As emphasized in previous tips, strength training is so important for endurance athletes to prevent injury and improve muscular endurance.  The strength training needs to be sport specific to the activity.  Here are a few exercises to improve swim strength.

 

Example Swimming on bench but special bench like this is not needed.

Example Swimming on bench but special bench like this is not needed.

  1. Swim Simulation on Bench: Take resistance bands with handles and place the band around a vertical pole.  Grab the handles and walk away from the pole until you feel tension on the bands.  Place a bench at this point and lay on your stomach on the bench.  Keep your head looking straight down and extend your arms overhead making sure there is still tension on the bands.  Once you are positioned keep your hands open and begin pulling down all the way towards your feet and then slowly come back to the start position as you fight against the resistance.  It is key when pulling down that you create a slight bend in the elbow as if your arms were “around a barrel”.  Once your arms get down to chest level, begin pulling towards the midline of your body.  Complete 3sets of 20repititions

 

Example of start position for Swim Sim Standing. Tube could be placed lower on pole.

Example of start position for Swim Sim Standing. Tube could be placed lower on pole.

2.  Swim Simulation in Standing; Keep the resistance bands around the pole from the first exercise but remove the bench and stand at a position where there is resistance in the bands.  Flex forward at your hips (stick your butt out) and flex slightly in the knees.  Place your arms out in front of you and pull towards and past your body.  It is very important that you are leaning forward and extend your arms as far behind your body as possible.  The purpose to focus on the follow through in the stroke.  This looks similar to a skier doing a double pull with their poles.  Complete 3sets of 20repititions

 

Starting position for Swimming on the Ball

Starting position for Swimming on the Ball

3.  Swimming on a Ball: Lay on Swiss Ball with ball at your hips or just above (lower ball is the more difficult).  Extend opposite arm/leg out while keeping chin tucked slightly and head in line with body. For beginners, alternate lifting opposite arm/leg up and down, focusing on stabilizing hips on the ball.  Once this is pretty easy than move arm through swim stroke motion as you alternate arm/leg as above.  You will probably notice that you are less stable at the hips when rotating to your non-breathing side.  Complete 3sets of 20reps or 3X1min.  

    ***Note: Smaller Swiss Balls are better for this exercise so the ball does not impede arm motion

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