When it comes to swimming, your chest, shoulders, and core work hard to keep your body moving and balanced. The best strength training for swimmers includes exercises that help to build up these muscles, which ultimately helps you move faster through the water and protects you from injury.
Incorporate the exercises below into your swim routine to help improve your power in the pool.
More: Strength Training for Swimmers
Your core helps to stabilize you and keeps you from dropping your rear or having your stroke send you from side to side, so it's important you keep it strong.
To strengthen your core, try plank pose. Place your forearms on the floor, hands flat, with your elbows directly below your shoulders, engage your core to pull yourself up and hold on your forearms and toes. Hold like this, engaging your core for 30 seconds to one minute, upping your time as you get stronger.
Another exercise to work your core is the alternating superman. This exercise mimics the way your body moves in the water and challenges your core by forcing you to hold it tight for balance and from rolling one way or the other.
Lie on the ground facedown and reaching your arms out in front of you and your legs straight. Raise your right arm and left leg off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch and repeat on the opposite side for one full rep. Repeat this 12 times.
More: The Best 15-Minute Core Workouts
Your chest is a large muscle group that is integral to each stroke in swimming, so it's important not to ignore it at the gym. The simplest, gear-free way to engage your chest and increase strength is through push-ups. This is a great workout for swimming because it helps with the pull of each stroke and challenges your balance.
Mix in medicine ball pushups to challenge your balance as you work your chest. Get into a normal push-up position and find a small medicine ball or weighted ball that you can rest your palm on. Put this ball under your left hand and keep your right hand on the floor. Perform a push-up as normal, careful not to the let the ball roll or move.
Perform 10 push-ups and switch sides.
More: 3 Steps to the Perfect Push-Up
Exercises that work your shoulders and back simultaneously can be very beneficial for swimmers. Two exercises that work both muscles are the lat pulldown and the row. If you don't have access to a gym these moves can easily be recreated.
At the gym, sit at the weight machine with your thighs under the brace, your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the bar with your arms fully extended above you then pull your elbows down and back until the bar is even with your neck. Return to the initial starting position. Perform 12 repetitions. At home, pull-ups can be substituted for pulldowns and are more of a challenge.
To do a row, bend at the waist and hold a weight in your hand with your arm straight, hanging down towards the floor. Pull the weight directly up, keeping your shoulder in line with your body. Perform 10 repetitions and repeat on the opposite side.
More: 20-Minute Strength Training Workout
Strength training for swimmers should always include shoulder exercises. This one targets the tops of your shoulder muscles. For this exercise, grab less weight than you would normally use. Start by holding a weight in each hand as you lift your arms up so they are parallel with the floor.
Shoulder work is also a good way to prevent injury so try another form of the shoulder extension by lying on your side with a light weight in hand, arm bent. First, bring the weight toward the floor and then rotate upwards so your arm is pointed up and your elbow is still bent. This a great exercise to strengthen your shoulders and help avoid strain during your swims.
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