Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Importance of Lung Capacity to Swimming Well

Your lung capacity can have a huge impact on your swimming dynamics. This post discusses the hows and whys of maintaining good lung capacity while swimming and how a beginning swimmer can learn this trick with ease.

To anyone who thinks at all about swimming dynamics, this post is fairly self-evident. If you are like most casual swimmers, you probably haven't given this much thought, but it can be one of the many keys to becoming a better swimmer ... so pay attention!

My ah ha moment came in the bathtub two days ago. I was suffering from a cold and wanted to soak in a warm bath so I'm lying there trying to get as deep as I can in the shallow tub when I notice my body rising and falling with each breath. Now I don't mean my chest was rising and falling ... I was actually floating and sinking with each breath. With nothing better to do, I took deeper breaths and noticed that I could really float well if I just breathed in a bit deeper and I could maintain that float by letting out and breathing back in only sips of air (rather than the full in/out thing). I then recalled that this is how I swim. I don't take huge breaths with each stroke. Instead, I take these sips, maintaining the air in my lungs so I can keep afloat better.

I've been cognizant of the importance of lung capacity for years, but this little self-evaluation showed me just how easy it would be to demonstrate the importance of good breath control to beginning swimmers. By doing this in a tub, you can practice your breath control in a safe place.

OK, now go ahead and try it. No one is watching!


  1. Finis makes this product called the Cardio cap. It is something that goes on top of your snorkel while swimming to help conditioner your lungs. It makes it difficult to breath so you have to work harder at it. Check it out at

  2. Nice Information about breathing while swimming. I think many new swimmers panic when the are in the water and do not focus on the importance of breathing. Over time you can really increase your lung capacity and it really helps as you become a stronger swimmer. Your points about practicing in the tub is a great place to start.


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