Most experienced swimmers know that some parts of their training will need to take place outside of the pool. In order to get stronger, from time to time you'll need to swap out your racing swimsuit for workout clothes and hit the weight room. Strength training makes your body more durable, which in turn prevents injury and will improve your overall quality of health.
Not sure where to begin? We offer the following tips and suggestions:
Think strength training, not weightlifting
It's important not to confuse resistance and strength training with activities like weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These are competitive sports in which participants try to lift heavier weights or become more muscular than other athletes. This can put too much strain the muscle and can cause tendon and cartilage damage. When you first begin strength training, you should do exercises that offer light resistance like push up and pull ups or using machine weights.
Proper form is key
If you are serious about incorporating weight training into your routine, it may be wise to enlist the services of a trainer or coach. There are many professionals with strength training certifications who can recommend the proper exercises for kids, teens and adults. In addition, they can teach you proper form and technique and help you determine where your limits are.
We often think about making our legs and arms stronger, but the core is just as important, especially for swimmers. Strengthening the stabilizer muscles of the abdominals, lower back and hips is necessary to improve the side-to-side rotation that propels the body through water.
When you swim, it should look effortless, and strength training can help you get to that point.