Swimming program for Ankylosing Spondylitis


Swimming is an excellent physical activity to incorporate into your lifestyle when you suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis and related joint pain. The streamline rotations during swimming will help maintain movement in the spine and the resistance in the water will promote muscular strength and endurance. In any activity you perform there will be personal strengths and weaknesses. You need to assess the weaknesses and do specific exercises outside of the pool time in order to reinforce those weak links and ensure your long-term ability to swim. Here is a 12 week swimming progression to get you guys ready! Let's hit the pool.

For your progressive introduction to swimming, we will be using 7 main techniques.
  1. Breast stroke
  2. Back stroke
  3. Breast stroke kick*(legs only)
  4. Right arm freestyle*(using flutterboard)
  5. Left arm freestyle*(using flutter board)
  6. Freestyle kick*(using flutter board)
  7. Breast stroke (arms only) * use a pool buoy between legs
Focus on technique NOT on power. Speed comes with efficiency. 

I suggest that you should do these workouts 3 times a week. If pain increases, reduce the number of sets temporarily (until the pain subsides), then continue the progression.

This training is designed to be done in a 25 metre pool. 1 lap is 25m of a given technique. For example, your first lap will be 25m of breast stroke and your send lap will be 25m of back stroke and so on. Rest 1 minute at the end of each lap, then proceed to the next exercise.

We will add training volume progressively by adding 25m per workout, changing up the techniques as we go. You will start the first workout with a total of 125m of swimming and gently progress to a total of 350m by the end of week 12. At that point you will be ready to test yourself and start imposing training intensities (speeds) to improve your performances. Until then, be sure to keep your focus on form and efficiency as these two ingredients are key in swimming performance.

    WEEK 1:

    Day 1 :
    perform 1 lap each of techniques 1 through 5
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Day 2 :
    repeat the same workout as Day 1 add a second lap of technique 1 at the end
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5,  
    1

    Day 3 :
    repeat the same workout as Day 2 add a second lap of technique 2 at the end  
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
    1, 2

    We will continue a similar progression in week 2, adding laps of the first five techniques until we reach 2 laps of each.

    WEEK 2:

    Day 4 :
    repeat the same workout as Day 3 add a second lap of technique 3 at the end
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
    1, 2, 3
    Day 5 :
    repeat the same workout as Day 4 add a second lap of technique 4 at the end
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
    1, 2, 3, 4

    Day 6 :
    repeat the same workout as Day 3 add a second lap of technique 3 at the end
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    WEEK 3:
    This week will be adding the Freestyle kick technique (#6) to our original five techniques

    Day 7 : 
    Add one lap of Freestyle kick at the end of the first five techniques

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Day 8: 
    Add a second lap of Freestyle kick at the end of the workout
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

    Day 9:
    Repeat the workout from Day 8 to consolidate your gains
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

    WEEK 4 : 
    This week will be integrating the Breaststroke arms-only technique (#7) in the same manner that we added the Freestyle kick

    Day 10 :
    Repeat the workout from Day 9, adding one set of Breaststroke arms-only technique (#7) at the end of the first set;
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

    Day 11 :
    Repeat the workout from Day 10, adding one set of Breaststroke arms-only technique (#7) at the end of the second set;
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Day 12 :
    Repeat the workout from Day 11 to consolidate your gains
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    After the 12 week mark, you will be ready to take on time trials and higher intensity workouts.


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