Swimming and BMS
The Elite Sport Department of the Wingate Institute of Israel did a study on strength training for high performance swimmers. They wanted to determine if the Bio-Mechanical Muscle Stimulation (BMS) methods described by Nazarov and Spivak in their 1987 paper titled “Development of Athlete’s Strength Abilities by Means of Biomechanical Stimulation Method” would improve swimmers maximum isotonic strength. Further, the researchers wanted to know if BMS would increase the strength ability and swimming performance of top-level female swimmers.
It was well known that the dry land exercises used to develop maximum and explosive strength tends to distort specific muscle perception and movement coordination of swimmers. Traditional strength training methods tend to reduce the swimmer’s “sense of water,” makes muscles feel heavy and stiff, along with delayed muscle soreness. The researchers hoped that these negative side effects could be reduced by the use of BMS.
The first study was conducted using 28 male athletes aged 19 to 25 years of age. They were trained using an apparatus that transmitted BMS vibrations to the muscles via cable and handle. The second study consisted of one female Olympic Swim Champion and nine national class juniors. Both groups trained for maximum arm strength three times per week using the sitting bench pull exercise.
Control groups were also used in the studies. The control groups performed conventional dry land exercises and underwent similar training in the water. The effects of both types of exercise were measured by arm and leg stroke simulation using the Ariel Computerized Exerciser.
The researchers saw an increase of explosive strength from 8 to 12% on the athletes trained using BMS over the control group that did not use BMS. The BMS athletes were able to perform more repetitions in each set. Interestingly, the results indicate that the highest strength gain was on the more highly trained athletes and male swimmers.
The quality of each workout was substantially higher using BMS compared to the non-BMS dry land exercises. The swimmers noted that they felt more restored using BMS despite the high volume of strength exercises they were subjected to. After the BMS workouts unusual warmth within the muscle was noted. Unlike the conventional high resistance workouts the BMS workouts were not accompanied by stiffness and delayed soreness.
It was found that dynamic strength exercises with BMS enabled athletes to enhance their maximum strength substantially in a relatively short period of time. BMS exercises could be particularly well suited for top-level swimmers because of the explosive strength development, no excessive muscle hypertrophy and a substantial reduction of the negative effects of conventional dry-land training.
In this study the subjects were subjected to BMS using a cable and handle system that concentrated most of the BMS effect on arms and shoulders. The Rikian Exerciser targets much larger muscle groups, providing direct contact with the muscles involved. This provides a much greater contact area and more intense stimulation. With the Rikian Exerciser you have the additional benefit of balance and flexibility. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.