One of the best things about swimming is that it gives you an intense, rigorous workout and it’s fun to do. Swimming workouts are perhaps the most effective, safe, full-body workouts you can do. It’s great for your heart, increases your flexibility, builds long, lean muscles and strengthens your core. Whether you’re looking for a swimming workout for beginners or you’re a seasoned open water adventurer, we have some dryland workout tips and exercises for swimmers of all types.
Create Swimming Workouts that Make Sense
The best swimming workouts are much more than just swimming laps. For the best results start with a swimming workout plan and stick to it.
Warm Up: Warm ups for swimming being outside the pool. Do several arm rotations to the side, in front, and above your head. Do a variety of dynamic stretches, like squats, lunges, knee-to-chest grabs, and a few good old jumping jacks and push-ups always help. If you practice yoga, a sun salutation is a great stretching technique. Finish your warm up in the pool with 2 or more laps at a slow pace.
Drills: Drills get your heart rate up and your body moving faster. This is the time to focus on your technique before you get tired. Do 2 – 4 laps with a kickboard and 2 – 4 freestyle laps doing a fingertip drag as you recover from each pull. Double the laps if you’re an accomplished swimmer.
Sets: Now it’s time to really get it going. Your swimming workouts should include three key components of swimming training – speed, technique, and endurance. Focus on one thing for each workout.
Cool Down: After your sets you should cool down with 2 – 4 laps (or more) at an easy pace. Once out of the water, additional stretching helps your body recover. Pay special attention to your shoulders, back and hips.
Is Weight Training for Swimmers Necessary?
Weight training should be a part of every workout regimen, including swimming. But weight lifting for swimmers doesn’t mean have to hit the gym three days a week or buy a bunch of weights for your home workouts. You can get the same type of weight lifting exercises with isometrics, which provide the same type of resistance by using your own body and gravity.
Weight training also doesn’t mean you get big and beefy. It depends on the amount of weight you lift and types of exercises you do. Weight lifting breaks down muscles, so lifting heavier weights can limit your speed and endurance, at least at the beginning of a weight training regimen. We recommend lifting lighter weights with more reps to build strength and endurance without bulking up.
Weight training for swimmers is more about strength training than anything else. Building your strength will make you a faster swimmer, and it also helps you avoid injuries. Swimmers are susceptible to shoulder injuries, such as inflammation, rotator cuff injuries, and should impingement syndrome. Swimmers are also prone to neck and low back pain. So, reduce the risk of injury and swim faster by including a strength training element to your swimming workout plan.
The Best Exercises for Swimmers
Exercises for swimmers don’t have to be done at the pool or the gym. Again, with isometrics you can exercise at home using your own body as the gym. Here are several exercises that will build your strength and endurance, increase your flexibility, and improve the quality of your swimming workouts in the pool.
Shoulder External Rotation
- Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees.
- Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm.
- Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back.
- Repeat with your right arm.
Add power to your lets with this plyometric variation on the traditional squat.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly bend your knees, keeping them above your toes.
- Stop when you’re halfway down and hold it for 10 seconds. This is an isometric hold.
- Go as low as you can with your arms out parallel to the floor.
- Now, instead of raising slowly back up to standing position, leap into the air with your hands reaching up high. If you’re indoors, make sure you don’t hit the ceiling. Land on the balls of your feet for a soft landing.
Powerful swim strokes require a strong core. Combine this exercise with a standard crunch.
- Place your left palm on your right shoulder.
- Keep your right arm relaxed by your side.
- Keep your back straight and both hips square. Rotate your torso to the left as you push your left palm into your right shoulder.
- Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Do this complete exercise 10 times.
Isometric “Military” Press
- Stand up straight and bend your left elbow by your side, fist up.
- Place your right palm on top of your left fist. Your right arm should be parallel to the ground with your elbow bent about 90 degrees.
- Press your right palm into your left fist and hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Do this complete exercise 10 times.
Improve Swimming Conditioning with Activ5
The best swimming workouts are often done outside the pool. It’s about preparing your body to perform at maximum potential when you’re in the water. It doesn’t matter if you’re a competitive swimmer or just looking for a good cardio swimming workout, an isometric strength training program will get you to where you want to be faster, safer, and more efficiently than any other workout regimen. And to improve your isometric workouts, consider Activ5 which has over 100 gym-based isometric exercises that improve your strength, endurance, flexibility, and power. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and functions as a game controller.
Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.