Weaning Off The Tempo Trainer

Forums Library Knowledge Base Weaning Off The Tempo Trainer

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    Admin Mediterra

    The Tempo Trainer is a wonderful tool, but it is meant for practice, not racing or free swimming. Many races do not permit participants to use one, as it is considered an ‘aid’ to performance.

    One of the primary purposes of the Tempo Trainer is to teach us how to hold a constant timing for the stroke, just as musicians learn to hold steady timing in playing a song. There are many benefits to steady tempo that has become habitual.

    However, by using the Tempo Trainer so much we might go beyond tempo training to creating a dependency on it. The Tempo Trainer is meant to help you acquire the internal sense of timing, not replace it. 

    So, one way to do this is to reduce the frequency of the BEEP of the device so that your brain gradually learns to fill in the BEEP with it’s own trainable sense of timing. This is exactly what musicians do, and swimmers can do it too!

    Normally we are using the Tempo Trainer at normal rate. This is where one BEEP of the device coincides with a certain moment on each arm stroke.

    But we can change the timing on the TT to BEEP less frequently, to signal on fractions of that normal rate.

    • Normal Rate: 1
    • Half-Rate: 1/2
    • Third-Rate: 1/3
    • Quarter Rate: 1/4
    • Eighth-Rate: 1/8

    If you were to set the TT to Half-Rate then you would hear the BEEP coincide only with a moment in the motion of one arm, rather than both. It’s like a 2-count: one-TWO-three-FOUR, one-TWO-three-FOUR.

    If you were to set the TT to Quarter-Rate then you would hear the BEEP coincide only with a moment in the motion of one arm, on every other stroke. It’s like a 4-count: one-two-three-FOUR, one-two-three-FOUR.

    Your brain is forced to anticipate the silent BEEP and fit the timing of the stroke into that tempo interval.

    For example, let’s say you are assigned to use a tempo of 1.24 seconds. You could set the TT to one of these seconds settings:

    • Normal Rate: 1.24
    • Half-Rate: 2.48
    • Third-Rate: 3.72
    • Quarter Rate: 4.96
    • Eighth-Rate: 9.92

    Setting the TT to BEEP on every third stroke is very tricky, but you just might like the challenge!

    After a season of time training with the Tempo Trainer so that it becomes comfortable, you may start weaning yourself off the TT by using it set to gradually less frequent signals.



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