The concept of strength training can seem strange to some swimmers who are new to the sport. Why would you want huge muscles? You would barely be able to move through the water, let alone fit into a racing swimsuit!
It's important to remember that weight lifting and bodybuilding is not the same thing as strength training. It incorporates body-weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups in addition to some lifting.
Increased strength is important for any sport. In an article on the U.S. Masters Swimming website, professional trainer Chris Ritter provided the following reasons why swimmers need to incorporate strength training into their workout routines:
When muscles get stronger, they are more resistant to fatigue. This means that you will eventually be able to swim faster and for longer periods of time. Strength training also increases overall athleticism and will help you move more efficiently through the water.
Swimming is a repetitive sport, and overuse injuries are common. According to Ritter, strength training improves posture and reduces an athlete's risk for injury.
"If you're performing a properly balanced strength program you can give your body the strength to continue training in the overuse pattern that swimming demands," Ritter wrote. "Essentially, an effective strength-training program can mitigate the negative effects of a repetitive sport."
Spending all of your time in the pool can get boring. Sometimes it's helpful to take a mental break and do something else for a few minutes. Regularly switching things up throughout the workout keeps your body from getting used to any type of training. When you perform the same motions over and over the body will respond less.