khalipa, Kristan Clever, Valorie Voboril, Josh Bridges, and Lindsey Valenzuela filled in the ranks of the CrossFit Games podiums, but since then no athlete from California has made it back into the top three overall.
In fact, since 2017 there has not been a single male or female athlete from California to finish inside the top 10 at the Games as an individual.
For a state with around 40 million people, that also happens to be the home of CrossFit, this is truly interesting.
LatAm Cup at 2024 TYR WZA Crowns Its Inaugural Champions
The annual TYR Wodapalooza Fitness Festival in Miami, FL added a new division in 2024 called the LatAm Cup. Last Saturday it crowned the first-ever male and female champions from the Latin American region.
Over the years, we’ve witnessed the remarkable growth of CrossFit in Latin America and the new LatAm Cup serves as a testament to this thriving community. This event celebrates and encourages even more representation from the region, and its inaugural installment brought together 20 of the finest athletes from Latin American countries to showcase their skills live at TYR WZA.
Representatives from six countries participated in the two-day event, featuring prominent names like Argentinians Sasha Nievas and Agustin Richelme, both two-time CrossFit Games athletes. They were joined by other notable competitors like Paulina Haro, Anderon Primo, Isaiah Vidal, and Emily Andrade.
LatAm Cup Day 1 Recap:
The festivities commenced at Tina Hills stage with “Double or Nothing,” a max snatch complex setting the mood for the event. Paulina Haro effortlessly secured a 190-pound lift on the women’s side, while Vinicius Stoelben claimed the top spot among the men. The party then moved to the main stage, where rain necessitated modifications to the remaining workouts.
The couplet workout “Cortadito,” featuring parallette dips and a barbell, showcased the skills of Isaiah Vidal and Mariana Meza in fast barbell cycling and burpees, earning them 100 points each. The day concluded with a two-part interval workout, where Meza and Haro each won one part. Alejandro Trillos dominated on the men’s side, securing 100 points for both parts, and topped the leaderboard at the end of the day.
LatAm Cup Day 2 Recap:
The second day featured a single heat for the LatAm Cup, where men and women competed together in a bike-swim-jump-run event. Mariana Meza claimed the top spot for women, with Sasha Nievas closely following. Both showcased rapid transitions in and out of the water. Trillos secured his third event win and 100 more points in the men’s category.
In the final test, “El Circo,” a high-skill gymnastics event, Paulina Haro made a swift move to take her second event win. Meza closely followed, and the two Mexican athletes engaged in a unique battle under the Flager lights, distancing themselves from the rest of the field. Vinicius Stoelben secured another event win on the men’s side, earning 100 points and climbing positions on the leaderboard.
Mariana Meza (465) | Alejandro Trillos (400)
Paulina Haro (445) | Vinicius Stoelben (380)
Emily Andrade (340) | Roldan Goldbaum (360)
Brooke Wells’ Workout of the Week
Today’s workout is programmed by eight-time CrossFit Games veteran, Brooke Wells. Wells won the 2015 Central Regional and has competed at the elite level ever since. A few highlights include winning the Central Regional in 2015 and 2018, placing third (2021) and fourth (2022) at the MACC Semifinal, and placing in the top five twice and the top 10 four times in her Games career.
Notably, Wells was one of only five women to compete in person at the 2020 COVID-disrupted CrossFit Games. In 2021, she suffered a major elbow injury in Madison, followed by a dramatic comeback to the competition floor, as outlined in her new book Resilient. Wells is active with brands in the CrossFit space and is a brand ambassador for Kineon, a leader in red light therapy recovery tech.
3 Rounds for Time:
15 Calorie Row
10 Power Cleans (athlete’s choice, see below)
Time Cap: 14 Minutes
Scaling tips: You can adjust the weight on the power cleans so that you are able to complete the reps in only two sets with minimal rest in between. If toes-to-bar are too challenging for your fitness level, you can swap these out for toes-to-target or knee raises. The intended stimulus includes grip fatigue, so ideally, you would not adjust to V-ups or other supine movements. You can also increase the time cap if necessary.
Advice from Brooke: “Make sure to pace yourself on this workout and not exert all your energy on the early exercises or rounds. Try to maintain a steady pace throughout. The workout will test your grip, so try and keep a looser grip on the rower to maintain grip strength for the power cleans and toes-to-bar.”
To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.
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