As important as it is to train hard in the pool, swimmers need to complement those workouts with strength and conditioning or, as many others call it, dryland training. The purpose of dryland training is to stretch and strengthen the muscles used in swimming because it’s just simply not possible to be in a pool at all times. These are some great CoachUp certified exercises that will help you work on your core, arms, and legs all without a pool!
To begin, lie flat on your back. Place your hands at your side, or under your butt for extra help, and lift your legs about two inches from the ground. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed and then quickly flutter your legs about two inches up and down without touching the ground. This exercise will not only work your lower abs and legs but will also simulate the kick needed for freestyle and backstroke.
Whenever you push off the wall after a flip-turn, you’re essentially doing a squat. You can augment your training by doing squat repetitions outside the pool to build up the muscle strength that will give you real acceleration coming off the wall. If you’d like to add extra resistance, do weighted squats using a barbell or a dumbbell. By getting accustomed to squatting with extra weight on your body, pushing off the wall will feel easier, especially during the last lap of an extremely demanding race.
Planks are a phenomenal way to target all of your abdominal muscles at once! With your feet pressed into the ground, raise yourself onto your elbows. It is crucial that you don’t stick your butt in the air, creating a teepee, or arch your back inwards. You want your body to form a straight line from your ankles to shoulders. Suck your belly button in towards your spine to fully engage your core.
Jumping rope is an easy, yet effective way to work your calf muscles, reflexes, and core. By alternating 45 seconds of jump rope with 15 seconds rest, you’ll work your key muscle groups while also elevating your heart rate and increasing your cardiovascular endurance. It may seem unnecessary to spend a chunk of your time on the jump rope, but your body will be thanking you as it’s huffing and puffing at the end of a race.
A medicine ball workout is a great way to build the strong core that swimmers need. Medicine balls can be thrown and caught, making for explosive movements that strengthen the muscles. Do these exercises on your own, or feel free to grab a partner but don’t forget about your v-ups, sit-ups with or without toss, Russian Twists, and the Overhead Slam! If you want more medicine ball exercises, feel free to check out our handy guide here.)
(Related: Read about the four main types of strokes here.)
Get creative with your time outside of the water! Ultimately, most workouts will be beneficial to your swimming efforts if you do them often and correctly! Feel free to experiment with any other abdominal exercises to keep things interesting. Since full body fitness is so crucial to the sport, it’s important to perform these exercises at least two or three times a week to stay in peak swimming shape. If you’re still wondering what type of workout you should use in the gym, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to give you a personalized training workout! What are you waiting for?
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